A voluntary organisation which runs workshops and programmes on confidence building, leadership skills, personal growth, and organisational development in the city is spearheading a fundraising drive to support its work.
Pernet was set up by Sr Imelda O’Sullivan of the Little Sisters of the Assumption in Galway to further their mission to empower and support people in the community.
It is running a raffle on September 24 to raise vital funds for its projects which take place throughout the year. Clareman Ray Walsh who is a friend of Sr Imelda and an award winning chair maker, has gifted one of his handcrafted American comb back Windsor armchairs, which is worth €1,000, for the draw. Second prize is a set of vintage Court China 4758. Tickets are priced at €20 and are available from Imelda at (086 ) 6098887 or Helen at (086 ) 8240691.
Mr Walsh says that chair making in the traditional style interests him most. "I usually source my own timber, working from the raw log to the finished chair. However, I use imported American timbers namely, tulip wood, maple, beech and white oak in the making of the American comb back Windsor chair. I try to make each chair better than the last and I hope they will survive many years into the future."
Windsor chairs can be traced back to the Cotswolds in England around the 1700s. Historically, there have been several variations in the form, some are high backed, others quite low.
The Little Sisters of the Assumption, founded by Etienne Pernet, came to Galway in 1971 and lived in Sea Road. Their mission was to provide home care for the elderly, to address the housing requirements of Travellers and to work with the youth of the city.
Sr Bridget was well known for her work addressing the housing needs of Travellers, which led to the establishment of a Little Sisters' house in Bohermore, which was given to them by the Galway City Council. This allowed the Little Sisters to live as members of the community in which they served.
The Fairgreen training centre was established by Sister Bridget in 1976 to provide education to Traveller girls. The centre produced flags and banners and in 1984 produced banners for the Galway Quincentennial year. It subsequently became a thriving business producing flags, banners, bunting, and family crest wall hangings for the west. The business later went into private ownership.
The sisters did house calls on housebound people identified by the social services centre, which was located in Eglinton Street. The sisters provided home care to older people on a voluntary basis. They did house calls 24/7 and brought comfort and much need company to the housebound elderly.
The Little Sisters did not have to go far to engage in their youth work, they joined the existing Sea Road girls club at the Columbian Hall. They broadened the girls' horizons by bringing them hostelling in Connemara, promoting healthy living through cookery classes and participating in sport. Other activities included lectures on life skills, such as parenting.
As time passed the number of sisters decreased while their work grew and diversified in line with the population and social changes that Ireland experienced since the 1970s. To meet this dual challenge the sisters founded Pernet Lay Associates Networking Together and Bohermore Community Project to carry on their projects.
The Pernet structure was designed by Sr Imelda, her sister Jacinta, and nephew Daniel and consists of volunteers in 10 working groups represented by 10 trees. Each one encapsulates the aims and ethos of the group.
These bodies offer community development workshops (training for transformation ) on leadership skills which include personal growth, group skills, social analysis, and organisational development. Other workshops include parenting, coping with grief and loss, art and music therapy, and dreams
All programmes are paid for by the funds raised by Pernet. Applications are made to bodies such as the Department of Justice for projects that focus on migrant integration. For further information contact Imelda at (086 ) 6098887.