SOLA Symposium 2016





SOLA Symposium 2016 -From providing a service to being of service

Jointly hosted by the Disability Federation of Ireland, Continuing & Professional Education (CPE), University of Limerick and Johnson & Johnson, Vision Care, Ireland, SOLA – The Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Quality in the Community Voluntary Sector hosted its annual Symposium on Quality in the Community Voluntary Sector at the Millstream Plaza, University of Limerick.

Opening the Symposium, Jan O’Sullivan, Limerick East TD, referred to the ‘unique partnership’ that is responsible for developing the Centre of Excellence, between The Disability Federation of Ireland, University of Limerick and Johnson & Johnson.  This was reinforced by Dr Ann Ledwith, Director of Continuing & Professional Education (CPE) at the University of Limerick, who acknowledged that this relationship is key to the Centre’s success.  She stressed that all involved work tirelessly to provide a centre that is committed to building sustainable communities of practice and service provision with appropriate governance and sustainable quality systems for all stakeholders in the community, voluntary and the disability sector.

Some themes on the day included presentations from students on research outcomes from Level 9 Specialist Diploma in Quality Management at the University of Limerick looking at; The potential of quality systems to protect a persons’ rights as enshrined in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons’ with a Disability, (UNCRPD) and ‘A review of research using Lean Principals to enhance transport services for persons with a disability.

Dermot O’Donnell, symposium organiser and Development Manager Governance & Quality with DFI also spoke about what is meant by standards and why we should use them, stating that, ‘standards, in common parlance can be described as, what Good looks like. It’s the conduct, product and disclosure practices within each sector that promote consumer and investor trust, confidence and market integrity’.

Dr John Noonan (UL), speaking after the symposium, noted in particular ‘the interesting balance between the academic and practitioner input, it was a great opportunity for the students to showcase their effort, the venue was homely, warm and bright and reflected the optimistic nature of the work of the community and voluntary sector. The workshop element and panel discussion allowed for delegate input and participation and therefore were key factors that impacted the success of the symposium.

SOLA – The Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Quality in the Community Voluntary Sector continues its mission of to empower individuals and organisations in the community, voluntary and disability sector by engaging in research, education and training to implement proven governance and sustainable quality systems.


Symposium Picture Library Below;

From left to right, Sen. John Dolan (DFI) Gerry Greaney (J&J), Jan O’Sullivan TD, Dr. Ann Ledwith (UL), Dermot O’Donnell (DFI), Dr. John Noonan (UL), Deirdre Nally & Billy Stack, (UL).