Business owner Derrick Amrein, Minister of State Niall Collins and Mark O’Brien, English teacher at the hub at Chisel and Oak PIC: Olena Oleksienko
Business owner Derrick Amrein, Minister of State Niall Collins and Mark O’Brien, English teacher at the hub at Chisel and Oak
MORE than 200 members of Limerick’s local Ukrainian community are using a special hub set up at a city business, on a daily basis.
Chisel and Oak’s founder Derrick Amrein normally focuses on upcycled furniture through his business in O’Curry Street.
Through this social enterprise, he gives employment to people from marginalised communities across Limerick, and also offers youth training.
Now he has extended his reach to Limerick’s newest residents – the refugees displaced from their homeland of Ukraine following Russian president Vladimir Putin’s invasion of the neighbouring territory.
Chisel and Oak provides a spot where they can meet, socialise and discuss issues in a safe environment.
Derrick is being helped out in providing this support by the Limerick Youth Service bakery, whose staff provide Ukrainian bread and scones on a daily basis.
A free shop is in place providing clothing, nappies, toiletries and food free of charge.
While Derrick is providing the facility, it’s currently being managed by two Ukrainian nationals who speak fluent English and co-ordinate the needs of the visitors.
Last week, the Minister of State for Skills and Further Education Niall Collins paid a visit to the facility.
The Limerick TD was full of praise for the work being done at the centre.
He said: “This is a great initiative. Derrick is a great ambassador for the city. He and his staff are doing great work there, and it once again shows the level of kindness and empathy that exists among the people of Limerick.”
Derrick is providing free bicycle transport to some of the Ukrainian refugees.
And on top of practical support, emotional and physical help is being given through the Community, Health and Educate Ireland team led by Edel Ryan.
However, the businessman said there is a need for more supports for the centre to continue to cover the spiraling cost of insurance, light and heat.
“I have to date carried these costs myself not for altruistic reasons but because the need has just been there,” said Derrick, “The only support we have received to date has been from the Limerick Youth Service Centre and from Fr Seamus Enright of the Redemptorists who has kindly contributed €850 towards public liability insurance.”
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