Billy’s ‘Ability@Work’ lands him dream job at Mallow General Hospital

Billy Gallagher pictured at work in Mallow General Hospital. Billy joined the workforce, thanks to the Ability@Work programme run by the Cope Foundation.

The Cope Foundation’s Ability@Work programme had a very successful result in recent months when local man Billy Gallagher joined the workforce at mallow General Hospital. Speaking on Billy’s appointment, Claire Crowley, Hospital Manager, said, “On behalf of Mallow General Hospital I want to congratulate Billy on his recent appointment. We are extremely proud of Billy’s achievements and the contribution he makes to the workforce in the hospital. Our experience of engaging with Cope Foundation through the Ability@Work programme has been very positive and I wish to thank our colleagues in Cope Foundation for their commitment and hard work. What started as a work experience placement initially for Billy has led to gainful employment which is very satisfying for all involved,” she said. “At Mallow General Hospital we have a diverse workforce where everyone has a vital role in looking after the patients and communities we serve,” she added.
Marian Hennessy, Ability@Work Co-Ordinator, said, “Firstly, I would like to congratulate Billy Gallagher on securing this a paid job with Mallow General Hospital. Billy has thrived on the Ability@Work programme and has shown great dedication and determination to achieve his goals. We are so proud of his achievements. I know working in Mallow Hospital is Billy’s dream job. This could not happen without the support, friendship and kindness of Claire Crowley, Anne Dennehy and all the staff in Mallow Hospital.
Kate Browne (on behalf of the Clerical and Administration Division), Inclusion Champion, said, “we had the good fortune of having Billy come to work us here in September 2019 as part of, initially, the Housekeeping and now, we are thrilled to say paid Clerical Officer in Mallow General Hospital. People have been telling us how lucky Billy is to work with us but it is, in fact, us that have been blessed with Billy. He has become an integral part of a very busy division and has very quickly become a hugely valued member of our team. He is a pleasure to work with.
“Mallow Hospital is a shining example of best practice in supported employment, creatively ensuring the hospital is an inclusive workplace. The team in Mallow have ensured that Billy feels like an equal and valued member of the team. Mallow General Hospital are long-time friends of Cope Foundation, and this will continue into the future with our strong links with Ability@Work. Going forward, I would hope other hospitals and public services across Cork city and county will be encouraged by Billy’s story, and offer employment opportunities to break down the barriers to employment for people with disabilities,” she said.
Billy has something to say about his job too, saying, “Hi my name is Billy and I work for Mallow General Hospital. I have a very important role. I bring the patient files from the store room to all the different parts of the hospital. I’m telling you… that hospital wouldn’t run so well if I wasn’t there!
“On my time off I like to cycle and go for walks. I play rugby with the Mallow Barbarians and soccer with Mallow United. I won a gold medal for soccer down in Limerick last year at the Special Olympics. I have a load of medals for different types of sport. Before working in the hospital, I went to Cope Foundation’s workshop in Mallow but now I’m very busy so I don’t go there as often.
I am the Chairperson of Ability@Work’s ‘Ability Board’. There was an election in March and I had posters printed up just like a real election. I love working in the hospital, meeting new friends and doing an important job.”
Billy’s mother Michelle O’Mahoney said, “Starting work in Mallow General has been a fantastic development in Billy’s life. He loves his work and he considers all his colleagues as his friends. His life has been enriched by the people he meets every day and all the skills he has developed. His job is busy and he has developed the skills needed to organise his day and become an important member of the hospital team. As a family we see a happy, confident young man who looks forward to work every day. His relationship with Daragh, his Job Coach, has set him up to be confident in his workplace. As parents we were secure in knowing Ability@Work were fully supporting him and we could contact them with any issues we had. Having a job means so much more than earning a wage and this is so true for people with disabilities. Billy’s self-esteem and his confidence has been boosted by his employment and it is a pleasure to see him head off every morning to his job and to be part of a team.”