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Vinny Named as Official Ambassador for RehabCare

Community
// 16 May 2020

Dundalk manager Vinny Perth has been named as the official ambassador for local disability service provider RehabCare.

Over 100 adults with disabilities access the three RehabCare resource centres in Louth – including the New Visions centre for young adults – and supported accommodation in the county. A further 80 children and their families rely on the Maria Goretti service for critical respite care.

The Lilywhites boss has been a vocal supporter of the organisation and last week he announced that he was raffling his 2019 league winners medal on a GoFundMe page to raise funds for the local service which caters for 150 people in the local area. To date, it has raised over €2,000.

“Since the lockdown, I’ve been speaking to my friends in RehabCare who reach into communities the length and breadth of Ireland and thinking about what Dundalk FC could do to support their work,” he said.

“Obviously, I treasure what we’ve achieved as a club and the medal will always be a symbol of that but, at the same time, I have a respect for the work that RehabCare does and I think it’s going to a worthy cause.”

Being the father of a child with autism, Perth is well placed to understand and appreciate the valuable work that organisations like RehabCare provide.

“I have met a lot of RehabCare members in and around the club and, over time, I felt I wanted to help and build a relationship with the people who attend the services,” he said.

“It’s something that has come naturally to me because of my son’s situation. There’s no doubt he’s ‘different’, but who says what ‘different’ is?

“For too many years, people with disabilities have been put into a corner by society and it’s only through the work of places like RehabCare that people get to play a more meaningful part in their communities, whether that’s through employment or education or whatever the case may be. I’m really passionate about that,” he added.

“I don’t know what my son’s particular passion is going to be but I have to help him achieve it. Just because someone is ‘different’, they aren’t any less valuable which is probably why I feel so strongly about what RehabCare do.”

The announcement ties into the club’s attempts to strengthen its links with the local community.

“We’re not footballers who are uncontactable,” he said. “So many people feel like they know us and feel like we’re just part of the community and that’s part of our job.

“In the stand at Oriel Park, we could have a former Minister for Foreign Affairs sitting alongside somebody from RehabCare, sitting alongside the local bank manager and when we score, we really come together.

“When we win trophies, everyone celebrates in the exact same way. I think that’s what I’m most proud of, it doesn’t matter what part of society you’re from, you’re always welcome at the ground,” he said.

To make a contribution to Vinny’s GoFundMe page and also be in with a chance to win his league-winning medal, click here.

Picture: Ciaran Culligan