BEAM is a training centre which has been taking care of about fifty people with intellectual disabilities around the Bagenalstown area of Co Carlow since 2000.  Central to their thinking, and in line with New Directions 2012, is that people should be able to live as independently as possible in their own community. Some of their clients are living in supported housing in Gleann na Bearu and they have two further houses in development there.

“County Carlow Development Partnership began much the same time as us,” says John Murphy, Director of BEAM, ‘and we have worked closely and developed together and are very grateful for their input into our services. Under the RSS programme they arrange for people on the live register to come and spend 12 months with us. This really works. The RSS workers help with classroom work, outings and bus escorts.  They give us new ideas and they get something out of it as well – hands on experience of working in a service. It would be very difficult to continue to offer our range of services without County Carlow Development Partnership. They really are a great help.”

Sean Whelan has been working 20 hours a week with BEAM under the RSS. Sean came from a farming and factory background and has a range of skills that are invaluable for BEAM. He takes care of maintenance of their houses in the community and he works in their sensory and therapeutic garden ‘The Barrow Experience’ in Bagenalstown. John Murphy is quick to acknowledge Sean’s value to BEAM.

“Sean is of tremendous benefit to our service. Sean really fits in and he can do everything!.  We need someone skilled to stay on top of maintenance and to be honest, we could not replace his skills.  Sean was recommended to us by Carlow County Development Partnership Ltd as being a good match between his skills and our requirements by County Carlow Development Partnership. And they were right.  He hardly ever stops. He hits the ground running on a Monday, hardly ever stops but has a kind word for everyone”


Sean Whelan could not agree more.

“I was on the RSS with County Carlow Development Partnership when they suggested that BEAM would really suit me and it has worked very well. I am delighted with it and have learned a lot of new skills in the maintenance area, in the garden and things like painting. My wife is delighted too. I never painted at home before !”

Sean is supported by the RSS under the Department of Social Protection and says he will continue as long as the funding does and he sincerely hopes it remains in place. As a part time farmer with some rented land he needs the additional outlet and income. He is very appreciative of working in the locality and working in a social service setting.

“It has really brought me out of myself. On a farm you are on your own much of the time. It is great to have a lot of people to mix with and I look forward to my two and a half days. As well as a job there is a big social aspect. I am delighted with the way it has worked out for me. It has really brought me out of myself.”

It works for Sean and it works for BEAM