Mayo based company donates clothing to keep homeless warm ahead of coldest Winter in 100 years

With Winter 2014 set to be the coldest in 100 years, County Mayo based company Portwest are donating new winter-wear to three charities helping in the fight against homelessness. The Peter McVerry Trust, the Cork Penny Dinners Organisation and  Focus Ireland along with its newest charity store ‘Beloved at Focus’ are set to benefit from Portwest’s donations to help keep those in need warm this Christmas.

With recent figures finding there are over 5,000 people in Ireland homeless at any one time, Portwest are increasing their level of donations to charities this year. Along with this, the family-run business will be running a special online initiative from Friday, December 12th to Monday, December 15th where they will donate a coat or jacket for purchases made on to the charities.

Owen Hughes, Managing Director of Portwest says “We’re saddened to hear that homelessness is rising across Ireland. We are passionate about supporting our local community and for many years have donated new clothing to local charities and will continue to do so. This year, we want to help more people across Ireland and ensure that those most in need have warm clothing ahead of what is a difficult time of year.”

The Peter McVerry Trust, Focus Ireland and The Cork Penny Dinners in Cork City will receive a donation of clothing valued at over €10,000 which will be distributed to those who use their services. Further to this Focus Ireland’s new charity store ‘Beloved at Focus Ireland’ will sell items from the Portwest’s premium Heritage Collection in their recently opened charity boutique store in Malahide. For the next three months, Portwest will supply a monthly donation of items to the shop and all funds raised go directly to the charity.

Anne Marie Connolly of The Peter McVerry Trust explains “365 individuals are accommodated each night by the Peter McVerry Trust, and more than 3,500 people have been supported through PMVT’s range of services to date this year . We are very grateful to receive the generous donation of coats from Portwest. It’s an extremely useful gift and greatly helps us in our work offering assistance and support to those who are experiencing homelessness this winter.”

Based in Westport, Co. Mayo, Portwest is Europe’s most leading supplier of durable work-wear, personal protective equipment, safety footwear and stylish outdoor leisurewear.

See / @PortwestIreland

Take Two for Clontarf Housewife and Charity Founder as Debbie Deegan recieves IMAGE Magazine ‘Social Entrepreneur’ of the Year Award

Clontarf housewife and founder of Irish charity To Russia With Love Debbie Deegan has received the 2014 IMAGE Magazine ‘Social Entrepreneur of the Year’ Award. Founded in 1998, To Russia With Love has dramatically changed the lives of thousands of abandoned and orphaned children in one of Russia’s most desolate regions.

The Clontarf based woman spearheads the work of the charity ensuring that the children under their wings of love are cared and receive education, healthcare and a safe ‘home’ environment. Just one month ago the mother of three received a ‘Social Entrepreneur of the Year’ Award from Women Mean Business. The awards come in a year, that Debbie describes as their “most crippling year ever financially” with programmes of care in Russia having to be stripped back.

Debbie Deegan, founder of ‘To Russia With Love’ explains “To have been shortlisted among such a list of amazing women was incredible. I’m extremely humbled and honoured to have received the IMAGE ‘Social Entrepreneur of the Year’ award. I do not look at this as recognition for my work but as recognition for the small and intimate team of people behind the scenes who are involved in transforming the lives of children in Russia.”

“It is difficult to try and impart the importance of supporting charities like ours who work abroad to the Irish public. To us, it does not matter that the children are in Russia because there is just one place they live and that is in our hearts. The reality is, they depend on the generosity of the Irish people and I believe they deserve every opportunity and chance possible so that negative cycles and patterns can be broken. We will continue to beat our drum to maintain and improve our work there.”

Now in its eighth year, the IMAGE Businesswoman of the Year Awards aims to recognise the inspirational Irish women who continue to shine in the business world, regardless of economic climate or the challenges they face. Winners of an IMAGE award join an impressive roll call that includes some of Ireland’s leading businesswomen.

To Russia With Love was founded by Clontarf woman Debbie Deegan in 1998 after she adopted a little girl from the orphanage. So moved by the bleak conditions that the children in the Russia orphanage lived in, Debbie rallied family and friends to help her set up the charity which has to date transformed the lives of thousands of abandoned and orphaned Russia children. The charity now offers its programmes of care in many orphanages across Russia teaching life skills for a brighter future and providing children with improved living conditions, healthcare and education.

The charity recently released a book detailing the stories of abandoned and orphaned children they have helped ‘To Russia With Love, The Children’s Stories’ is available at or from their ‘With Love’ Charity Shop in Clontarf. The charity will also provide a special gift wrapping service for those who order the book on-line making it an ideal Christmas gift.

To donate to ‘To Russia With Love’ please text HUG to 50300 or visit

Scarf Swap for South East Simon at Jerpoint Glass

Scarf Swap for South East Simon at Jerpoint Glass

Bring a scarf and buy a scarf at South East Simon fundraiser

The Leadbetter ladies from Jerpoint Glass in Co Kilkenny will host a novel event to raise funds for the South East Simon Community through two special Scarf Swop Coffee Mornings this month.

The fundraising Scarf Sales will be held on Friday October 25th and Saturday October 26th at Jerpoint Glass studios in Stoneyford, Co Kilkenny. The event will run from 10am until 1pm each day and complimentary tea, coffee and treats will be offered.

Along with the two-day Scarf Swop, the Leadbetters will also present glass-blowing demonstrations on both days and families are welcome to bring children who will enjoy free bandana painting on Saturday, October 26th.

Scarf-loving men and women are asked to come along and bring an unwanted scarf that they would like to donate for the sale in aid of the South East Simon Community, which provides vital services tothose at risk of homelessness. The Scarf Swap will raise much-needed funds for the charity that offers vital drop-in facilities, residential opportunities and advice throughout the South East region.

Kathleen Leadbetter is a lover of scarves and the Scarf Swap idea was born when she began thinking about how Jerpoint Glass could help the charity in a practical, but fun way.

“Everybody has a scarf that they don’t want anymore. Scarves are an understated and versatile accessory that both men and women wear. We hope to have a variety of donated scarves for men and women on sale over the fundraising weekend, that will help raise funds for the South East Simon Community,” said Kathleen.

Each year South East Simon needs to raise €600,000 to continue to deliver vital services in the South East. In 2012, the South East Simon Community supported over 250 adults and almost 170 children with housing, tenancy sustainment supports, resettlement supports and after-care projects. They also offer life skills training and well-being programmes aimed at providing information on personal development and teaching clients to become more independent.

Joe Simpson of South East Simon said he was delighted that the Leadbetters were hosting the event and hoped that it would be well-supported.

“Demand for the services we provide continues to rise. We are very grateful to Jerpoint Glass for organising this event on the charity’s behalf. I hope that people will attend the Scarf Swap Coffee mornings and help support the vital and necessary services we provide to those most in need,” said Joe

Scarves can be donated at drop off points in Supervalu in Thomastown and Loughboy Co. Kilkenny, St Canices’ Credit Union and also in the Centra Store in Bennettsbridge.

The Scarf Swap coffee mornings will be held at Jerpoint Glass Studio, Stoneyford from 10 am until 1pm on Friday 25th and Saturday 26th October with complimentary tea, coffee and treats for all, plus bandana painting for children on Saturday. /