2012 Volunteer Ireland Awards, Education and Training (2008 - 2015)

Frances Walsh, Offaly Dyslexia


Frances Walsh is one of the founding members of the Offaly Dyslexia Group, which was set up when four parents were told that their child has dyslexia. 5 years ago children with dyslexia in the midlands had no support locally. Parents of children with dyslexia had nowhere to turn to for help.

Frances successfully secured the grant aid which allowed the Group to offer literacy workshops over two terms of 13 weeks for the past three and half years. This money also allows the Group to offer a support line for parents; manned by Frances on a full time basis. The group now has 30 children & 9 tutors, and is rapidly growing. We always have a waiting list. 

As part of her diploma in Community Development Practice, Frances wrote a feasibility study investigating the need for similar support in the adult community. As a result Offaly VEC Adult Education Centre is now providing workshops, in conjunction with the group, for adults with dyslexia.

Pauline Price nominated Frances, Pauline said “Members of the group are realising the benefits of attending workshops in many ways, their self esteem is boosted, social skills & behavior better & their academic performance has noticeably improved! Without Frances’ tireless efforts people with dyslexia in the Midlands would continue to be marginalised; they now have a future that they can look forward to and enjoy.”

Photograph by Jeff Harvey.