Cope Foundation in Cork supports 2,800 children and adults in Cork with an intellectual disability and/or autism to live, as their website puts it, 'Your Life, Your Way'. As a charity, Cope Foundation relies on donations to fund its activities and that’s where Amy Begley comes in. Amy was asked by Cope Foundation to design the background for the charity’s webpage for their Christmas fundraising, Light Up Cork. She told Ryan Tubridy how they pitched it to her:
"This year they wanted to go with the theme of Light Up Cork. And for every star, for every donation you make, a star appears over the sky of the landmarks that are in Cork. So, I was like, ‘that’s a really good idea.’"
That was the idea. What Amy had to do was go away and come up with the design for how the idea would look on the webpage.
"What about houses because there’s a lot of buildings and houses in the city and then, I was like, ok like, so I’ll add in the landmarks, but I wanted to put in the Cork colours as well, just so that it identifies Cork, you know?"
Amy really enjoyed the assignment and, as Cope Foundation supported her through secondary school, she was very happy to be able to help them out. And the webpage looks great – you can see it at lightupcork.ie. When a star is lit up, the proceeds go to Cope Foundation. Ryan asked Amy to tell him how Cope Foundation helped her get to where she wanted to go.
"I love art and I love drawing and stuff and they could see that there was something there and my dream is to be in a company that does animation and they wanted to – or they still do as well – at the time and today as well, they’re supporting me through the arts. And any support they give me helps me, it helps me develop my skills more."
Cope’s support for Amy involves helping her get into college and also advising her on her timetable when it comes to work and helping her with invoices and the sort of administrative tasks that artists and animators need to do. Cope Foundation says that "our communities are better places when everyone is included" and it’s hard to argue with that. As the charity supports people with differences, Ryan wondered if Amy would tell him what her difference is.
"My different ability would be an intellectual disability. So, what that means is it’s not a physical disability, it’s more of the mind, so it’s like a general learning disability, so communication plays a big of that."
Amy went on to explain that she sometimes needs to take time to understand people she’s conversing with, especially if they’re talking quickly. But, as Ryan points out, she sounds great during their conversation and she seems a more relaxed than a lot of people he talks to on air. And that’s definitely the case, as Amy goes on to tell Ryan about how her mother died when she was 13 and how she and her brother were adopted from Romania, it’s hard not to be impressed by her. Indeed, you could say Amy lit up the radio as well as she’s lit up Cork.