Owen Collumb

Owen-CollumbAfter many years living in institutional care, Owen moved into his own house in 2001 where he still lives independently with the support of Personal Assistants (PAs).

Owen is an active board member for a number of organisations, including Greater Dublin Independent Living (GDIL), Cheshire Ireland and Lucan Disability Action Group (LDAG).

Owen and Áiseanna Tacaíochta (ÁT)

Since 2004, Owen has been interested in Direct Payments and how they operate in different countries.  When he was presented with the work plan for ÁT in 2010, he saw this as an opportunity to be involved in something big.  This was the first time that Direct Payments became a reality for people with disabilities in Ireland, so he and three other Leaders decided to test this model.

This meant setting up a Company Limited by Guarantee and being in direct control of his own service.  He saw this as a major challenge, one which he was able to overcome because of the peer support that the pilot participants were able to offer one another.  Owen’s Circle of Support was also key in helping him to set up his own company.

Having funding released to Owen’s company, ‘Personal Assistant Service Dublin’, gives him maximum choice and control, and enables him to maintain an independent lifestyle.  He employs and is responsible for his own staff, while also being accountable for all funding received from the Health Service Executive (HSE).

Owen’s Circle of Support is made up of people who have his best interest at heart.  They have experience of Independent Living and possess the kind of knowledge and expertise that is of assistance to Owen.  Members of Owen’s Circle are also benefiting from the experience.  For them, it is an opportunity to learn about people with disabilities and the many cost-effective ways to support people to live independently in the community, rather than in nursing homes.  Owen is very grateful to each and every member of his Circle of Support for volunteering their time and expertise to support him and the wider model of Direct Payments that allows people to make their own life choices.

You can watch Owen speak about his experiences in the video below, taken at our Realising Equality through Active Participation event in December 2014.