An innovative pilot project aimed at creating jobs while also raising vital funds for a locally based women's organisation has opened its doors in Longford town.
Willow Traders-New To You recently became the latest addition to Longford's commerficial marketplace by offering a large selection of quality furniture, clothing and much more.
Fronted by its manager Siobhan Carlos Cox, the venture was set up with two main objectives in mind.
“We have two missions that we want to achieve,” said Siobhan.
“One is to generate funds for Longford Womens Link (LWL) to reinstate some of the programmes that have been taken away and pared back and the other is to create employment.”
Located at Longford's Townspark Industrial Estate and opposite SuperValu the store, according to Siobhan, is much more than your usual l charity shop.
“It's a social enterprise and a pilot project,” enthused Siobhan.
With a background in art and design as well as entrepreneurship, Siobhan is hoping her skill set will ensure Willow Traders-Newto you gets off to a sound start.
Those aspirations are buoyed by the fact the premises already has two part time staff as well as six volunteers working alongside Siobhan.
Much of its emphasis is based on repurposing or “upcycling” second hand furniture and other small household items.
There is also a strong focus on arts and crafts with Siobhan and her team especially keen to hear from people who may be interested in getting involved in the project.
“What we want is people to come in and browse, seeing what kind of shop the public want and pushing the boundaries a little bit.
“We are very open to ideas and though people would intitally have to come in on a voluntary basis, we do intend to employ,” she said.
Anyone interested in getting in touch and/or donating books, CDs, small furniture, bric-a-brac and clothing can contact the store at (085) 2521701. Opening hours are 11:00am - 5:00pm every Wednesday and Thursday; Friday 11am to 6.00pm and 11:00am to 5.30 pm Saturdays.