A novel and innovative partnership between Kepak Athleague and Roscommon Women’s Network (RWN) is putting sustainability at the heart of corporate gifting this Christmas.

Kepak Athleague has commissioned RWN to produce original and sustainable corporate Christmas gifts for the company.

The gifts are produced through RWN’s CycleUp programme. This initiative trains individuals and groups in the repair and reuse of textiles to produce upcycled items for sale.

The programme also educates and empowers women by providing them with the skills to potentially generate additional income.


Kepak Athleague purchasing manager Lorna Kennedy said this is the second year of the tie-up between the meat processor and RWN.

This year’s gifts will include Christmas wreaths and decorations made from upcycled textiles.

“Following on from last year’s successful collaboration, we are delighted to once again partner with Roscommon Women’s Network as part of Kepak Athleague’s annual Christmas gifting initiative for 2022,” Kennedy said.

“The partnership is aligned with our values here at Kepak and it is important for us to support local projects like this,” she added.

“These are gifts with a difference and the quality and skill associated with the gifts made by RWN is wonderful,” Kennedy explained.

RWN is an initiative to support women and their families throughout Roscommon.

Tutors train volunteers at the Roscommon Women's Network in a range of sewing, mending and design skills as part of their CycleUp programme. Pictured are (from left) Margaret Browning and Mary Glennon.

Founded in 1997, it is estimated that around 800 women use its drop-in facilities and services each year.

RWN’s move into producing and selling gifts and souvenirs flowed from a prior decision by the group to open a charity clothes shop in order to generate funds.

Despite the great success of the charity shop, RWN volunteers felt that too many garments went unused and the idea for upcycling the textiles was born.

“Not only does CycleUp help women to participate in environmental protection, it also provides skills training which women can use to gain flexible paid employment,” explained RWN's CycleUp co-ordinator Martina Hourigan.

“From one another and from master trainers, CycleUp women learn sewing and mending skills that they can take with them throughout their lives,” Hourigan said.

Indeed, RWN aims to be in a position next year to offer flexible work to some of the trainees from the CycleUp programme.