Children's charity Barretstown has issued an urgent appeal to the Irish public after Covid-189 caused the cancellation of numerous fundraisers.
Barretstown was founded by Hollywood actor Paul Newman in 1994 and is located in Ballymore Eustace, right on the boarder with west Wicklow.
The charity offers free, specially designed camps and programmes for children and their families living with a serious illness. However, the Covid crisis resulted in the cancellation of a number of vital fundraisers, with Barretstown dependent upon the public for 98 per cent of the funds that make their work possible.
As a result of these cancelled events, Barretstown's income will be down by approximately 30 per cent. There are currently over 8,000 children and family members on Barretstown's waiting list.
Explaining the impact Covid-19 had on the charity, Dee Ahearn, CEO of Barretstown, said: 'Since we first opened our gates in 1994, we have brought the magic of Barretstown to over 60,000 campers. This year has been the hardest we have ever faced. We've done everything we can to bridge that gap by reducing our costs where possible and developing new fundraising initiatives.
'But it is still a major challenge. We are planning on restarting our full therapeutic camps and programmes in autumn and will be running extra camps, back to back to help support the staggering 8,000 children and family members now on our waiting list. However, to make these extra camps happen, we urgently need to raise vital funds by to counteract our income shortfall. To make that possible, we urgently need the public's help.'
Donations can be made by visiting www.Barretstown.org.
For the past few months, 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, to children isolated in hospital and to children who were due to attend Barretstown's summer programmes.