After another busy year, the charity behind Braddan Bridge House, which provides accommodation for people with disabilities, is already looking to the future.
In addition to ongoing fundraising to continue providing the well-used facilities, the Joey Dunlop Foundation has suggested expansion may be on the cards.
Kevin Quirk, of JDF, said:
“Keeping these facilities going is not cheap, and the demand is such that the JDF is considering further developing the building, so if you want to help the Joey Dunlop Foundation keep Joey’s legacy alive and strong, operating well into the future, then you can help by purchasing merchandise from www.joeydunlopfoundation.com and tombola tickets, at £1 each, by phoning the JDF office 01624 677741 for John McGuinness’s Fireblade – currently registered to John as first keeper, “delivery mileage - never raced or rallied”, and with a paint job by Padgetts resembling a pint of ‘McGuinness’ (we cannot say which drink it actually looks like for copyright reasons!).”
Mr Quirk gave a brief overview of the Foundation’s history and recent work.
“Every rider who visited the TT or Manx Grand Prix this year and completed a lap of the course can’t help but have seen the Joey Dunlop Foundation house at Braddan Bridge - as you approach Braddan from Quarterbridge you’ll see the oak tree in the centre of the roundabout, and right behind it is the JDF facility with one of the best viewing balconies on the course.”
“Joey was awarded the MBE for his charitable work, often alone and always without fanfare in his own modest way, helping orphans and the disabled in former Eastern Bloc countries. He would think nothing of taking a Transit van laden with equipment and other gifts from Ballymoney across into eastern Europe – this was just Joey.”
“Shortly after completing triple TT wins in a single week to take his unequalled total to 26, Joey lost his life racing in Estonia in 2000. Within a year of that tragedy the Joey Dunlop Foundation was created on the Isle of Man. The aim was to realise one of Joey’s dreams – to provide a facility for the less able to take a holiday without the worries of level access for wheelchair users and making it easy to bathe and live as independently as possible.”
“Just because you may use a wheelchair or lack one or more limbs, as the Paralympics have shown, does not mean “that’s it” – life is for living to the fullest extent possible. A biker using a wheelchair is still a biker to their core and the JDF gives everyone the opportunity to enjoy themselves with partner, family or carers - or alone if preferred!”
“Braddan Bridge House is all about making life inclusive no matter what challenges are faced, or where the guests come from – the Joey Dunlop Foundation is ‘inclusive’ in the broadest sense possible and welcomes everyone from school children through to adults with no upper age limit – just bring your carers or family and friends with you!”
“Accommodation has been provided to people of all ages with all forms of disabilities, during TT 2012 we invited former TT winner and MotoGP rider Eddie Laycock to stay with us for race week. Eddie and his family had a brilliant holiday, plus it gave Eddie an opportunity to catch up with Messrs. Swantz and Mamola. Another TT guest was a gentleman who had a terminal illness. His last wish was to see the TT and to make it a very special holiday Paul Phillips and Milky Quayle of Isle of Man Government’s motorsport development team arranged for our guest to meet John McGuinness, Guy Martin and Simon Andrews. Sadly this guest passed away a few weeks later, but his family said that he was in awe of the facilities and the welcome he received from the motorcycle community.”
Mr Quirk explained that after initial fund raising of more than £700,000, and an initial false start buying a plot of land in Victoria Road, Douglas, next door to the old prison, Braddan Bridge House was purchased from the Isle of Man Government, part exchanging Victoria Road, and the place gutted to convert it from a 5-bedroom house to a 3-apartment centre.
With practical help from motorcycle sponsors and riders such as Andy Faragher, Klaus Klaffebock , Nick Crowe and Keith ‘Wilf’ Williams, local companies like Swales Flooring Flooring and AKW/DLP, and considerable support from the local Moddey Dhoo MCC, the team got the building completed ready for a grand opening by Joey’s widow Linda Dunlop and John McGuinness on Mad Sunday at TT 2010.”
“Open to all through the year, except January and early February, this specially converted house provides 4-bed, 3-bed and 2-bed apartments, each with a level access wet room and a specialist adapted kitchen for the wheelchair user. Beds are fully adjustable motorised units, and a lift to the first floor means the entire building is level access with no steps anywhere from the time you get out of your car in the front car park and enter the building less than 20ft away.”
“The building is now in full use with many guests enthusing on web sites such as Trip Advisor and our own website www.joeydunlopfoundation.com just how good the facilities are. Braddan Bridge House has been called the best inclusive access holiday facility on the Isle of Man – even receiving the Island’s Lieutenant Governor on a visit last year.”
There’s more information at www.joeydunlopfoundation.com or you can call Mr Quirk on 01624 677 741, between 9am and 2pm from Monday to Friday.