Small Fish, Big Heart

Having received the warmest of welcomes when he arrived in Galway from France, Sébastien Locteau was keen to return the warmth in at least one of the ways he could. By jumping into the cold green sea!

Small Human Fish, Large Heart

“A human in the open ocean, is like a small fish”, he says.

Not one for holding back at getting crazy things done, Sébastien has run marathons, partaken in triathlons, and an odd swim or two – some of them very odd! But nothing like his latest target, swimming the Wild Atlantic bay that rocks and rolls between Clare and Salthill. Not just for the kudos, though, Sébastien has those who have suffered even more than a long cold swim in mind, those who are on a tough mudder of a journey through the foul weather of cancer.

Having had serious health issues himself, he was lucky enough to have a doctor who knew the need to run, and who said to Sébastien, I know that “you can’t” won’t work for you. Now back on his feet, Sébastien will do whatever he can for those who today cannot, in the hope that one day they can.

On Saturday 22nd July, Sébastien will tackle the Galway Bay Swim, to raise funds for Cancer Care West

Your support, no matter how small will be deeply appreciated. And if you are around Salthill on Saturday, come along and cheer them home to shore.

Posted in Challenge, Community | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Crisis Response Volunteers

CCRTTlogoThe Community Crisis Response Team are on call from 5pm to 6am each day, every day. They respond to those in mental distress who make contact directly, or when alerted by a concerned passer-by, a friend or family member.


Team members have appropriate training, and also carry out patrols, and community awareness outreach. Operating for some time now in the Limerick area, the organization wishes to make its wonderful service available nationwide and is calling for volunteers. Can you help?

Contact                    Twitter                  Facebook



Posted in Challenge, Community | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Heart and Sole


Man’s got Soul!

Eamonn Keaveney is currently walking around Ireland to raise funds for Pieta House. Fair play to him you’ll say…you might say a bit more when you hear he’s taking this very long stroll, barefoot! And then you might have a gasp or two when you see the cut of his feet. His sister, Maureen, one of his many supporters shares a few thoughts…

When Eamonn first came up with the idea, most of us didn’t believe him and here he is on day 94 of his epic journey. He is walking just over 2,000km around Ireland in his bare feet – for two reasons. He’d read about the longest barefoot journey in the Guinness Book of Records and he thought to himself “I’m going to break that”.

A good friend of his died by suicide and this made him decide to fundraise for Pieta House, and help raise awareness of suicide and self-harm along the way. With little preparation, no diet plans or support team, except for his family at home, he packed a tent and other essential items in a rucksack.

IMG_20160506_211146He’s been extremely fortunate as he has only had to camp three times so far. Many followers and businesses kindly offered him a place to stay along the way. People have literally spent hours driving around looking for him, bringing him picnics, ice creams or snacks and love to stop and have a chat with him. People are curious when they see him on the road and offer him lifts or shoes!


Measure a journey not in miles but in friends made on the way

He’s received so many lovely messages of support, thanks, and encouragement on a daily basis and is overwhelmed by the kindness of strangers.  

We are thrilled that so far, as well as avoiding major accident or injury during his walk, Eamonn’s donation link has raised over €16,000, far beyond the €1,000 euro target our humble brother originally set. He is so down to earth, a very relaxed fellow. Nothing is ever too much trouble. He has stayed up many nights, talking to supporters even though he has been ready to collapse from exhaustion after a long days walk, but he never complains. He has undertaken such a selfless act in trying to help others. He’s an inspiration and we are so very proud of him.

We expect Eamonn to complete his journey and arrive home in Claremorris to a hero’s welcome on August 12th. I’m sure he will have many amazing stories to tell. Hopefully, he will make it into The Guinness World Book of records as he broke the record on July 13th. It would be lovely to get him a copy at Christmas. He has had the pleasure of seeing our beautiful country, meeting some of the nicest people and in turn leaving footprints in their hearts.IMG_20160709_140449

We wish him well on the last legs of his journey…if you catch sight of him, remember to offer him encouragement or snacks, but please no shoes!

Donate here

Tweet all about him  @baringmysoles


Posted in Challenge, Community | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Positivity Guaranteed

Three days of workshops, uplifting speakers, resources and fun activities for the young and those who offer them care and guidance in October @ the RDS in Dublin.


Zeminar will bring all those focused on the development and well-being of young people in Ireland to one place. Those aged between 15 and 19, their parents, teachers, mentors and coaches will learn and enjoy in a variety of ways hooking up with some of the best and most innovative organisations on this island.

Attendees will leave the event with new knowledge to help them live happier, safer, and more fulfilling lives.


Speakers taking to the main stage include: Bressie, Peter McVerry; The Parents of Donal Walsh; Mark Little of Storyful; Jamie Heaslip; David Gillick; Maria Walsh/Former Rose of Tralee; Dr. Rhona Mahony/Master of Holles St.; Dermot Whelan/Today FM; Senator Lynn Ruane; Ian Power/Spunout; Doug Leddin – to name but a few.







Posted in Community, Fun, Innovation | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Gardening Communities

Social community gardening has been growing in popularity over recent years for many reasons but if you haven’t discovered this enjoyable way to spend a couple of hours outdoors, you might be wondering what these kind of gardens are, and who gets involved…

People around a table in a sunny garden

Hot tips

Community gardens are places where people of all ages and experiences come together in an outdoors setting to share the work and share the harvest. This makes them ideal places to make the most of your strengths. If you have a bad back, someone else does the digging, if you love weeding, someone else will hate it! Then when it’s time to share the food grown, recipes are swapped, new vegetables tried and tasty meals shared.

There are no two community gardens alike but they have lots in common. They are usually inter-generational, socially inclusive, cross all socio-economic barriers. Above all, they are places where people talk about, grow, care for and share food, and maybe more besides, shoulder to shoulder. If you ask people what they enjoy most about being in a community garden, you’d be hard pushed to split them between loving the social aspects or just being outside and working with nature.

two gents laughing one holding a spade

So that’s how you hold a spade!

There are lots of reasons you might enjoy being in a local community garden, and usually you only have to be there for a couple of hours each week to experience them.

If you don’t have a garden or any idea how to garden, you’ll be welcomed. You might have a large garden that’s unmanageable, live alone and don’t have the energy to garden on your own; in a community garden you’ll meet people who enjoy sharing the workload and the company. You might want to meet new people and grow new friendships. In a community garden you’ll find like-minded people who care about food and nature. There’s a range of experience in a community garden, from none at all to years and years of greening fingers. You’ll always go home having learnt something new about food, the environment, gardening and of course humans.

ladies potting up

Linking up with local Education Training Boards, community gardens often run free, fun or accredited training courses that might include beginners gardening, preserving, cooking skills, recycling, composting stonewalling or landscaping. Trips to other gardens (on invite), talks or events often take place too.

2 lads in among flowers and plants

Sweet peas and guests

Are your green fingers getting twitchy? The Community Garden Network (CGN) is a voluntary organisation that supports community gardening in Ireland and Northern Ireland. They’ve started to map all the gardens on their website so if you’re looking for a garden close to you, take a look there first. Alternatively why not start one up? The CGN offer advice and virtual support and meet two or three times every year in different counties around the island.

For more information or Facebook

We are grateful to Dee Sewell for this Post. Dee is owner of Greenside Up, a social enterprise in Carlow where she works as a community garden tutor and volunteers with a new 2 acre Carlow community garden. Dee is one of the founding members and a coordinator of the Community Garden Network  set up in 2011 to offer support to community gardens in Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Posted in Community | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Haring Around Town

Hare wearing colourful sunglasses

If you look him in the eye long enough, he’ll wink!

Every year the Jack and Jill lot do something a bit hair brained to promote awareness of their cause, and of course raise a few bob. Their antics usually raise a few eyebrows, and lots of smiles and laughter. This year is no different. A hare treasure trail around Dublin to find amazingly beautiful works of hare-inspired Art. Each one worth at least a viewing, or maybe more. You or your organisation can adopt one of these artistic treasures. Others are currently up for auction, and of course all proceeds go to providing care to very ill kids. According to the Jack and Jillers:

Through ‘Hares on the March’ we intend to keep people of all ages entertained whilst they walk around Dublin city centre finding, appreciating and enjoying the wonderful pieces of art that have been created by our superbly talented artists from all over Ireland and the UK.

Sandra Schone is one of the incredible artists who created these marvellous hares, and she shares some of her thoughts on this inspiring experience:

They had me at Alice in Wonderland! Two Teaspoons of Wishful Thinking

When I read the project brief, I knew it was for me! Being an aspiring illustrator with a quirky style, a lot of imagination and a supporter of any good cause, I knew I wanted to be part of this artsy fundraising initiative organised by the Jack & Jill Children’s Foundation.

Their “Hares on the March” Campaign 2016, which is a follow on from the success of the Pigs on Parade, The Cow Parade and The Egg Hunt, is a unique art display in the city that will make you stop and look twice.

Sandra feeds the Hare a Carrot

Sandra meets and greets her Hare


I was thrilled when Monsieur Hare, the most unusual “canvas” I have ever worked with, moved in with me in October last year for about four weeks after being selected to become one of the 110 artists for this project. 


Jack and Jill Foundation. Hares on the March.What was my motivation and inspiration behind my “ImagineHareium” (No.88)? When I draw, I lose myself in my own wonderland, a whole new world, a divergent dimension. I forget everything else, nothing else matters and all my worries evaporate. The underlying theme of my life’s work is inspired by the fairy tales of my childhood: the magic in every moment of life, the beauty of nature and enchanting encounters.

Jack and Jill Foundation. Hares on the March.  The Hare is a symbol for many things; madness, genius, elusive, a luck charm, good fortune, protective powers, magical powers, union of opposites, full of mystery and contradiction as well as a royal animal. It is iconic in Irish society, taking pride of place on the coinage over the years. The hare is also associated with the Celtic Dawn Goddess, Easter, the moon, dawn and transformation…and they go mad in March, apparently.

The question I put to the audience is “Can we travel back to our childhood, and re-awaken that sense of wonder we possessed when we were younger and free to imagine whatever we liked?”

Hare Back Side

I want to invite people to discover their inner Alice by following the imagery around the hare, inventing their own story of what they see. For me I think, anything is possible at any age, with any limitation that we may be born with. We should nourish love, trust, friendship, and be true to ourselves, then we can face what we are destined to do in – our reality, our dream, our own wonderland.

“ImagineHareium” #88 is currently residing at the Conrad Hotel, Dublin, opposite The National Concert Hall, from 22 Jan to 29 February.

The other hares can be tracked down at 52 venues around Dublin city. The Hare Trail invites everyone to go on a hunt around town to find the 110 beautiful hares. A map and entry form can be downloaded from the website: There will be a prize draw on 16 March. So go hunting!

Things you can do:

Auction: Take part here: The auction will close Mon, 21 March.

Adopt a Hare: Choose a hare. Put your name, mission & logo on the plinth.  Then put your hare on permanent display in your boardroom, canteen or reception area.

Individual Sponsorship: Choose a hare to be associated with by displaying your name, mission & logo on its plinth for the entire duration of the project. .


The Hare Trail:

Hare Auction:

Jack & Jill:

Sandra’s oeuvre:

Jack and Jill Foundation. Hares on the March.

Jack and Jill Foundation. Hares on the March.

Twitter/ Instagram: @schoenesan


Posted in Challenge, Community, Fun | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Food for Thoughtfulness

Each year the Galway Simon Community give out food hampers to their clients, which is made possible by donations they receive from the public. This year they estimate that they will be giving hampers to over 200 families in Galway.
They are appealing for donations of non-perishable foods including tinned food, pasta, rice, cereal, tea and coffee, soups, treats, as well as hygiene products, and fire packs.
In order to assist with the collection of these donations GoBus Galway are a designated City Centre drop off point. If you would like to donate please stop by the office in Forster Court, open Monday – Sunday from 9am – 6pm. Bring a smile as well!

Posted in Community | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

The Alpha Project

Photo of Nana at The Alpha Project Stand

Nana – Alpha Lady

The Alpha Project is an ethnic minority youth empowerment initiative. The aim is to empower disadvantaged ethnic minority students in Ireland to attain excellence in their careers regardless of their social, economic or educational background.

According to the Central Statistics Office in 2010 only 24% of students from disadvantaged area were admitted into third level institutions. The Alpha Project seeks to ensure that ethnic minorities who find themselves in those circumstance do not become part of this statistic. There is a risk of losing capable people to underachievement due to their social background and The Alpha Project seeks to deal with this problem.

Image showing arrow and text Tours this way

Free Tours

The Alpha Project will hold free experiential tours for secondary school students visiting different types of industries.  At these tours employees from culturally diverse backgrounds will speak to them about the work they do and their career journey. This will hopefully instill confidence in the students so they can come to the realisation and say “if someone like that can attain excellence in their career, so can I”

To summarie the Alpha Project will benefits students, companies and Ireland because tackling these issues will ensure minorities are not liabilities but assets to Ireland.

That’s the Alpha Project! Reach out if you’re interested in any way.


Twitter: @alphaProj

Facebook: The Alpha Project


Posted in Community | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Brave New Mentor

We are delighted to welcome a new mentor to our panel of those who seek to encourage and guide anyone who intends to dive into a new venture.

Christophe Lombardi as Knight

Photo by Johnny Corcoran

Don’t let the pics scare you, Christophe is a man who seeks to help, his Performer’s Backyard vlog proves this point, and we especially like the one about the Set Bag, the message quite simply is be prepared, and a few tips from an experienced head can go a long way…

Born in Paris, Christophe’s first brush with performance was as a boy-alto, aged 8, with the choir “Les Petites Enfants a la Croix Brulee” (The Little Children of the Burnt Cross). Having caught the performance bug, he later formed a Musical Trio with colleagues, while stationed in New Caledonia with the French Army. After the army, Christophe returned to Paris where he attended the prestigious Cours Simon Acting school before striking out to try his hand at many forms of performance, in France, Germany, Senegal, Ireland, Malta & UK.

Christophe Lombardi at candlelit table smoking old pipe

Gafa Sa Tur TG4

After moving to Ireland in 1997 Christophe worked for Il Florilegio circus, then auditioned for and became a member of the Society of Irish Magicians.
Specialising in Acting, Magic and Medieval Combat display, Christophe also studies Astrophysics with the Open University.

For the last five years he has been the owner-operator of Trapdoor Entertainment and has seen the company grow from strength to strength. One highlight was the successful international tour over Christmas 2012, of his self written card based magic show “A La Carte”, working with his fiancée, who designed and managed the show on tour.

2014-15 has been a developmental period for Christophe. After some further education with an incredibly talented tutor in Dublin, Christophe has been focussed on developing new projects for the 2016 season and beyond. With a stage play at the devising stage, Christophe also launched his new initiative, “The Performers’ Backyard”, which aims to work at a grass roots level to support performers of all levels, not only in a professional, but also a personal context. Primarily this work has taken the form of a vlog, but further projects are also being explored. Christophe is also currently involved in his first foray into Musical Theatre, playing as Drake in the Mullingar Musical Society’s forthcoming production of “Annie”, which opens in October.

He lives in County Westmeath, Ireland, with his actor & technician fiancée & her assistance dog, four cats, three chickens and two fish. In his rare moments of down time, he loves to cook and is learning to play the piano.

Vlog Link:


Posted in Community, Mentors Corner | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Sailing Alive

We had World Suicide Prevention day this week, and everyday is a good day to help someone get through a dark cloud.

The boaters and yachters at Clontarf Yacht Club have selected 19th September to show their support for preventing suicide by organizing a Sail Against Suicide day.

Sail Against Suicide Poster 2015

The aim of Events Against Suicide is to draw on the combined goodwill of communities all over the island of Ireland to use their skills and creativity to spread the  message
it’s ok not to feel ok; and it’s absolutely ok to ask for help
The aim is to raise awareness across the 32 counties through a range of local, community-led events.

To do their part the Clontarf Yachters are having a race with lots and lots of orange on the boats, and a marque with music and food for the afternoon – BBQ Burgers and more.

Sail Against Suicide Sign Outside Clontarf Yacht Club Clontarf  Yacht Club

Posted in Challenge, Community, Fun | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment