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Charity’s helping hand for children with cancer

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The country’s first support centre for families across the country with children who have been diagnosed with cancer will be opened in Oranmore by a charity which provides practical assistance as they go through treatment.

The Hand in Hand charity has been an invaluable source of assistance to distraught families since it was set up by in 2006 by a Claregalway mum whose two-and-a-half year old daughter Caitlin was diagnosed with cancer.

Karen Doherty aided by a small group of friends and neighbours set up Hand In Hand to help others going through the same ordeal as they travel up and down to Dublin for medical treatment and try to keep the household together for other siblings left behind.

The charity pays for laundry to be done at a local launderette, organises for meals to be delivered, homes to be cleaned and arranges garda-vetted childcare for the other children in the home. Other practical help organised by the group includes before and after school pick-ups.

Initially a service offered to families in the six counties of the west coast, from Donegal to Limerick, it has now been spread to 15 counties and has so far helped out 80 families. The average length of treatment for a child with cancer is two-and-a-half years; children with cancer are also more prone to relapses than adults.

Judith Sibley, mother of Lily-Mae Morrisson who is currently undergoing a clinical trial for Neuroblastoma in America, said the services that Hand in Hand delivered to her family were far from a luxury.

She pointed out that children undergoing chemotherapy could get ill four or five times a night which created a massive amount of laundry. Keeping the house and bed linen clean was extremely important as these children were at high risk of developing infections.

“They’re a necessity. Being able to send duvets to a dry cleaning service was vital,” she explained.

“Hand in hand offers time with your child, nobody wants to waste time cleaning the house when the children are there, time is immeasurable, nobody wants to waste time they could have playing with their child.”

Opening the support centre is the next step in the development of the charity after the volunteer directors spotted a gap in services available to families.

“We will be holding coffee mornings, providing emotional support sessions for families whose children are newly diagnosed, support for siblings. There’s nothing like it in the country. It’s really for families to call in and reach out to other people in a similar situation.”

The charity is totally dependent on donations from the public and this year hopes to raise at least €140,000 to keep the same level of services in place. There is one full-time worker and another on a work placement with the service reliant on mainly third-party fundraising.

“Ideally we’d like every family in the country to avail of the service but it’s only in the last twelve months we’ve grown from six counties to 15. We’ve really pushed it out. We’re always dangerously close to the breadline as we’re so reliant on fundraising and have to pay service providers and staff a very modest salary.”

The new support centre will be opened next Monday (February 16) on Oranmore’s Main Street by RTE broadcaster Ryan Tubridy.

Connacht Tribune

Supply chain challenges in retail

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SPONSORED CONTENT  – EZ LIVING FURNITURE

There has been a huge demand for consumer products in 2020 and 2021. Covid-19 has resulted in people spending more time at home than ever before. Lockdown especially saw all non-essential workers previously confined to their homes. Investing in goods such as clothing, electronics and furniture was one of the few ways that people could spend their discretionary income from the comfort of their own homes. However, this major spike in consumer purchasing is only one of many challenges that the retail industry is currently facing.

Every retailer and consumer across the globe is being affected by rising costs and frustrating delivery delays and this, unfortunately, includes  EZ Living Furniture. As Ireland’s most loved and well-known furniture retailer, we wanted to help our customers understand the issues the entire retail industry is currently facing and will continue to face for some time by outlining the order fulfilment process to you.

Supply Chain explained

March 2020:

Many suppliers (including EZ Living Furniture) source their products from overseas. When Covid-19 first struck in the Far East in March 2020, illness and a lessened workforce lead to a dramatic decrease in production. When those countries entered lockdown, supply stopped coming from the Far East entirely.

April 2020:

When these countries began to recover and started to exit lockdown, Europe, unfortunately, went into lockdown. Because we were unable to sell stock to the same capacity, we stopped ordering from these countries.

June 2020:

Customers began ordering products again, but only online as all of the physical stores in Europe were closed. It took us, and many other European businesses a number of weeks to come to terms with the new working from home arrangements and the redirection of resources towards the increase in online sales that occurred subsequently.

November 2020:

Product manufacturers and raw material manufacturers in Europe were still closed due to the pandemic. This meant materials and products were not being produced in Europe at all.

This caused major issues with supply and production. For instance, foam is one of many materials used to make mattresses, dining chairs, and sofas. When this is in short supply, so too is the furniture that uses foam.

Hospitals around the globe began ordering thousands of containers of PPE. With no warehouses to store these essential healthcare items, they remained in the containers at ports. This lead to congestions at ports and a shortage of shipping containers worldwide.

Shipping ports closed due to the outbreak of Covid-19 in ports.

March 2021:

The Suez Canal was blocked by a container vessel for six days. This put further strain on supply chains that were already burdened by the coronavirus pandemic.

October 2021:

We are still continuing to suffer from the lack of containers. This is causing a rise in transportation and raw material costs. Deliveries to customers are also now taking longer than usual.

What are we doing to resolve this?

Stores like us are working even harder to ensure that customers receive the same products in the same time frame and at the same price-point that was in place before the pandemic. Any solution to this supply chain problem is not perfect. Prioritising faster delivery will inevitably lead to higher costs while focusing on lowering product prices will inevitably delay delivery times.

Alternatives and long-term solutions are being explored such as supply chains in eastern Europe. However, this is a time-consuming process primarily due to quality control and logistics.

What you need to know

Already this year, we have had to increase our stock levels to try to compensate for any future delivery delays. Until now, we have been absorbing the increases in transportation costs and raw materials in order to continue to offer our customers such a wide range of furnishings.

Unfortunately, due to the prolonged nature of the pandemic, stock is going to be limited, especially during certain holiday periods. Prices may also have to be increased again in the future with smaller companies likely to be affected to an even greater degree. We want to be completely transparent with our customers and make you all aware that our promotions listed below may be the last chance for you all to purchase EZ Living Furniture items at such low prices.

So, don’t wait to buy that EZ Living Furniture Item you have been eyeing and prioritise our in-stock items. The products available in all retail stores now could sell out and take a long time to return to stock. Shipping delay issues could also mean you are waiting months to receive your items.

Although we are uncertain as to how long these global supply-chain issues will last, we aim to keep you updated at all times. We appreciate your patience during these unprecedented times.

For any queries regarding your order, please contact our Customer Service team by phone, email or live chat:

Monday – Friday 9:30am – 5:00pm

Phone: 0818 222 272

Customer Service Email: customerservice@ezliving.ie

Website Enquiries Email: websales@ezlivingfurniture.ie

SPONSORED CONTENT  – EZ LIVING FURNITURE

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Connacht Tribune

A Moycullen win would add badly needed spice to football’s big day

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Conor Reddington of Annaghdown and Tuam Stars' Adam Carton in action during the North Board Minor B football final at Tuam Stadium on Saturday. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Inside Track with John McIntyre

BEFORE a ball was kicked in this year’s Galway senior championship, the smart money would have been on champions Corofin, Tuam Stars, Salthill/Knocknacarra and Mountbellew/Moylough making it to the semi-finals if they managed to keep out of each other’s way on the road to the penultimate stage off the title race.

Unfortunately, for a Salthill team which, in any event, didn’t scale their expected heights this year, they came up against the champions in the quarter-finals where the Seasiders’ challenge was dismissed in convincing fashion. It was business as usual for Corofin who remain odds on to claim a record-breaking eighth consecutive title.

With Tuam Stars edging out Bearna after extra-time, a Paul Kelly goal helping Moycullen get the better of St James’, and Mountbellew/Moylough powering home against 14-man Killannin, it means that three of last year’s semi-finalists are back seeking a place in the Galway decider this weekend. Mountbellew/Moylough are the odd ones out having fallen to Corofin in the 2019 quarter-finals.

Val Daly’s troops will need the performance of the lives to overturn club’s football’s dominant power, especially as they continue to field without county player John Daly – a son of their manager. Of course, they are not without a chance and if the likes of Michael Daly, Matthew Barrett, Eoin Finnerty, Eoin Ryan and Barry McHugh hit the ground running, they could give Corofin a searching time.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Greens see red on gold rush

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Opposition is intensifying to the prospect of a licence being awarded to Canadian gold prospectors planning to explore the heart of Connemara.

Environmental campaigners have warned of the dangers of awarding a prospecting licence to Toronto-based MOAG to mine for gold and silver in land around Roundstone, Ballyconneely and Ballynahinch.

They claim the exploration could devastate water supplies, tourism, wildlife – and also led to tensions in the local community.

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Richard Bruton has indicated he intends to grant a prospecting licence to the company to explore for the valuable minerals in townlands in Ballynahinch Barony.

The licence allows the holder to explore for mineral deposits, and does not authorise mining of any materials that are found – that requires further licensing.

And Minister Bruton’s Department insists that the activities permitted under this licence are “non-invasive” and “of minimal environmental impact”.

However, campaigners have warned of the dangers mining can have on Connemara, and have urged the public to object before July 6.

See full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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