Laois Gift Cards for children in Direct Provision

Laois Gift Cards for children in Direct Provision

“One of the marvelous things about community is that it enables us to welcome and help people in a way we couldn’t as individuals.” – Jean Vanier

Laois Integration Network (LIN) was established in February 2016, initially under the auspices of Doras Luimní Syrian Resettlement Project and since June 2016 as a separate entity comprising of local voluntary, community and statutory organisations as well as individuals from Irish and migrant and diverse faith communities throughout Laois. LIN is intended to be an interagency and collective approach which promotes integration, celebrates diversity and which challenges racism and discrimination in all forms. Its core objectives are as follows:

  • A more integrated and balanced society throughout Laois whereby migrants, asylum seekers and refugees feel equal and valued members of the local community and have equal access to local mainstream services including training and education, voluntary, employment and youth services.
  • To break down barriers, misconceptions and misunderstandings of different cultures.

Each year LIN host a Christmas Party for Children living in Direct Provision as well as other migrant and the local community, but this year it is not possible due to Covid-19.

Presentation of Laois Gift Cards for children in Direct Provision. On left Karen McHugh Co-Chairperson of Laois Integration Network and Bernie Everard CEO Laois Chamber of Commerce

What happens at the local level is critical to successful integration and brings about lasting change. This year, due to Covid-19, we (Laois Integration Network (LIN)), were unable to host our Annual Christmas Party for children in Direct Provision as well as other migrant and the local community. We know local businesses have had a very challenging year so we wanted to support them and do our bit so we made a decision to purchase a Laois Gift Card for each of the children in Direct Provision. This donation was made possible with the support of The Department of Justice & Equality Integration funds); Cluid Housing and a further generous donation via the St. Stephens Green Trust from a private family fund, the Lakeside Fund.

We want to thank all the funders this year –  we know a Gift Card will not replace meeting Santa in person but we hope it will bring a bit of happiness to children and families in Direct Provision at this difficult time. We hope we will have a bigger and better Christmas party in 2021!

We also want to thank one local resident Caroline Griffin, who wanted to reach out to children in Direct Provision and set up a Go Fund Me Page to purchase selection boxes for  each child in Direct Provision in Co. Laois. This is such a lovely gesture of kindness to ensure that each child in our County is included and welcomed during these difficult time. 

Presentation of Laois Gift Cards for children in Direct Provision.

“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much” Helen Keller

The following are the current members of LIN (detailed list available from current Secretary/Chair):

Laois County Council DorasLaois Partnership Laois & Offaly ETBClúid Housing Association Rahman House – Portlaoise MosqueLaois Youth Work Laois Library Service Laois Sports Partnership HSELaois Africa Support Group    Voice of Migrants Ireland (VOMI)Portlaoise Syrian Community repComhaltas Portlaoise Branch Laois Lithuanian Community repLaois Polish Community repPresentation Sisters repThe Mens Shed Members from Rathdowney/Mountmellick communities Other individuals from local diverse communities with an interest in Integration  

LIN Office Holders for 2019 are as follows: 

  • Rosey Kunene and Karen Mc Hugh – Joint Chairs
  • Salena Gace and Julie Scully – Joint Secretaries
  • Ruta Maciuliene and Kasjana Jatkowska – Joint Treasurers
  • PRO Duties to be undertaken by the Chairpersons.

For further information please contact

Rosey Kunene or Karen McHugh by email at or by phone on 087 977 5080

Twitter: @LaoisNetwork