The Gold Star Disability project is a HSE led initiative, set up to enable communities to work together to improve disability awareness and the integration of people with disabilities in all social and cultural activities in local community. The HSE Gold Star Disability Office is based at Our Lady's Hospital, Cashel, Co. Tipperary.
The initial concept for the Gold Star Projects was first developed in Cashel in 2006 when the HSE appointed a Community Development Worker with a brief to work on the Gold Star project. The aim of this initiative was to work together with the local community to address access and integration issues with people with disabilities. Following an open public meeting in Cashel in 2007, a Gold Star Task Group was established. The group was formed to work on responding to a wide range of access barriers and issues that people with disabilities and the general community identified at the open public meeting. The identified issues included limited access to public and retail buildings, transport, lack of social activities for people with disabilities and the need to raise awareness regarding these issues within the community.
A Gold Star Standard award is presented to applicants from the community working with the Gold Star Task Group towards the achievement of universal access for their business or service provided in the community. The award acknowledges agencies, businesses, organisations, community facilities and services that make adaptations and take measures to have their buildings, amenities and services made more welcoming and accessible to all people. The ultimate aim of the Gold Star Project is to promotre greater independence, integration and participation for all people in their local communities.
The Cashel Gold Star Mission Statement was written as follows:
Cashel Gold Star Task Group will work to improve awareness and integration of people with disabilities and to assist the commuity in ensuring all premises and activities are accessible and welcoming to all.