Community rallies to help unpaid ice staff

January 20, 2014

The generous community of Newry and Mourne has stepped up to the plate over the last week in its’ efforts to raise funds for the unpaid employees of  the disastrous “Newry on Ice – Winter Wonderland” event.

Philip Gaffney’s failed £1.5 million Winter Wonderland fiasco packed up leaving debts of £13k owed to over 30 employees and thousands more owed to rental businesses for marquees and generators. Cullen’s fun fair has put up a £500 reward for information leading to the recovery of a “missing” £7k generator which  has disappeared from the nightly locked Albert Basin site.

Since the swindled employees publicised their plight via their ‘Newry on Ice Unpaid Staff’ Facebook page earlier this month, the entire community has shown its support, with car dealership JC Campbell generating a unique fund for the young staff members.  The Rostrevor company pledged to donate £100 from every vehicle sold this month and has so far raised £1,400 and counting to be put into a special fundraising pot for the ice staff.

A bucket collection also gathered pace last week with members of the community urged to donate as little as £1 to the “big orange buckets” which have appeared in several locations throughout the city and Warrenpoint.

Large buckets can be found on customer service desks in the Buttercrane Centre and Tesco, Newry with smaller buckets in Grounded Espresso Bars, Sticky Fingers Early Years Arts centre, Identity Hair studio and NC Dental Clinic.

In Warrenpoint, there are buckets in The Kabin, The Tuck Shop and Around-A-Pound.

The group are also encouraging people to organise collections in workplaces and  have expressed their heartfelt gratitude to everyone who has donated and to all the businesses which are currently helping their cause.

Meanwhile UKIP Newry and Armagh representative, Wayne Hawthorn has written to the Head of Administration at Newry and Mourne District Council to propose that the council offer the goodwill gesture of an enjoyable activity for the unpaid employees.

“I have suggested that the council take these young people to one of the many attractions in Newry that can offer a fun filled day or evening” he said,

“This was a simple proposal to the council as a gesture to help boost morale after this despicable act.”

He reiterated that the gesture “has to come from the council without liability or blame occurring” and has urged his proposal to be discussed as soon as possible.