Laois disability centre threw open its doors for Christmas day to help needy families
Over forty parents and children in need from Laois enjoyed a Christmas dinner together at the No Limits centre in Portlaoise, complete with Santa and gifts.
The centre which provides activities and courses for children of all abilities, in Kea Lew park, had closed for the Christmas holidays, but managers Nicola Coss and Darren Bayliss wanted to help others in need.
Their initial plan was to offer accommodation to homeless Laois families over the Christmas weekend.
However that offer was not taken up on by local charities, so instead they held a private Christmas party for families in need, with the food provided by local supermarkets and restaurants.
Hampers were also distributed to families, thanks to donations that flooded in from local people.
In a social media post, Mr Bayliss announced the Christmas day event with just days to go on the No Limits facebook page.
“We're delighted after what's been an extremely frustrating week to have finally confirmed 40+ parents and children for our private event on Christmas Day,” he said, accepting offers by people to help and donate items.
“On behalf of myself and Nicola many thanks to everyone for the support, we honestly couldn't even contemplate it without it,” he said.
The day was a great success, according to Ms Coss afterwards.
“What a brilliant Christmas Party done and dusted, very happy parents and children all departed with present and food parcels. Many thanks to everyone for the kind donations and the help on the day,” she said.
Before the event, she had explained why they were offering their premises to Laois homeless families.
“Being a mother myself, I couldn’t imagine not having a roof over my head, or not being able to give my kids a Christmas, we hope to accommodate as many as we can,” she said.
“It’s fully heated, it’s a cosy family premises, why not give them somewhere, so they’ll get a Christmas,” she said.
There is no homeless hostel in Laois, with instead a public hostel, hotels and B&Bs used by Laois County Council for emergency accommodation.