Mr. Flannery has been a pioneering force in the development of services and policy for people with disabilities, both in Ireland and internationally, since he began his career in Rehab in 1973.
“Frank Flannery has been among the most influential figures of his generation in relation to the cause of people with disabilities” said Mr. JM Treacy, Chairman, The Rehab Group today.
During a career spanning 33 years Frank Flannery led the establishment of Rehab as a world-class provider of services and a champion of positive change for people with disabilities.
The Rehab Group now delivers services to 60,000 people in 200 centres in Ireland, England and Scotland. It has a staff of 3,000 and an annual turnover of approximately €160 million. It is firmly established as one of Ireland’s most successful voluntary organisations.
During the 1970’s and 1980’s the development of a network of state of the art community workshops throughout Ireland helped to transform the lives and work prospects of people with disabilities.
Rehab’s innovation in developing a holistic system of training involving all of the personal, social and environmental factors affecting a disabled person’s ability to gain and retain employment has been replicated across Europe. Its success in developing the concept of person-centred modular training is also employed by European organisations.
During the 1990’s the Rehab Group entered a period of rapid expansion. In addition to its training services it established RehabCare in 1994, which rapidly developed into a leading provider of health, social care and independent living services throughout Ireland and recently in England.
The same year Gandon Enterprises was founded as one of the world’s leading companies providing integrated social employment opportunities for workers with disabilities. Gandon, whose businesses range from recycling to logistics management, employs disabled and non-disabled workers in equal numbers and on equal terms.
In addition to developments in Ireland Rehab spread its services to England and Scotland. In England Rehab provides a wide variety of services including brain injury vocational services in London, Birmingham and Newcastle. Through Training and Business Group it is one of the leading training organisations nationally and the Chaseley Trust provides residential care on the south coast for people with severe physical disabilities. In Coventry Rehab provides services for the Irish Elders community. Rehab Scotland was established in 1991, which now provides services in some 25 centres to 1500 people. The Rehab Group now employs 1000 people in 45 centres across England and Scotland.
Frank Flannery’s influence in the disability sector stretches beyond Ireland. Since 2002 he has been World President of Workability International which represents some 2,000 organisations providing work and employment services to more than two million people with disabilities in 31 countries. He played a leading role in the development and leadership of the European Platform for Rehabilitation and the European Quality in Rehabilitation Mark.
Commenting on the announcement of Mr. Flannery’s retirement Mr. JM Treacy Chairman, Rehab Group said; “Frank Flannery’s leadership has established the Rehab Group as a world class provider of services for people with disabilities. He has played a crucial role in making the state take a more realistic approach to funding services and to begin addressing its responsibilities in terms of legal provisions relating to the rights of people with disabilities”.
“Mr. Flannery has promoted the modernisation and professionalism of the Irish Disability sector. One of his significant achievements has been to create a strongly business-focussed rather than a purely philanthropic approach to service delivery, first within Rehab, then across the rest of Ireland’s disability sector and finally on a global level. This has resulted in vast improvements to the quality of services. Frank Flannery has made a significant difference to the lives of countless disabled people at home and abroad”.
Mr. Flannery paid tribute to the dedicated voluntary Board Members and talented colleagues with whom he was privileged to work over the years.
For further information contact Chris Macey at 01- 205 7311, or 087-227 1582