Reach Ability was founded in 1975 by a team of volunteers led by Fr. Tony Scallan, a man renowned as a pioneer for services for people with disabilities.
In winter 1964, he organised a meeting that led to the foundation of what was then known as, ‘the County Wexford Mentally Handicapped Association,’ at a time when there was practically no provision for those with such disabilities. Over the next 10 years, with the Association’s committee members and volunteers, Fr. Tony Scallan can be credited with laying the foundations for St. Patrick’s school in Enniscorthy, Our Lady of Fatima school in Wexford, St. John of God residential unit at the former Loreto Convent in Enniscorthy and County Wexford Community Workshop (as Reach Ability was known until 2023).
In forming County Wexford Community Workshop, his aim was to develop a work programme for adults with disabilities. County Wexford Community Workshop came into being in 1975, in the old Bandroom of St. Patrick’s Boys Club in Enniscorthy under the helm of Maureen O’Dwyer, offering services to six adults. After forming a registered limited company, the next task was to raise funds and a county wide financial appeal was launched. Headed up by committee member, Brian Cleary, £42,000 was raised, a significant feat at that time. Within one year a site was purchased, locally known as Nolan’s Lawn in Bellefield and the first phase of the Bellefield complex was built. It was officially opened on the 13th of September 1976 by An Tanaiste, Brendan Corish TD.
Contract work was sourced from local companies. Larger contracts at the time included car valeting for J. Donohoes Ltd, pallet repair and manufacture for NET Arklow, armbands for County Councils nationwide and National Road Safety Ireland, making clothes lines for wholesalers, manufacture and packaging of various types of plastic bags for Globophan, Arklow.
The Workshop continued to grow and develop its own inhouse production areas. These included sewing, knitting, woodwork and picture framing. A woodwork unit was established and our first order was to produce folding stools for the visit of Pope John Paul II to Ireland in 1979. Timber door rails were re-cut and used to make the frames of the stools and our sewing unit made the fabric seats. Such was the level of orders, that the motor of the saw burnt out during production.
Today, Reach Ability has grown to become one of the south-east’s largest providers of services to children and adults with an intellectual disability and their families. We now provide a range of supports to over 200 people, from early childhood to older age. We employ 180 staff and have a team of 60 dedicated volunteers.
The name was changed in 2023 from County Wexford Community Workshop to Reach Ability in order to remain progressive and to honour Fr. Scallan’s legacy as an innovator. The new name more accurately reflects the mission of the organisation; to help every individual reach their full potential and achieve personal fulfilment. It was felt that a new, dynamic name was needed to accurately reflect the activity of the organisation’s whole community.
We provide all our services free of charge and rely on Government funding, support from corporate partners and sponsors, donations from the public and revenue generated from our social enterprises.
Our social enterprises are Kilcannon Garden Centre and Restaurant, Astro Active Centre and Bellefield Design. These are commercial ventures that were set up to financially support our services and to provide employment. By supporting these ventures, you are helping to support the services we provide for people with disabilities.
Thank you for continuing to do so. Fr Tony Scallan’s legacy lives on.
Vision, Mission, Values
Communities where every person can reach their own personal, social, educational and career fulfilment.
To enable and empower people with disabilities to live the life of their choice to their utmost potential.
The supports we provide:
- Nurture and develop ability
- Allow for choice with regard to personal decisions
- Support equality
- Are person-centred specific to each individual
- Are Community-based to encourage active citizenship
- Built on dignity and respect
Governance and Transparency
Reach Ability is a trading name for County Wexford Community Workshop (Enniscorthy) CLG Group which comprises two private companies limited by guarantee and governed by a Board of Directors. The Board, in turn, appoints a Chief Executive Officer to manage the various elements of the companies and their activities and to appoint the management team. The two private companies are County Wexford Community Workshop (Enniscorthy) CLG and Kilcannon Industries CLG and both have a charitable status.
Reach Ability is committed to achieving the standards set out in the Governance Code for the Community, Voluntary and Charitable Sector in Ireland and will report on its compliance as required by the Charities Regulator.
The Governance Code was developed to ensure that all charitable bodies achieve their objectives with integrity and are managed in an effective, efficient, accountable and transparent way.
We are fully committed to these obligations and publish the following to ensure transparency:
The HSE, WWETB, Department of Education and Department of Rural and Community Development, fund services and supports provided by CWCW (E) CLG & Kilcannon Industries CLG.
Board of Directors
Over the years, the Board of Directors have played a significant role in the growth and development of Reach Ability. Board members are volunteers, all committed to improving the quality of life of those with a disability.
The Board comprises people from different sections of society with varying qualifications, skill sets and perspectives.
Mary Teresa Redmond
Ann Conway O’Toole
Chief Executive Officer
Trevor Jacob MBA
Pádraig Hall FCA
Chartered Accountants and Registered Auditors
Sinnottstown Business Park
John A Sinnott & Co
Bank of Ireland
County Wexford Community Workshop (Enniscorthy) CLG is registered with the Charities Regulator, number 2001723.
Kilcannon Industries CLG is registered with the Charities Regulator, number 20019662.