HOLLYWOOD star Ruth Negga was in Carlow last week to highlight the good work of a local charity. Ruth officially opened the new extension at APA’s (A Partnership with Africa) Hacketstown store, while also visiting its Carlow town premises on the Hacketstown Road.

APA founder Fr Owen Lambert is a long-time family friend of Ruth and her family.

Fr Lambert, who was born on the Carlow/Wicklow border, was working in Africa when he married Ruth’s mother and father. When Ruth was born, Fr Lambert was one of the first visitors. Ruth is a recent patron for the APA, a charity which carries out development projects in Ethiopia and Tanzania. Ruth was delighted to be in Carlow where she met students from Presentation College, Carlow.

The new extension to APA’s Hacketstown premises will allow the store to sell furniture along with bric-a-brac, clothing and baby items

Ruth also paid a visit to the Carlow town store on the Hacketstown Road, which has been open for five years and offers mainly furniture and bric-a-brac.

Speaking of the visit, Mag Cullen of the APA said: “She was so nice! She had a great time with everybody, especially the students. All around, she is so beautiful, really down to earth.”

The vital work of the APA includes establishing clean water supplies, preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS and advocating for exploited workers and ethnic minorities. The APA’s charity shops allow for used items to be repurposed for a better cause.

“It’s great,” said Mag. “What we get in is what people do not want, and we are able to sell it and make money for people abroad in Ethiopia and Tanzania. With clothing, if we get too much, we supply that to the homeless.”

Even furniture pieces that may not be in stellar condition have been sold to people keen on upcycling. “There is no waste – that’s what I love about it,” said Mag.

The charity shops are closed for the Christmas period and will reopen in early January.

Ruth Negga performs official opening of Carlow charity store