Pop Up Care Cafe

Who: The Carers Association, along with family carers from Carlow

What: The launch of The Carers Association “Pop Up Care Cafe” which will open for one week during National Carers Week 9th – 13thJune 2014 from 10 am to 5 pm Monday to Friday.

When: Friday 9th May 11 am

Where: Bagenal Antique Shop, Dublin Street, Carlow (opposite the Court House)

About: The “Care Cafe” will be a place for young and older carers to come together for a cup of coffee and a chat while at the same time getting information about their rights, entitlements and the services that are available to them. The cafe will be manned by trained staff and volunteers, many of whom are carers themselves and could be the first point of contact for many new carers who may not know that there are supports there for them. Activities during the week will include relaxation therapies, telecare supports, one to one counselling, support on looking after your mental and physical health and wellbeing and workshops providing legal and financial management advice.


Belle Femme for beautiful bridal lingerie

Leading destination lingerie boutique, Belle Femme in Kilkenny City is focussed on brides this spring with a wonderful new collection of bridal lingerie in stock.

Bridal lingerie is top priority after the bridal gown for most brides who understand that the perfect gown needs the perfect-fitting lingerie to ensure that the bride is looking flawless on her big day.

Belle Femme offers an organic, tried and tested fitting service where no tape measure is required for bra fittings and having trained amongst the finest lingerie specialists in Europe, Bridget Kearney proprietor of Belle Femme, has all of her staff trained to the same high standards.

‘Bra fittings should never be done with a tape measure,’ she says, ‘our bodies are not static and therefore we need to move and bend and still be comfortable and stylish. I can tell what size a woman should be wearing by simply observing her shape and trying on a variety of styles. No one has ever left my boutique in an ill-fitting bra – but many have come in, in them,’ she says.

Bridget warns against wearing the wrong size bra – particularly on your wedding day.

‘When you are dressed in a beautiful gown which can often be quite fitted and of delicate material it is more important than ever that you wear the correct undergarments. Your shape will look so much better in a dress when you are in a perfectly fitting bra, as it will show off all your curves in the right places,’ she promises.

‘Along with stocking the popular bridal lines Charnos and Fauve, Belle Femme caters for low-backed dresses, sweetheart shapes, and confetti cups for inserting into bridal gowns and all in stunning styles and in ivory, white and nude.’

Brides, bridesmaids and mothers of the bride (and groom) receive a personal and discreet service in the oversized changing rooms at Belle Femme where Bridget is passionate about fitting the perfect lingerie on her customers. She also advises those looking for underwear for a specific outfit to bring the outfit to the fitting to ensure a perfect fit and in turn a perfect figure.

There is a stunning new collection of bridal lingerie on offer in store and the team at Belle Femme is on stand-by to ensure you leave with the perfect fitting lingerie for your perfect day.

Belle Femme is celebrating three years of fitting the women of Ireland in perfect lingerie for every occasion. The boutique serves women who travel from all corners of the country to obtain the perfect lingerie for occasion wear, bridal wear, maternity and every-day wear. Belle Femme is a must-see destination lingerie boutique for every bride who needs a beautiful bra for her wedding day.

BROWN BAG FILMS® launch unique online initiative to raise funds for Irish charity ‘To Russia With Love’

ANYA, a four minute animated short film charting twenty years in the life of a Russian orphan, is the end result of 14 months’ work at Brown Bag Films. The twice Oscar nominated studio were originally approached to produce a short advert to highlight the work that ‘To Russia With Love’ do with abandoned and orphaned children in Russia, but decided that a short film would be a more effective approach.

“The idea was simple; we make an engaging piece of animation, one that ideally packs an emotional punch. If people are charmed or moved by it, they show their appreciation by sending a donation directly to To Russia With Love,” explained Writer/Director Damien O’Connor.

“Unlike an advert, people are more likely to share a film online with friends or family, which of course helps spread the word about the charity. It’s ‘visual busking’ in a way. We’re all used to charity singles and calendars, so we applied the same approach to a full four minute computer animated film instead”.

The production of ANYA began in February 2013 when O’Connor travelled to the Hortolova Orphanage in Russia where To Russia With Love operate to meet the children.

“It was important that this would be the children’s story; a film for them, by them.  What started out as a small idea expanded as we heard the children’s own stories.  Everyone involved has been great. Moved by the children’s plight, Infinite Studios in Singapore offered their services for free and the team in Brown Bag got behind the film 100%. By the end over eighty people spread across five countries have been involved in the production of ANYA,” said O’Connor.

“The first preview screening of ANYA took place in one of our orphanages in Russia and the children of ‘To Russia With Love’ all loved it. That was always a huge part of the goal as this film was created for them and the storyline is based on what we give each child under our wings of care, love and protection.  We hope that those who view, share and fall in love with Anya will help us transform clicks into donations from which all proceeds go directly to our orphanages in Russia with our love,” stated Debbie Deegan, Founder of ‘To Russia With Love’.

ANYA is produced by Edel Byrne and the original music for the film is composed by Darren Hendley (Octonauts, Olivia). The film has been publicly endorsed by top stars in Russia and is narrated by Russian actress Chulpan Khamatova and Irish singing star Lisa Hannigan features on vocals.

ANYA is available online from Monday 28th April and can be viewed on Brown Bag Labs http://www.brownbagfilms.com/labs/entry/anya-shortfilm , from the Brown Bag films YouTube channel, https://www.youtube.com/brownbagfilms or through Brown Bag films Vimeo https://vimeo.com/brownbagfilms.  To support the work of ‘To Russia With Love’ text HUG to 50300 or donate online to www.torussiawithlove.ie

Wheel of Fortune Winners Travel from Las Vegas to Support The Carers Association Mini Marathon

With participants from all over Kilkenny and Carlow taking part in the 10th anniversary of the upcoming mini marathon, veteran runners Kevin and Jennifer Gordon are travelling 5000 miles from Las Vegas to Kilkenny to show their support for The Carers Association’s Mini Marathon on Monday May 5th at 11.00 am.

The Carers Association are hoping that this event will raise much needed funds for their Kilkenny and Carlow centre that provides essential support to some 6,200 local carers and their families. They are urging families from Kilkenny, Carlow and surrounding areas to make a day of it on May 5th and have fun by running or walking in the Mini Marathon that will support local families who rely on the assistance of The Carers Association.

Having won a trip to Ireland on TV game show Wheel of Fortune, running enthusiasts Kevin and Jennifer Gordon will travel from their hometown of Las Vegas to participate in this year’s Mini Marathon, along with charity patron, RTÈ broadcaster, Mary Kennedy. Jennifer, whose parents own an assisted living centre in Oklahoma said, “We are excited to run the Mini Marathon in support of The Carers Association. We understand first-hand the challenges that they face and have the greatest admiration for carers who need to have the sweetest disposition and authentic love, care and respect for those they care for.  We enjoy running for our health but we are well-aware that one day we may depend on that same kind of care.”

Nora O’ Gorman, Kilkenny Carer of the Year, explains that funds raised through the Mini Marathon significantly improves the well-being of the carers and enable them to provide the best possible care to their dependents “to help break down the feeling of isolation and provide support groups and essential respite.”

Suitable for all fitness and experience levels The Carers Associations Mini Marathon will cater for runners, walkers and families. Setting off from the Aspect Hotel at 11am on Monday May 5th, participants can choose from a 10K chipped (timed) run or a 5k run or walk for more relaxed participants. The route will take participants along the Waterford Road, winding out into the Kilkenny countryside and returning to the car park at the Aspect Hotel.

Registration is taking place until Monday 21st April and costs just €15; Late registrations can take place up until 10.15am on the Monday, May 5th for €20.00. Forms are available by calling 056-7721424 or by logging on to www.carersireland.com. Sponsorship cards are available for those who wish to raise additional funds for The Carers Association.


Amidst growing tensions between Government parties over water charges, The Carers Association is urging for clarity on the level of water charges family carers will be expected to pay and reassurance that there will be water affordability strategies in place for one of Ireland’s most vulnerable sectors.

For Ireland’s 187,112 family carers, the home is ‘a centre of care’ where vital and for the most part, unpaid services to Ireland’s health systems are contributed. Support for households where someone has a long term medical condition is essential in the roll out of water charges as such households have water needs far greater than the average household. Water affordability strategies for households with high levels of care are essential. Care in the home must be supported not penalized.

“Family carers all over Ireland are managing complex medical procedures within their homes such as dialysis and peg feeding every day. They are running essential medical devices such as nebulisers, ventilators and dialysis machines which bring with them substantial water usage in terms of their running and cleaning. Personal care, incontinence, intimate care, as well as best practice in terms of hand washing and the sanitation of health care equipment also require significantly greater water usage. Conditions such as incontinence care require regular laundry and showering” says Catherine Cox, Head of Communications with The Carers Association.

“We are urgently calling on Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Minister Phil Hogan to follow through on their commitment that there will be clarity on water charges for family carers before the local elections take place on May 23rd. Family carers have been severely impacted by consistent cuts to vital supports and services with the most recent affecting housing adaptation and mobility grants and we want assurance that family carers will receive a free medical allowance to reflect their increased water needs.”

Local Authorities will continue to play a role in water services until Irish Water is fully established in 2019. On May 23rd, the people of Ireland will elect 949 councilors to local Government and with reforms set to increase the power of local authorities, the role of Government at this level will play a critical role in ensuring family carers have the resources, services and supports necessary to care with confidence in the home. The Carers Association are calling on Government and local election candidates to:

  • Ensure that water affordability strategies are put in place to support vulnerable households, through the allocation of free water allowances, bill capping, budgeting tools and pre termination polices and exemptions.
  • Allocation of a special free medical allowance, which will reflect the increased essential water needs of caring households.

Ireland’s 187,112 family carers contribute €11 million per day, providing 900,000 hours of care daily and save the state €4 billion each year.  Over 21 percent of family carers provide over 43 hours of unpaid for care per week.

€1.2 million investment in Carlow homes under the Warmer Homes Scheme – Carlow County Development Partnership

Carlow County Development Partnership the agency responsible for delivering the Warmer Homes Scheme, has secured over €1.2 million in investment in the Warmer Homes Scheme for the people of Carlow Town and County.

The Warmer Homes Scheme (WHS) was launched as part of ‘Better Energy, the National Upgrade Programme’ in May 2011 in the context of the Government’s Jobs Initiative and is administered by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI).

To date some 340 homes in Carlow have had work carried out under the WHS and their occupants are enjoying the benefits of a warmer, more comfortable home.

The WHS offers grants to homeowners who wish to improve the energy efficiency and comfort conditions of homes occupied by vulnerable households in receipt of the National Fuel Allowance Scheme through the installation of draught proofing, attic insulation, lagging jackets, low energy light bulbs and cavity wall insulation where appropriate.  The scheme expanded in 2013 with the introduction of ventilation where appropriate.

Mary Walsh CEO of Carlow County Development Partnership says, “The value of the Warmer Homes Scheme to Carlow is significant with over €1.2 million of investment for private home owners secured by Carlow County Development Partnership since start up in late 2011. Some €550,000 worth of insulating materials have been installed in Carlow homes with the grant from Sustainable Energy Ireland while over €651,000 is sourced from the Department of Social Protection to cover labour and associated costs for the scheme.

“Currently, we have a bid submitted to SEAI for a grant to insulate a further 80 homes in Carlow. This will take us up to late autumn 2014. There are approximately 30 applicants on our waiting list so already we have a good idea of who will have their homes insulated in 2014,”explained Ms Walsh.

Meanwhile, the grants are having the greatest impact on homeowners themselves who are very satisfied with the results of the works carried out.

Darren Kavanagh, Old Leighlin, Carlow who had work carried out on his home says, “We are delighted with the work that has been done to our home.  There is no question but my house feels warmer and holds the heat better since the work was carried out, thanks to all in the WHS.”

To secure the contract for the WHS for Carlow, Carlow County Development Partnership has to submit a bid to SEAI and to date has been successful on every occasion.

Ms Walsh points out, “With uncertainties in relation to capital funds in today’s economic climate it is always a concern that funding for schemes such as the WHS will run dry, however, as we see the positive results of the WHS on a daily basis, Carlow County Development Partnership is prioritising this scheme and will work hard to ensure that the funds will be available to continue the good work being carried out by Peter Mulhern who heads up this scheme, with his team of in-house installers and assessors.”

At the launch of the Better Energy Programme in June 2011, Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Pat Rabbitte said, “There is only one long-term solution to making energy more affordable – using less of it. Improving the thermal efficiency of homes is the most cost effective way of increasing energy affordability and reducing energy poverty.”

Treat mom this Mother’s Day with a day off or a gift from Butterslip

With Mother’s Day almost upon us, the mums of the world will be waiting, and waiting…. And waiting to be treated, well, like Dads for the day on Sunday March 28th!

This Sunday the moms of Ireland hope that they can wake up leisurely, accept a freshly made breakfast in bed, a snuggle with the newly washed children who have already had their baths with Daddy and arise to a clean house with the prospect of lunch out – or even prepared by somebody else.

Moms have the most undervalued job in the world and any woman would tell you that many moms go out to work in order to ‘get a break’, as being a full-time mom is truly hard work and of course there is no thanks offered to moms by young children or babies (and sometimes even teens!). The payment for moms is in the smiles and the hugs and the puckered kisses offered from time to time from the aforementioned angels – and indeed these offerings are much-appreciated.

But this weekend, why not overtly show the mom in your life that you value the work that she does – both inside and outside of the home. Why not offer her a break from cooking, cleaning and child-minding as a simple gift and a small way of saying ‘thank you’ for all you do for the family.

On the other hand, you could pop down to Butterslip gift-shop on Rose Inn Street in Kilkenny (www.butterslip.com for online shopping) and purchase your mom/wife/mother of your children a beautiful bespoke gift for Mother’s Day in the form of jewels, perfumes, handbags, scarves, truffles and much more. Butterslip is a stunning purveyor of prettiness where an array of vintage and stylish gifts are available for the woman in your life.

In the meantime, note that Anne Barber of Butterslip is hosting a coffee morning in aid of Cois Nore Cancer support services this Friday morning between 10.30 – 1pm if you would like to avail of a lovely cup of tea or coffee and some chocolate treats as you choose your Mother’s Day gift in store.

See www.butterslip.com for further information.

Destination Store seeks 30 Eggs-traordinary staff to hop on board for Ireland’s largest Easter Eggstravaganza

Destination Store seeks 30 Eggs-traordinary staff to hop on board for Ireland’s largest Easter Eggstravaganza

Having launched Ireland’s largest Easter Eggs-travaganza, leading destination and activity store, Rathwood, are now seeking 30 recruits to become part of their egg-citing Easter team.  This is the second year Rathwood will host its special Easter train event and due to its phenomenal popularity they have doubled the number of tickets available. Over 10,000 people are expected to visit the Tullow, Co Carlow based store this April.

Rathwood are looking for 30 eggs-traordinary fun staff to hop on board and become part of the experience which will run from April 12th to April 21st. The recruits will assist a host of fairy tale characters like the Easter Bunny, Humpty Dumpty and the Mad Hatter in creating a magical experience for visitors.

“We look forward to welcoming families from all over Ireland to our Easter train Eggs-travaganza but first we need to recruit 30 Easter soldiers who will assist Humpty Dumpty and the other magical characters. Successful candidates will be egg-ucated in what will be an egg-zosting but worthwhile eggs-ercise on all things Easter!” said James Keogh, MD of Rathwood.

“This year we are celebrating 20 years in business and we are committed to offering a top class destination to visit for special times of the year. We are extremely proud to have reached this significant milestone and a lot has changed over the past couple of years but we continue to adapt to the changing landscapes. It is a privilege that from our humble beginnings in 1994, we are now in a position to generate these employment opportunities while offering an unbeatable experience to our customers”.

The award-winning family run business has firmly established itself as Ireland’s leading venue for family activities and this year they will celebrate 20 years in business. The company employs 60 full time staff with this figure rising to over 150 at peak times such as Halloween and Christmas. A leading destination store housing clothing boutiques for men, ladies and children, gifts and home-ware, hand-crafted furniture, an extensive garden centre, a falconry attraction as well its popular Rathwood train attraction.

The Rathwood Easter Train will run from April 12th to April 21st and tickets are on sale now. Applicants wishing for more information can visit www.rathwood.com

The Carers Association and RTÉ broadcaster Mary Kennedy launch the 10th annual Kilkenny Mini Marathon

 The Carers Association and RTÉ broadcaster Mary Kennedy launch the 10th annual Kilkenny Mini Marathon

The Kilkenny Mini Marathon, which this year will celebrate its 10th anniversary, was launched by The Carers Association charity patron and RTÉ broadcaster, Mary Kennedy. The annual mini marathon, hosted by The Carers Association, will take place on Monday, May 5th beginning from Kilkenny’s Aspect Hotel.

This year’s event will cater for all levels of runners, walkers and family participants including a 10km (chipped) run or walk for the serious competitors and a new 5km (not chipped) run/walk for the more relaxed participant. The Carers Association is seeking the support of the public once again and are urging the people of Kilkenny to register and join in the fun and encourage friends and family members to take part.

“It is wonderful to see the support for The Carers Association today as at the beginning they had to shout very loudly to get their voice heard – but they did it and it has worked and this 10th anniversary event is very positive recognition of the great work carried out by all at The Carers Association,” said Mary Kennedy

“I am not as fit as I used to be during my marathon days in 2001 as I simply don’t have time to run with work and travel, however, I do love to run and I will definitely be taking part in this fun event on the Bank Holiday weekend.”

Gina Delaney, Outreach and Development Officer with The Carers Association speaking at the event at the Aspect Hotel today said, “Our supporters and volunteers mean so much to us and without their continued support this event would not be so successful.”

Nora O’ Gorman, Kilkenny Carer of the Year was also present and highlighted the value of the event to the people on the ground in Carlow Kilkenny.

“The fundraising from this event means that the Kilkenny/Carlow centre can continue to support local Carers. Supports like the respite service are invaluable to giving peace of mind to families and the Support Groups let you meet with others in a similar position to help break down the feeling of isolation.”

There are approximately 6,200 family carers in Carlow/Kilkenny alone carrying out an immeasurable number of caring hours on a weekly basis. Funds raised during this event will go towards much-needed respite care for these dedicated carers and their families.

The Registration fee is €15 (Late registration €20) and should be returned to The Carers Association, Springhill Clinic, Waterford Road, Kilkenny no later than Monday, April 21st. Forms can also be received by calling 056-7721424 or by logging on to www.carersireland.com. A sponsorship card will be sent out to those who wish to raise much-needed funds for The Carers Association.

Choose to be a Yummy Mummy this Mother’s Day with Pink Lining baby changing bags

Butterslip Kilkenny offers new S/S14 range of changing bags for the yummiest of mummies

Step out in style with your new arrival this Mother’s Day with the newest and most-wanted baby accessory – the Pink Lining, Yummy Mummy baby changing bag.

Kilkenny’s leading destination gift store, Butterslip has a great selection of baby bags with the Spring/Summer range from Pink Lining now in stock.  Pink Lining release two collections a year, always eagerly anticipated by mums-to-be in particular!  This year’s new original prints all come with their signature, pretty, whimsical style, and shocking pink lining!

The latest spring prints include frolicking flamingos, classic owls, bounding deer and retro bicycles, all in the prettiest shades of pink, cream, grey and minty green.  As practical as they are pretty, Yummy Mummy bags all include a quality padded changing mat, wet pouch, insulated bottle pockets, nappy pockets, key fob, lipstick mirror, plus plenty of handy pockets for your keys/phone and personal items.  And as they are completely wipe cleanable inside and out, you can stay ahead of life’s daily dramas…

Pink Lining Yummy Mummy changing bags are an ideal gift for a new mum for Mother’s Day or a great gift for a mum-to-be in the near future.  With such gorgeous selection of pretty styles, the only problem is which to choose?

Butterslip Kilkenny is a one-stop-shop for all things pretty and practical for mums and babies with brands such as The Gro Company, Sophie the Giraffe and Daisy Roots infant shoes. Offering the latest trends in baby products and stunning gifts for new mums, Butterslip is the go-to destination store for all things pretty for you and your new arrival.