Children’s Charity Barretstown Experiences an Income Shortfall of €1,000,000 in 2020
Barretstown, the children’s charity in Co. Kildare that offers free, specially designed camps and programmes for children and their families living with a serious illness, has issued an emergency spring appeal to the Irish public. Due to the Covid-19 crisis the charity has had to cancel or postpone all of its key fundraising initiatives. These events provide crucial income for Barretstown which relies on the public to provide 98% of the funds that make their work possible. As a result, in 2020 the charity suffered an income shortfall of €1,000,000 but still managed to serve 6,915 children and family members. However, there are still over 10,700 children and family members waiting to be served through Barretstown’s traditional in person programmes and this is why they have launched this appeal.
Speaking about the impact of Covid 19 on Barretstown, Dee Ahearn, CEO of Barretstown, said: “Over the last year or so, the COVID-19 pandemic has affected all our lives in so many ways. For one thing, after all the lockdowns I think we all know what it means to be isolated. For Barretstown families who have a seriously ill child, isolation is nothing new sadly. Many live with it for months or even years at a time, missing out on simple things like school and play dates that most of us take for granted, or at least used to. Then there are the families whose children have been diagnosed over the last year and are undergoing treatment right now. Four families a week have received the devastating news of a childhood cancer diagnosis since COVID-19 began. They are having a really tough time in hospitals with no visitors, no Barretstown Outreach team and no school room, just isolation. Because COVID-19 continues to seriously affect our fundraising activities, put simply, the longer our gates remain closed and the funding gap continues to grow, we will need to help more children and families than ever before with less money to do so. If you can, please donate today and help us to Press Play on childhood via our website www.Barretstown.org ”.
Speaking about her experience over the past few months, Barretstown mum Agnes, said: “When my son Alex and my family went to Barretstown, I remember it was the first time since Alex started treatment that my son really laughed and was a child again. He let go. There was a silliness about him that hadn’t been before that. One thing that really helped him was seeing other children who had lost their hair because of chemo. His hair was just starting to come back at that point and it really helped him to see kids being carefree about it. That's the difference with Barretstown. It is about bringing the child back. There are thousands of families like ours across Ireland who have been through the isolation of lockdown while living with serious illness and who desperately need Barretstown's therapeutic programmes now more than ever.”
For the past year, the charity has been bringing their programmes to life through ‘Barretstown Live’ – an online interactive platform that livestreams the charity’s activities into homes nationwide. The Barretstown team has created a specially designed studio onsite to deliver these programmes. The broadcasts take place every week to families who were due to come to the Barretstown site and to children isolated in hospital.
In 2019, Barretstown served over 9,000 campers affected by serious illness and their families. Members of the public can support Barretstown by visiting: www.Barretstown.org