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Siobhan’s going ‘Up the Hill’ for Jack & Jill

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By Michelle Crean

A Killarney-based nurse is seeking support for a fundraiser next month which will help sick Kerry children and their families.

Siobhan Reen, a Specialist Children’s Liaison Nurse with the Jack & Jill Children’s Foundation, is encouraging members of the public to gather friends and family and go Up the Hill for Jack & Jill this October to raise much-needed funds for the nine families it supports in Kerry.

This is the seventh year of the nationwide fundraising challenge which helps fund specialist home nursing care, respite support and end-of-life care for very sick children up to the age of six.

Notwithstanding the pandemic, in 2020 Jack & Jill funded and delivered over 94,000 hours of home nursing care to 376 families, through a team of hundreds of nurses and carers in communities across the country.

This was in addition to the 25,000 hours of hands-on, case management provided by the Jack & Jill core nursing team, which is made up of 15 specialist children’s liaison nurses. In 2020, Jack & Jill also extended the age range of children it supports by a year and that age extension continues today, with children up to six years of age receiving the vital care that they need at home. Because, for a Jack & Jill child, there is no care like home care.

With less than 20 percent of Jack & Jill’s funding coming from Government, it relies hugely on the support of the public for the continued provision of this critical service for so many families.

Siobhan says that 'Up the Hill' means so much to local families, who depend on the funds raised for their support.

“To say that it has been a very tough 18 months for our Jack & Jill families is an understatement," Siobhan said.

"As one of the vulnerable groups during the pandemic, our families have had to take refuge in order to keep themselves and, most importantly, their children safe. It has been really tough. Throughout this time, we have continued to provide in-home support, across the garden wall support, and over the phone support. Last year, we provided over 2,100 hours of support to families in Kerry. This affords families the ‘Gift of Time’ to do things for themselves and other family members – whether it’s spending some quality time with a sibling, grabbing a quick coffee with a friend, getting some fresh air in the great outdoors, or simply taking a nap to recharge – it’s that time out which means that they can continue to spend time caring for their sick child and doing what mums and dads do best.”

Five Easy Steps

The fundraising challenge couldn’t be simpler; Register your challenge at www.jackandjill.ie for just €18 – the cost of one hour of specialist home nursing care and receive an optional eco-friendly banner. You can also purchase a Jack & Jill beanie for €10 to make sure you stand out on the day! Identify a location for your 'Up the Hill' challenge; it can be in a local park, or a peak on a nearby mountain – whatever hill works for your fitness level and ability. Recruit your family members, friends and work colleagues to join you, but remember to stay within public health guidance. Decide on a date during the month of October that best suits your group and begin the countdown to let the excitement build. The final frontier – grab your hill and go! Then using the eco-friendly banner, take a picture to proclaim your achievement to the world on social media!

To find out more visit www.jackandjill.ie, call 045 894538, or find them online: Instagram @jackandjillcf; Twitter @jackandjillcf; Facebook @jackandjillfoundation; and LinkedIn @Jack & Jill Children's Foundation.

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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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