Charity hit by massive €500,000 funding shortfall re-opens its charity boutique in Portlaoise

Greg Mulhall

Reporter:

Greg Mulhall

Email:

greg.mulhall@leinsterexpress.ie

Charity hit by massive €500,000 funding shortfall re-opens its charity boutique in Portlaoise

The Jack and Jill Children’s Foundation today re-opened its charity boutique in Portlaoise to members of the public after months in lockdown.

The store, which is based at the Kea-Lew Business & Retail Park, Mountrath Road, had been closed due to the Government public health restrictions put in place to combat Covid-19.

The retail restrictions have now been eased and the store is once again open for business, selling ladies, gents and children’s clothing, as well as handbags, shoes, bric-a-brac and furniture.

Due to the closure of its nine shops around the country since March 16, and the cancellation of a raft of fundraising events, the Foundation is facing a massive €500,000 funding shortfall this year.

However, now the Jack and Jill Children’s Foundation is hoping that members of the public will continue to be as supportive as they have always been, confident of the range of new measures put in place to ensure their in-store comfort and safety. The new Portlaoise store opening hours are Monday to Saturday, from 10.30am to 5pm each day, with the first hour of trading until 11.30am prioritised for older persons and the vulnerable.

Staff at the store have been busy in recent days taking delivery of container-loads of brand-new products kindly donated by high street retailers so shoppers will no doubt be thrilled to browse the very latest fashions and accessories.

Maggie Coleman, Manager of the Jack and Jill store in Portlaoise, is delighted to get back behind the counter, even if it is behind a Perspex screen.

“We have been working hard in the build-up to this week to have everything in place to ensure a safe, comfortable and welcoming shopping environment for our wonderful customers,” she said.

“People will immediately notice changes from when they may have visited previously. We will be limiting the number of shoppers in store at any one time. We will have new social distancing and directional signage, along with Perspex screens at our counters and hand sanitiser for customers’ use. Our changing rooms will be closed but, of course, we can facilitate the return of any items purchased as per our usual sales policy.


“We have invested in new steamers so people can be assured that every garment will have been thoroughly steam-cleaned and disinfected before being put on display. We have new card payment facilities in place too so that there is no need to worry about handling cash.


“So, knowing that they can expect a safe shopping environment, customers should also know that they can look forward to an exciting shopping experience too. With lots of brand-new arrivals in store, including fashion brands such as Vera Wang, Radley, Bulaggi, Heidi Higgins, Nine West, Mulberry and Dolce & Gabbana, there really has never been a better time to visit.

“Not only are shoppers likely to snap up a bargain, they will also be making a really valuable difference to Jack and Jill’s work providing home nursing and end-of-life support to children with highly complex and life-threatening conditions. Never has our work been more vital. Never has the support of the public been more needed.”

SOS Appeal

Today Jack and Jill supports 340 families across the island of Ireland, including 6 families in Laois. Over 2,400 families have been supported by the Foundation since it was established in 1997.

If you can’t wait to go shopping but want to show your support to the Jack & Jill SOS Appeal now, you can make a donation by visiting www.jackandjill.ie and for every €16 donated a local family will receive one hour of home nursing support Texting WECARE to 50300 to donate €4. (Jack & Jill will receive a minimum of €3.60. Service Provider: LIKECHARITY. Helpline: 076 6805278.)