Some €3,500 was raised at this year’s annual Christmas Craft Fair at the Cork Life Centre, and every penny went to the centre’s students.
It was the first indoors craft fair since Covid, and on a freezing cold night, the centre was toasty and warm, and packed to the rafters.
The Cork Life Centre is a volunteer-led alternative education centre, located on Winter’s Hill, in Sunday’s Well, on Cork’s northside.
Every year the Life Centre offers one-to-one tuition, up to Leaving Certificate, to students who, for one reason or another, have not thrived in the mainstream education system.
In the lead-up to Christmas, the annual craft fair brings family and friends to Winter’s Hill to buy items made by the students and to celebrate the Life Centre family.
Shaunagh Rawley, who is the maths teacher in the centre, was running one of the stalls on the night, selling crocheted blankets and bags, and Life Centre mugs.
“The mugs have been selling really well, we had two types, one just with the Life Centre’s red door on them, and the other saying ‘Happy Christmas from the Life Centre’, and the red door ones sold out really quickly, and the others are flying too,” she said.
In the front room, an hour after the craft fair had begun, the tables were almost bare. Teachers Adam Conlan, Robert Lee and Frida Kearney-Grive said they had had a hectic time, but it was all for a good cause.
“As you can see, we’re all sold out, and the best thing it’s all going to go back to the students,” Mr Conlan said.
The centre’s deputy director, Rachel Lucey, said it had been the first indoor craft fair in three years.
“The atmosphere outside was lovely the last few years, but it was magical indoors tonight. There was a lot of fun tonight, especially at the auction. Every painting sold, every craft item sold,” Ms Lucey said.
“It’s lovely for the students to see their hard work pay off, but also the getting together is just brilliant, it’s just a gorgeous night.” Don O’Leary, the Life Centre’s director, said it had been a special night for the centre’s extended family.
“It’s been fabulous to see a number of ex-pupils, parents, friends, it’s always a great night, and all of the money goes to the young people,” he said.