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€60k funds will be a comfort to Kerry patients

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By Michelle Crean

Seven brave women have raised an astonishing amount for charity - clocking up almost €60k to bring comfort to Kerry cancer patients.

CHEQUE: Mairead Dunphy and TJ O'Connor hand over the cheque to Mary Fitzgerald from Comfort for Chemo. The funds were raised from this year's 54321 Challenge.

Angela O'Connor, Marian Kelly, Helena Hanafin, Mairead Dunphy, Siobhan O'Sullivan, Maryanne Leane and Celine Roche took on the ninth annual 54321 Challenge and raised a total of €58,325 for this year’s selected charity Comfort for Chemo Kerry, which they handed over to the charity this week.

The seven participants undertook the four-day challenge, which took place from Thursday August 19 to Sunday 22 inclusive.

They endured all sorts of weather during the epic challenge.

"Day one saw the team taking on the Ring of Kerry leaving Killarney in the early hours of the morning," TJ O'Connor, who is one of the organisers, said.

"The weather conditions were mixed but this did not dampen the spirits of these amazing ladies. They were met with great support along the route and even danced a polka set in Waterville along the way. Day two saw the team climbing Carrantuohill, despite heavy rainfall over night, the heads were up, and the singing voices were on and a massive thanks to our guide Patricia O'Sullivan on the day who knows the mountain like the back of her hand. The clouds lifted for a while on top of the mountain and they had some of the clearest views to be seen on the Reeks. Day three saw them cycling to Cahersiveen and then climbing Cnoc Na Tobair, where the ladies took to literally rolling down the mountain in an effort to send the message out to keep the donations rolling in. The final day, day four, they took to the Skellig Ring and took in Valentia, Portmagee, St Finians Bay and Ballinaskelligs. Unfortunately again the sun was scare, but the heads were up and the eye was on the finish line."

SPINATHONS

A major contributor to this year’s fundraising efforts were a number of Spinathon days where this year's participants, volunteers from Comfort for Chemo, family and friends took to the streets in different locations around the county on spinning bikes, including Killarney town which brought in over €6,000 at one location, he added.

"This brings the total raised to date €300,000 supporting a number of very deserving Kerry charities over the years. On behalf of Comfort for Chemo and the 54321 Challenge team we would like to say thank you to all those who have sponsored and supported us along the way.

“If the last 18 months has thought us anything, it is to be thankful for what we have, our health is our wealth, and the power of people working together can get us through some of the most difficult situations."

Follow them on Facebook: 54321Challenge or visit www.54321challenge.org.

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Jobs to keep gardeners busy

The weather is glorious at the moment, so I thought I would put together some jobs to keep every gardener busy! Winter bedding is now available – so plant up containers and pots to keep everything cheerful this winter! Conifers such as Goldcrest and Elwoodiis are an excellent choice for a centrepiece, as are Cordylines, […]

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The weather is glorious at the moment, so I thought I would put together some jobs to keep every gardener busy!

Winter bedding is now available – so plant up containers and pots to keep everything cheerful this winter! Conifers such as Goldcrest and Elwoodiis are an excellent choice for a centrepiece, as are Cordylines, Phormiums and topiary plants such as Buxus and Bay laurels. Heathers give colour all winter, as do ornamental cabbages. Winter pansies, violas and Batchelor’s buttons are all in stock now, and will provide colour for months, Cyclamen are beautiful – but beware! They do not like getting too wet, so ideally use them in pots and window boxes which do not get too much rain.

Bulbs provide a welcome splash of colour in the early spring, at a time when things are looking grey and grim. Choose from an extensive range – tulips, daffs, crocus, snowdrops – to name but a few. Planting mixtures of different varieties can lead to stunning displays in a pot, for example, plant in layers: tulips at the bottom, then daffs, hyacinth, crocus and anenomes for a long lasting pot of colour. In the garden plant bulbs in informal clusters of uneven numbers to give a natural looking display. Alliums are particularly trendy at the moment, these ornamental onions are available in pinks, white and yellow.

PRUNING

Pruning is one of those jobs which can give immense satisfaction. All old flower heads, the straggly growth of herbaceous plants and branches of unkempt shrubs can go into the compost heap. Pruning equipment can be confusing for the new gardener, so here are a few guidelines: there are two types of secateurs, bypass and anvil. The anvil secateurs is used for dead wood, but the bypass secateurs can be used for live as well as dead wood. The hedge shears are used to prune large shrubs or hedges, but is best for soft or thin growth. Loppers are used to prune trees and thicker branches and have long handles. These also come as anvil or bypass. Some of these are geared, these take the strain and strength needed out of the job, an excellent invention!

As the days get shorter and wetter, moss will start to grow again. Treat paths before they get slippy, with a product such as MossOff. Try to keep fallen leaves off lawns as they contribute to poor growth of grass and strong moss growth. A leafblower makes the job easy – especially a cordless one!

Lawns benefit from a final treatment in the autumn with a product such as an Autumn Lawn Feed and Weed or Viano Recovery from the producers of MO Bacter. These products both treat the roots of the grass, making the plant itself stronger for the winter. They do not cause excessive growth.

Finally, if there are empty beds in your vegetable garden, consider sowing a green manure such as winter rye or red clover. These will prevent weeds from taking over as well as enriching the soil with nitrogen. In the spring they can be cut down and dug into the soil, providing essential organic matter.

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Take the stress out of a career change

By Niamh Dwyer, Chairperson of the Kerry Branch of Guidance Counsellors People change career for a variety of reasons. For some people the desire to change comes from feeling unfulfilled or stressed in a current role or the need for more flexibility and autonomy as circumstances in your personal life evolve. Other people are prompted […]

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By Niamh Dwyer, Chairperson of the Kerry Branch of Guidance Counsellors

People change career for a variety of reasons. For some people the desire to change comes from feeling unfulfilled or stressed in a current role or the need for more flexibility and autonomy as circumstances in your personal life evolve.

Other people are prompted to change because of ambition to develop professionally, the desire for more meaning or purpose, job security or to earn more money.

Whether career change is forced upon you through organisational restructuring or is an active choice you are making, it can bring a mix of emotions. Among them is the fear and a lack of confidence on how to navigate the change effectively and the feeling of overwhelm associated with not knowing where to start. Conversely, it can be a time of great excitement about the possibility of taking on a new (and maybe very different) role or opportunity. Either way, drawing up a career action plan that breaks down the process into manageable tasks will help to ease any stress associated with career change and save you time and energy in the long run.

UNLOCKING YOUR POTENTIAL

Start by thinking about where you are now and where you would like to be – what are your priorities and non-negotiables and what are the practicalities you need to consider? To dig deeper do a self-assessment audit of your transferable skills and competencies, your career values and character strengths. Journal your career change journey by recording anything interesting you find out about yourself or career areas you are interested in. Some people like the idea of drawing up a career vision board as part of the process. Set clear goals and a specific timeline for yourself. As you gain more clarity, write out what your ideal job specification might look like, this will guide your job search. Explore options to up-skill or retrain if you feel this is helpful or necessary. Do a spring clean of your CV so that it reflects you accurately and favourably. Reach out to people in your network who may be able to assist you as you navigate this transition. Think about possible side projects you could work on to explore different areas before taking a big leap. Set up or update your LinkedIn profile, it is an important part of career development. Practice interview skills, you want to be able to perform confidently when they come around. Think about this process as unlocking the potential of your ‘career brand’ so that you and prospective employers have a strong sense of who you are professionally, what you value and what you bring to the workplace. Doing this work will enable you to approach your job search and career change with renewed confidence. It will take some time but it will be worth it!

Niamh Dwyer is a Guidance Counsellor in Scoil Phobail Sliabh Luachra, Rathmore, and Chairperson of the Kerry Branch of Guidance Counsellors. She is also a Careers Advisor – For details see www.mycareerplan.ie or follow @mycareerplan on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

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