Saturday 17 March 2018

Children's cancer charity receives surge in donations after closure fears

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Caroline Crawford

Caroline Crawford

A CHILDREN’S Cancer charity which warned it faced closure at the end of the month has received over €9,000 in pledges within 24 hours.

Hand in Hand, which has been running for the past decade without any State funding, announced on Monday that serious financial issues could force it to close it’s doors.

The news was met with an outpouring of support from across the country, with the charity receiving almost €9,000 in pledged donations by yesterday morning.

One Galway businessman pledged €4,800 to cover the rent on the charity’s premises for the year while an Irishman living in the UK pledged €3,000. Online pledges and donations hit €1,100 by yesterday morning.

“We are overwhelmed by the response.  We’ve raised €9,000 in a day, it’s a phenomenal start,” said Jennifer Carpenter, Service Manager with the charity.

Ms Carpenter also attended a briefing meeting on State funding under the SSNO, a scheme to support national organisations. It is currently accepting applications for the 2016-2019 period.

“We applied in 2014 and didn’t qualify because we didn’t show a significant national presence but due to sheer demand we are now servicing the entire country for the past 24 months.

This funding would cover the salary of the charity’s two staff for three years, who both earn less than €28,000 a year,  freeing up all monies raised for provision of services, said Ms Carpenter.

The charity, which works with up to 60 families each year across Ireland, costs in the region of €200,000 to run annually. It offers practical support in the homes of families who have a child undergoing treatment for cancer. These services include domestic cleaning, laundry, childcare and family meals, all of which are provided by professional VAT registered service suppliers contracted by the charity.

While it received €10,000 from the Irish Cancer Society last year, that covered just 5pc of overall costs.

Ms Carpenter said it was vital that the charity receive State funding.

“I can’t see how we will survive without it. We need a lifeline now. The reaction from the public has been huge, we want to see something from the State,” she added.

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