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Funding down but demand for food up – say SVdD volunteers

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MEETING DEMAND: Volunteers with St Vincent de Paul Killarney Conference say there's a huge demand for food hampers this year. Pictured were: Mike Riordan, Niall Keogh, Liz Ryan, Jackie Foley, Brendan Joy, Dymphna Horgan and Breda Dwyer. Photo: Michelle Crean

 

By Michelle Crean

With funding decimated and a huge increase in families seeking assistance as a result of COVID this year the St Vincent de Paul (SVdD) is urging the public to help.

As volunteers prepare hundreds of hampers for the vulnerable in Killarney and surrounds, the Killarney Conference is expecting a massive demand on their services.

Speaking this week to the Killarney Advertiser, President of the local conference Breda Dwyer said that 2020 "is the toughest year" the service has experienced to date.

Not alone have they lost out on church gate collections - including the annual Christmas one - their biggest of the year usually runs the second weekend of December - but more families are in dire straights due to the loss of jobs or reduction in hours.

In recent weeks SVdP has sent out 6,000 envelopes to homes across the town and are asking people to give a generous donation to help raise the funds to fill the food hampers which will be distributed to their clients in need.

The service - which has also felt the loss of revenue with their charity shop closed in both the first and second lockdown - will also help by providing food vouchers, coal or oil to those who cannot afford it.

"It's our toughest year," Breda told the Killarney Advertiser this week.
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"Our main aim is to help people who are in poverty. Our church gate collection, that's our biggest fundraiser of the year but that won't be going ahead this year. That's an awful lot of fundraising we won't have this year. Our funds are down substantially and we're making a special appeal to people to please support SVdP as the needs of people have increased."

Volunteer Niall Keogh added that not only do they provide food and other provisions but can monitor those who need additional services like mental health.

However, due to COVID, calling in and just sitting and chatting to clients isn't possible this year.
"We can't call and sit down and have a chat. We can't access their mental health needs."
Anyone who needs support in any way should call 064 6634021 or 087 7718200. "They can leave a message and a volunteer will get back to them," he said.

And the service is also seeking more volunteers, anyone who'd like to give a hand can contact them on the numbers above.

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County Board open to GAA museum proposals

By Sean Moriarty The Kerry County GAA Board said it would operate “an open door policy” for any plans to build a GAA museum in the county. There have been talks at a political level to build such a museum in Kerry with political rivals in Killarney and Tralee both pushing for it to be built […]

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By Sean Moriarty

The Kerry County GAA Board said it would operate “an open door policy” for any plans to build a GAA museum in the county.

There have been talks at a political level to build such a museum in Kerry with political rivals in Killarney and Tralee both pushing for it to be built in their home town.

Before he retired from politics in April, Michael Gleeson was campaigning to build a GAA and cultural museum on the grounds of Fitzgerald Stadium.

His campaign goes back several years before the recession set in, with a €0.5 million bridging loan secured from Croke Park along with funding from Fáilte Ireland. That funding was lost with the onset of the recession before 2010.

Tim Murphy, the outgoing chairman of the Kerry County Board, has confirmed to the Killarney Advertiser that no approaches have been made to the County Board at executive level during his five year stint at the helm.

However, he said the Board would be open to such approaches provided there is sound financial planning behind the project in place.

“The first and most important aspect is the capital funding and my understanding is there needs to be Fáilte Ireland funding in place first,” he told the Killarney Advertiser. “If it gets up and running, there needs to be very clear talks with all stakeholders so everyone knows each others expectations. A museum attracts footfall, but it costs a lot of money to run. We would offer an open door policy to all proposals but funding, first from a capital point of view and then from an operational point of view, will need to be in place.”

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Loreto pupils are happy to help save the planet

By Michelle Crean School pupils are fast becoming the next generation of environmentalists thanks to a brand new litter-picking campaign. Happy to help save the planet one bit of litter at a time are the children from Scoil Bhríde, Loreto NS, who are currently partaking in the Picker Pal Programme. It’s all about taking on […]

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By Michelle Crean

School pupils are fast becoming the next generation of environmentalists thanks to a brand new litter-picking campaign.

Happy to help save the planet one bit of litter at a time are the children from Scoil Bhríde, Loreto NS, who are currently partaking in the Picker Pal Programme.

It’s all about taking on a litter-picking adventure in their local area as well as learning songs, reading storybooks, filling in activity books while witnessing that their real-world actions are making a positive difference and inspiring others to join the movement.

Picker Pals is a unique primary school programme that gives children the tools and motivation to become the next generation of environmentalists, teacher Claire O’Meara explained.

“The Picker Pal Programme is a fantastic initiative and will go a long way to raise awareness of the impact litter has on our environment,” she told the Killarney Advertiser.

Real litter-picking is motivated by a Picker Pack made from upcycled dinghy sails and containing adult and child litter-picking tools, gloves, hi-vis vests and safety information.

“This pack is then taken home by a different pupil every week. That child takes their adult on a litter-picking adventure. The children then tell the story of their litter-picking adventures through art and writing. Raising awareness is an essential part of the solution to littering. Picker Pals gives young people the tools and positive motivation to steward their local environment and make the world a better place.”

The programme, run by environmental NGO VOICE Ireland, is funded by the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications and various local authorities across Ireland.

Now in its third year of operation, over one thousand schools all across Ireland will be taking part in the Picker Pals programme this year. In Kerry, 29 schools are taking part, and Scoil Bhríde, Loreto is delighted to be included, she added.

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