Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Niamh Murphy and Michelle Byrne of the Carlow County Development Partnership sort donations at the “Be Kind” project in the Old Perry’s Building in Carlow. Photo: michaelorourkephotography.ie

A COMMUNITY initiative has seen hundreds of local families and individuals in need receive a little help.

The Be Kind community initiative has seen everything from spoons and glasses, pots and pans, to beds and couches delivered to those in need from its base in Perry’s building, Carlow town.

Donations and goodwill from the public have been amazing and, since April, 400 families and individuals have been supported. Literally, thousands of items have been donated.

It is operated by Carlow County Development Partnership under its social inclusion programme, while Carlow Co Council has provided the premises.

The Be Kind project has captured the imagination of the county and further afield,” said Annette Fox, CEO of Carlow County Development Partnership. “People are travelling from Wexford and Waterford because they are so taken with the ethos of this community development project. This has enabled people to come together, not only to support members of the community but also address environmental and waste issues and explore a new way of living, being kinder to each other and kinder to our environment.”

The service is run through referrals in collaboration with agencies and stakeholders like the Carlow Older Persons Forum, gardaí, Amber Refuge and community groups who identify that someone may need particular items or item. Be Kind delivers everything that’s needed. The whole concept is about diginity and respect, said Ms Cox.

Cllr Fintan Phelan (Cathaoirleach Carlow County council) is shown with members of the Carlow County Development Partnership at the “Be Kind” project in the Old Perry’s Building in Carlow, shown are Annette Fox (CEO Carlow County Development Partnership), Niamh Murphy, Michelle Byrne, Jason Culleton, Paula Hughes, Lucy Stevenson, Fergal Bolger, James McCarthy, Hamida Begum and Joe Butler (Carlow Older Person’s Forum). Photo: michaelorourkephotography.ie

If people are in need of assistance in order to move on to deal with other matters, the last thing that they need is to feel that they are begging for help. 

We are not assessing anybody. If somebody needs something, they need something. If we can, we will provide it,” said Ms Cox.

Recently, the Alzheimer Society donated a container of orthopaedic chairs, which are being provided to older persons via requests from occupational therapists or the Care and repair service. Through the Local Community Development Committee Enchancment Fund, Be Kind has secured two new vans and these are used for deliveries and collections. Five Tús workers ensure that the project is kept running, as well as by Carlow development partnership staff and volunteers.

This project encourages the reuse and repurposing of items and the standard of donations to date have been excellent.

 Cathaoirleach of Carlow Co Council Fintan Phelan recently visited Perry’s to see the operation.

I am delighted to be here to see first-hand the great work that is happening through the Be Kind project.  It is a great model of what we can achieve when we all come together and work together for a common aim.”

Be Kind does not work like a charity shop, but it does link in with them. Charity shops have donated items they cannot sell and, likewise, Be Kind donates items they have a large number of or no longer have demand for them. The project is not open to the public, nor does it provide items for sale and has no impact on other charities’ raising funds. 

It is run on a not-for-profit model and may need to fundraise in the future. The building is open for donations from Monday to Friday, 10.30am to 1pm, and on Saturdays from 11am to 1pm. Collection of large items or where someone does not have transport can be arranged by calling Fergal on 089 2721457. For more information, there is also a Facebook Be Kind page.

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