Cope Foundation today launched its annual festive fundraiser, “Cope’s Very Cork Christmas” which will raise much-needed funds for people with intellectual disabilities and/or autism and their families. It has been a tough year as Cope Foundation like every other disabilities organisation was forced to curtail its supports and services due to Covid-19. Its fundraising activities were also severely affected as a result of the situation. The Cork charity today announced details of its annual Christmas Draw campaign, ‘Cope’s Very Cork Christmas’ which this year takes place online due to Covid-19 and is set to be a Christmas Draw like no other.

Over the past nine months, people right across Cope Foundation have worked tirelessly to develop alternative ways to support individuals, and we have seen just how important technology can be when delivering services and supports; promoting independence; continuing learning, and providing people with options. Funds raised from the online draw will help Cope Foundation offer more assistive technology to its centres and services to empower people supported and make everyone more “connected” during the Covid-19 pandemic. During the Covid-19 pandemic, many people we support are unable to see their loved ones due to visitor restrictions. People attending day services are getting limited opportunities to attend their service physically and have face-to-face interactions with their key workers and peers. Unfortunately, even when we make some of our services and supports available online, the people we support cannot avail of these as they don’t have access to the necessary technology needed. It is so apparent that access to technology is integral if we want to empower and enable the people we support during and beyond the Covid-19 pandemic.

Sean Abbott, Chief Executive of Cope Foundation, says they can see the vital role technology plays in the lives of the people they support – “The challenges we faced have been immense and unprecedented. The people we support, their families and our colleagues have had to deal with so much uncertainty, upheaval and change. It has been a privilege to witness the ongoing commitment and resilience shown right across the organisation from colleagues making personal sacrifices that impact their home and personal life to do their job; to people we support learning new ways of doing things and demonstrating remarkable strength and adaptability; to families who have had to manage with reduced services, no respite, and limited transport. This current pandemic has been an opportunity for us to engage with creative uses for everyday technologies that can support people with disabilities, their families and those who support them during the Covid-19 situation and beyond. I’m hopeful the public will get behind our campaign this Christmas so that people we support can become more “connected” and empowered to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic as best they can.”

One such centre that has embraced new technologies is Rosbarra, a residential centre in Cork city. Fiona lives here and uses the latest technology to keep up to date with the news from her family in Cork and across the globe – “I get to see them every day as they live so far away (America and Australia). I might watch The Late Late Show on Friday night and so will my sister in America – and then we can chat about it the next day when we have a call. I love music and dancing, I like to sing really loudly to songs played on the Echo Show, and now that we have the Google Chromecast we can see the singers of the songs on the big TV and even read the words to sing Karaoke, and that is the best fun of the week. The staff even sing, but they are not as good singers like me!”

Entry to the Christmas Draw is online at and is open until 10pm on 20.12.2020.