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Throughout this pandemic childhood illness hasn't stopped. Unfortunately, Christmas is no different to any other time of year for many families who have seriously ill children in hospital.

In fact, this Christmas there will be 20 families staying at The Ronald McDonald House at CHI Crumlin that desperately wish they were at home. The Ronald McDonald House provides more than just a place to stay for families while their child is seriously ill. The House keeps families together and gives them the chance to make memories that are all the more precious because of their circumstances.

Having hosted more than 4,300 families since opening its doors in 2004, Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) provides a home-away-from-home for 20 families, who can rely on a clean and controlled environment to stay, close to their children who are undergoing treatment in Children’s Health Ireland, at Crumlin. This accommodation is especially important for families living outside of Dublin, who would be faced with the financial burden of finding accommodation in the city to stay close to their child.

The staff and volunteers go to incredible lengths to make the whole month of December special for families. So while families are far from home, they are still able to feel the ‘Christmas spirit’ that is so important. A fireplace is even set up in the House so Santa can visit as usual even though these families are not at home.

This year hospitals have had to restrict visits to one parent, and the House provides a haven for families between visits. This service has been vital for families of children with long-term illnesses who cannot rely on the support network of extended family throughout the COVID-19 crisis.

Christmas in hospital isn’t something to look forward to. It is stressful and it takes families away from their loved ones and friends. This hardship is only multiplied when you consider the financial burden upon these families at this time of year as well as the uncertainty the pandemic has brought for them. The Ronald McDonald House is striving to give these families a sense of normality this Christmas, and above anything else, to be together.

The current Ronald McDonald House sits onsite at CHI at Crumlin, one of the three main paediatric hospitals in the country.  It houses 20 families a night from across the island of Ireland. The current Ronald McDonald House on average provides over 12,000 meals a year to these families and collectively saves these families approx. €700,000 annually. The Ronald McDonald House has a 95.5% occupancy rate.

This year Ronald McDonald House Charities anticipate €500k shortfall in fundraising due to COVID-19, culminating in December with the cancellation of their annual Christmas Ball. The event that takes place every year usually fundraises €100k+ for the charity. It costs €60 a night to keep a family in The Ronald McDonald House, close to their sick child in hospital. Support is urgently needed to ensure that the charity can continue to provide accommodation to these families in their time of need.

As you can imagine, this year the families benefiting from the House have dealt with the additional anxieties of the pandemic while continuing to manage the impact of life-changing diagnoses. Now that Christmas is around the corner the charity is issuing a final appeal to combat the shortfall in funding this year has brought.

The Ryan family, from Cork, will be one of the families staying at the House this Christmas. The Ryans first stayed together in the Ronald McDonald House when daughter Kate was born with a complex heart condition. Kate’s condition means she needs lifelong treatment. The family stay at the House anytime Kate is admitted to CHI, at Crumlin and look at it as a second home. Kate turned 4 this month (14th of December) meaning the family will be celebrating both Christmas and a birthday this year in the House.

‘Very quickly, our world turned up-side down,’ Kate’s mother, Sandra says, ‘As we were told there was a problem with the baby. And that was horrendous. And then we were told that the problem with the baby meant…she would need numerous surgeries and that meant we would have to stay in Dublin for a prolonged time. So once we got our head around that initial diagnosis, the practicalities of everything hit us.

‘How were we going to do this, how were we going to move to Dublin…what were we going to do?…And the answer down the (RMHC) phone was, “Don’t worry, you’ll be fine. We will sort you out. When baby is born and everything is settled down, you ring us, and we’ll sort you out.”’

Marian Carroll, Chief Executive Officer (Volunteer), said ’Having a sick child in hospital creates untold physical, mental and emotional challenges and Covid-19 has exacerbated the anxiety and fear felt by our families this year.'

The RMHC mission is to provide a safe and secure home for families while their children receive treatment in hospital and our service is more important today than ever before. Delivering the service this year has been challenging on so many levels.

Since opening in 2004 Christmas has been the highlight of the year and a special time for RMHC families, staff and volunteers. This year it is essential to provide an extra special Christmas in the House at this very difficult time. They need the people of Ireland to help them deliver a wonderful Christmas to all the families that will need to stay with them at The Ronald McDonald House.

To support families of sick children in hospital this Christmas, visit www.rmhc.ie to donate directly or text HOUSE to 50300 to donate €4

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It’s really easy to get caught up in the commercialism of Christmas. There are flashing, glowing and glimmering advertisements everywhere, screaming out at you that this, and this alone, is the perfect gift for him/her/your sister/your dog/your sister’s dog!

In the midst of all this hubbub – and especially with shops reopening for the first time in six weeks – getting swept away by Christmas shopping is understandable. But this year, more than ever, we need to think beyond ourselves.

There are hundreds of charities in Ireland and abroad who haven’t been able to meet their fundraising goals this year. This is due to many things, like less footfall in the streets for collections, not being able to pack at tills, not having permission to run events. And it’s all due to COVID-19. This virus has robbed us of many things this year. But this Christmas, don’t let it rob us of our charitable nature as a nation.

Below are many worthwhile and inventive charity options to donate to and alternative ways to support this year. They have had to get creative, and it’s only right to support them in this time of dire need for so many people.

Eddie Rocket’s and CHF Temple Street

 ‘Onwards and Upwards’ to help Children’s Health Foundation Temple Street this Christmas! 100% of the purchase price from all sales are donated to the Children’s Health Foundation Temple Street, the perfect Christmas present for little book worms.

In a year that has been full of challenges, this Christmas Eddie Rockets want to help and show their appreciation to all the amazing children in Temple Street. The management and staff have teamed up with Temple Street Hospital and author Don Briggs to support his new magical children’s book ‘Onwards and Upwards’ and help raise much needed funds for our very special hospital.

100% of the book purchase price from sales goes directly to the Children’s Health Foundation Temple Street (Eddie Rockets have underwritten all production costs to ensure the entire monies raised go to the charity). The book is available from Temple Street Hospital and Eddie Rocket's websites now for the purchase price of €10 (plus €2.50 post and packaging). It is also be available to buy in all Eddie Rocket’s diners.

Purchase here

Purchase here

An ideal Christmas gift for 3 to 8 year olds, ‘Onwards and Upwards’ tells the story of four friends who get a tip off that there is a rocket ready to take off from a clearing in the woods. There follows an exciting space adventure around the planets, meeting an alien and a safe return back to earth late at night.

‘Onwards and Upwards’ is Don Briggs third poetic picture book for the charity – the previous two have so far raised in excess of €52,000 for CHF Temple Street. All three books are beautifully illustrated by Foxrock based artist, Naomi Peppard. “Onwards and Upwards” is available now for €10 with 100% going to Children’s Health Foundation Temple Street. This is a special limited-edition print run of only 5,000 copies!

IKEA and Barnardo’s

IKEA has launched a soft toy collection designed by children, for children and all in aid of Barnardos this year. The limited edition SAGOSKATT range returns as children across the world submit their designs through IKEA’s international drawing competition to be made into soft toys.

Available until February 2021, all proceeds from the sale of each toy in Ireland will be donated to IKEA’s national charity partner, Barnardos. Last year's SAGOSKATT collection saw nearly €50,000 raised in the UK and Ireland

The full price of each toy goes to Barnardos Ireland, a charity that protects, supports and nurtures Ireland’s most vulnerable children  This year’s range includes Llama, Ladybug Mouse, Globe Man, Eggplant Car, Sweet-shaped toy and Brown Bear, all available from an affordable €5    

IKEA has turned kids’ imaginations into reality as over 71,000 children worldwide, aged under 12, took part in IKEA’s international drawing competition, now in its sixth year. Children submit their best artwork of imaginary characters, to be in with a chance of having their designs realised and sold by IKEA for other children to enjoy.  The six winning children’s sketches were turned over to a team of expert designers to produce the playful, colourful SAGOSKATT range. 

 “IKEA believes that every child has a right to play and to develop in a safe, secure environment, yet millions of children across the world are denied this fundamental right. Through the affordable SAGOSKATT range, IKEA hope to make play more accessible. And with the full price of each toy going to Barnardos Ireland, this is the perfect gift with a conscience this Christmas,” said Nina Hughes, Range and Product Design Manager Children’s IKEA. 

 “The impact of Covid-19 and the economic downturn has hit vulnerable families the hardest, with many of the children and families we work with having limited resources and really struggling,” said Suzanne Connolly, CEO of Barnardos.

“The support of partners like IKEA and the generosity of the Irish public helps us raise vital funds to reach and support Ireland’s most vulnerable children. As Christmas approaches, we’d ask everyone to consider the SAGOSKATT toy collection as a Christmas gift, and help us provide vital services to over 21,000 families and children in Ireland, who need us most now, during these uncertain times,” she added.

For more information on the collection, which will be available to buy from IKEA for a limited time only, visit: IKEA Barnardo's campaign

Emu Ink and Depaul’s Families and Young People

Homeless Stories: What is lockdown like without a home?

A beautiful new book, written and illustrated by children who are experiencing homelessness across Ireland during the current pandemic, was launched by Irish publishing company, Emu Ink.

In ‘Homeless Stories,’ children, aged 5-13, have shared moving accounts of life in emergency accommodation and direct provision during the Covid crisis. All proceeds from the sale of the book go to Depaul’s Families and Young People’s support services.

One such recipient of that support is ten-year-old Kasey, who illustrated the book’s front and back cover, and wrote about her experience of living in emergency accommodation with her mam and little sister during the Covid-19 lockdown. After two-and-a-half years living in a hotel room, they are finally getting ready to move into their own home but are waiting on a move-in date.

Speaking about why she wanted to share her story, Kasey said, “We moved into the hotel when I was seven and we didn’t know how long we would be here. I’ve had three birthdays and two Christmases living in the hotel now, but this Christmas could be our first in a new home.

“I wanted to tell my story because if there’s another family who move into our hotel room when we finally get to move out, I wanted them to know that they’re not alone and even if it feels scary or sad to begin with, it won’t be forever. My family’s story in this book has a happy ending and I hope everyone who shared their story and any other family who share our story, will find a happy ending and a home too.”

Depaul provides vital accommodation and community supports for vulnerable families who are experiencing or are at risk of homelessness.

Founder and CEO of Emu Ink, Emer Cleary, first read Kasey’s story when she responded to the publishing company’s call to children to get writing during the Covid-19 lockdown. Emer said: “It felt important to give children like Kasey a voice this year because families like hers have had a very different experience to the rest of us. I’m sure many of us are growing tired of staying at home but for these children, a home to stay in is all they want – a front door, a back garden to play in, a kitchen to bake in like their friends.”

Every child who wrote a story or illustrated a piece for the book will receive a special goody bag from Emu Ink, with treats from Starbucks and The Irish Fairy Door Company, who generously supported the project.

Starbucks has provided treats and vouchers for family days out. In addition to Emu Ink’s investment in the project, Starbucks has also funded the printing of the book to allow all proceeds to go to Depaul.

The Irish Fair Door Company has donated a ‘No More Worries Kit’, to help ease anxieties, and a fairy door to every child, so they might feel less alone in their temporary home and take the fairy with them when they leave.

Homeless Stories is on sale for €12 here.

Simon Community Dublin

Simon’s “12 Challenges of Christmas” is a series of fundraising tasks participants can take on in a safe and socially distant way throughout the month of December and the level of participation is completely discretionary. Try one, two or all twelve to make up for the 50% shortfall this year in fundraising due to COVID-19.

Like most charities, the bulk of the homeless service provider’s fundraising income is generated over the Christmas period, with 50% of this revenue coming from special events which cannot take place due to Covid-19 restrictions.

Community & Events Manager, James Phelan said that as most of the organisation’s Christmas activity is based around singing and music, they are in a particularly difficult situation this Christmas:

“Every year, dozens of choirs and singing groups host ‘Sing for Simon’ carolling fundraisers for us in their local communities…The scientific evidence on singing and coronavirus transmission means we simply cannot host these events safely this year…We have launched the “12 Challenges of Christmas” campaign to try to make up the fundraising shortfall from our dozens of cancelled Christmas events and would really appreciate all the support we can get.”

Simon’s “12 Challenges of Christmas” is a series of fundraising tasks participants can take on in a safe and socially distant way throughout the month of December. Try one, three or even twelve! Do as many as you’d like and host where, how and whenever you like – the choice is completely up to you. From Christmas light competitions, to virtual bucket collections to Santa Dashes, there’s a challenge that everyone can do. For more information on the twelve challenge of Christmas, click here.

If you would like to support people experiencing homelessness this Christmas, please make a donation to www.dubsimon.ie.

NCBI

NCBI’s (National Council for the Blind of Ireland) are setting up the first-ever charity Pop Up Shop on Grafton Street in Dublin, having secured for free access to 110 Grafton Street for the month of December.

This is a massive opportunity for NCBI as their 115+ shops throughout the country are a vital source of funding to enable them to deliver life-changing services to people who are blind or vision impaired.

With COVID-19 dominating 2020, it has been such a challenging year for everyone. COVID-19 has also robbed the over 55,000 people living sight loss in Ireland, of their sense of touch, which is vital for people who are blind or vision impaired and has led to increased feelings of isolation and vulnerability, this will help make up the revenue lost (in excess of €1m) due to our shops closing during 2020.

Being positioned on Grafton Street ahead of Christmas will allow them to:

1. launch our Re:Newed for NCBI brand specific for Grafton Street

2. showcase the breadth of our high-quality designer stock (donated from Irish designers including Lainey Keogh, celebrities and public)

3. challenge customer perceptions of pre-worn and vintage clothes, in true sustainable spirit.

This will be no ordinary charity shop as Re: Newed for NCBI was inspired by the London version that Harrods' developed, which was curated by Stella McCartney and runs every year for March with NSPCC.

 We know that sustainable fashion is as important to you as it is to us. Especially at this time of year, where there is much waste, raising awareness about the brand-new Grafton Street pop up shop is a huge priority.

Jack & Jill “Six Gifts of Christmas”

Christmas is a time of giving and a time of receiving.

And what better way to get into Santa’s good books than to purchase a gift from the Six Gifts of Christmas for Jack & Jill? Support the wonderful nurses providing home nursing care to 377 children with highly complex medical and life-limiting conditions around Ireland.

Jack & Jill’s frontline home nursing care and end-of-life care is more important than ever, given the lack of respite options in the community for the children it supports. Buying a Jack & Jill Christmas Gift is simple and easy – visit their online store, select the gift you desire and it will be delivered straight to your door! Alternatively, just drop by one of Jack & Jill’s nine charity shops in Kildare, Laois, Offaly, Kilkenny, Wexford and Wicklow.

Some top gift ideas to help Jack & Jill jingle all the way are “What does Santa do, when it’s not Christmas?” children’s book, a Jack & Jill teacher’s certificate, a Jack & Jill Bricks4Care and plenty more, all available to view here.

For Carmel Doyle, CEO, Jack & Jill Children’s Foundation, buying one of Jack & Jill’s Six Gifts of Christmas means that families can continue to receive vital home nursing care not only at Christmas, but into 2021:

“Whether it’s our Santa book, wrapping paper or our Gift of Time card, there are lots of ways to show our Jack & Jill children that you care. Across the country, Jack & Jill mobilises a crew of 700 nurses and carers to support parents who are looking after their children at home right around the clock. Our in-home nursing care support operates seven days a week, including at Christmas and New Year. By supporting our Six Gifts of Christmas, you are supporting our vital work for extra-special children around the country and there really is no place like home for a Jack & Jill child, especially at Christmas-time. That sense of community is what keeps Jack & Jill going.”

Of course, you can also make a donation direct at https://www.jackandjill.ie/how-you-can-help/donate/ and now via Revolut! Jack & Jill is extremely happy to announce its brand-new partnership with Revolut which means people will be able to choose the Revolut app to set up recurring donations, spare change donations, or simply make a one-off donation to the charity of their choice.

Circle K and Children’s Health Foundation

The fundraising drive across Circle K’s company owned store network will see at least €40,000 raised in aid of the children’s healthcare charity this year.

Children’s Health Foundation raises vital funds to support sick children and their families in CHI hospitals and urgent care centres – from funding vital life-saving equipment and providing essential patient and parental supports, to making ground-breaking, paediatric research possible.

Children’s Health Foundation is the new name for CMRF Crumlin and Temple Street Foundation, which came together in January 2019 to become one foundation supporting all CHI sites to ensure every sick child has the very best chance. The National Children’s Hospital Foundation in Tallaght will soon also join Children’s Health Foundation to become a single, unified family supporting all of Ireland’s sick children. 

Circle K, Ireland’s largest forecourt and convenience retailer, has today launched a new charity fundraising initiative called ‘You Give, We Give’ in stores nationwide, excluding Circle K Express sites.  For the month of December, all customers who purchase a Simply Great Coffee in a Circle K store (excluding Circle K Express) will be invited to donate 10c extra to the price. Circle K will match every donation made and at least €40,000 in much needed funds will be raised for Children’s Health Foundation by the end of the month. 

“Covid-19 has had a detrimental impact on the charity sector this year and organisations like the Children’s Health Foundation need our support more than ever, so we are delighted to extend our help to such an important cause. The work of Children’s Health Foundation is vital to funding the services CHI hospitals and care centres provide to young patients and their families.” Said Eadaoin Keane, Senior Marketing Manager at Circle K Ireland.

To find out more about the ‘You Give, We Give’ initiative and how to get involved, click here.

Tesco Ireland and Temple Street light up for Christmas

Children’s Health Foundation Temple Street is calling on people across Ireland to support this Christmas by donating here.

Christmas may be different this year but Santa still took time out of his busy schedule to join little patient Michael, age 7, outside CHI at Temple Street today to officially switch on the CHI at Temple Street Christmas lights and mark the beginning of the festive season. Santa showed great example by wearing his mask and social-distancing at this special switch-on.

The thousands of sparkling lights on the façade of the beloved children’s hospital will help to keep the magic alive at Temple Street, especially for those patients spending time in the hospital this Christmas. Families need a lift now more than ever and the hospital is doing its utmost to create a special atmosphere.

Each year Children’s Health Foundation Temple Street’s charity partner Tesco Ireland and their staff support the Temple Street Light Up event by bringing lots of goodies and cheer to all in the hospital.

Although the COVID-19 crisis does not allow for Santa to visit the wards this year, Tesco are continuing to support patients, families and staff by delivering joy to our hospital. Tesco have kindly donated over 200 goodie bags for patients and hampers for medical teams and wards.

Denise Fitzgerald, Chief Executive of the Children’s Health Foundation at Temple Street says; “Each year the lighting up of Temple Street marks the start of the festive season, and whilst it is different this year, we want to continue to bring the spirit of Christmas to all those in the hospital. We would like to say a big thank you to our incredible fundraisers and supporters nationwide who have supported us throughout the year and in particular Tesco Ireland for their continued support, and for helping make Light Up happen tonight.  Thank you all so much.”

To support sick children in CHI at Temple Street this Christmas click here.

Meagher’s Pharmacy and Peter McVerry Trust Wrap Up Homelessness

This Christmas, Irish company Meagher’s Pharmacy is asking its customers to come together and embrace the season of giving by supporting its #WrapUpHomelessness campaign. This campaign enables vulnerable people and families that have fallen into homelessness to step into a brighter future for 2021.

Meagher’s Pharmacy has been in partnership with Peter McVerry Trust for a number of years and has already donated €136,618 through various fundraising initiatives. This money has facilitated the kit-out of 16 beautiful new homes and has supported 20 people transitioning out of homelessness.

And now Meagher’s Pharmacy has increased its efforts to give back and set itself the ambitious target of €50,000 to raise over the festive season. Help Meagher’s Pharmacy help those experiencing homelessness.

Shoppers can support the #WrapUpHomelessness campaign in several ways, both in-store and online. Options include

  • Making an online donation, which can be made here.
  • Opting for an in-store gift wrapping service and making a voluntary donation to the Peter McVerry Trust collection box.
  • Selecting the gift-wrap option on www.meagherspharmacy.ie and donating €2.50 per item wrapped.
  • Purchasing a piece from The Giving Keys range, a collection which is hand stamped, assembled and packaged in Los Angeles by those transitioning out of homelessness. Giving Keys start at €25 and are available both in-store and online here.

Tesco Ireland and Children’s Health Foundation Temple Street

Tesco Ireland is proud to announce that Benji the teddy bear will be available to purchase in Tesco stores nationwide and online for just €5 from Tuesday 1st December in aid of the Children’s Health Foundation Temple Street.

Benji, revealed for the first time by Ryan Tubridy on this year’s much-anticipated Late Late Toy Show, is a gift that gives more this Christmas.

Named by seven-year-old Michael Connors from Wexford, Benji will be available to purchase in Tesco stores across the country from Tuesday 1st December for €5. Earlier this year, Tesco ran a colouring competition for the children visiting Temple Street to enter for a chance to name the Christmas 2020 teddy bear. This year, Michael Connors, aged seven, from Wexford was the winner. Michael visits the children’s hospital once a month, and he chose to name the bear Benji after a puppy he had when he was younger.

Proceeds from every Benji sold will help Tesco and the Children’s Health Foundation Temple Street get one step closer to their €1.2million target. Once reached, that money will go towards the purchase of a new much-needed CT scanner for the children’s hospital.

Rosemary Garth, Communications Director, Tesco Ireland said: “The team at CHI at Temple Street do fantastic work for children 365 days a year. We know how much that CT scanner will help them with their work and we’re asking customers to help us reach our fundraising goal by purchasing Benji in store or online. As we come to the end of what has been an unexpected year of ups and downs, we hope that Benji brings some light and smiles to people across the country.”

At the beginning of the year, Tesco announced that it had raised €5million in five years for CHI at Temple Street. Donations from the five-year partnership allowed the children’s hospital to purchase 270 pieces of vital equipment to support doctors and nurses in helping children from all across Ireland. Since then, Tesco has committed to raising funds to purchase the new CT scanner in 2021.

Each year CHI at Temple Street treats over 145,000 children from across the country and operates the busiest A&E department in Europe. For thousands of children, CHI at Temple Street is the only hospital in Ireland in which they can be treated. Through the charity partner programme, Tesco colleagues and customers can help little people from all over Ireland get better and be real-life heroes to children attending the hospital.

Glenisk and Self-Help Africa

Earlier this year, Ireland’s leading yogurt brand, Glenisk pledged its commitment to a sustainability-focused initiative with Self-Help Africa, committing to plant over one million trees in Ireland and Africa. With the help of donations from the public and contributions from Glenisk, 750,000 trees have been planted so far in Africa and the planting of trees in Ireland will commence this December!

Glenisk is making it even easier for shoppers to do a good deed and to support the environment while they shop – from November 19th to December 9th, €1 from each pot of Glenisk BIO Organic Yogurt sold at SuperValu will go directly to the One Million Trees campaign. As well as helping out this important initiative, this Glenisk yogurt is the perfect addition to your basket this season and with Christmas just around the corner, it is the perfect time to stock up the fridge with dairy deliciousness while doing your bit for charity.

Alternatively, donations of just €5 can be made directly to Self Help Africa which will plant 10 trees in Africa and 1 native tree in Ireland. GPS coordinates will be provided once the trees are in the ground, meaning that you can see directly where your impact will be seen. This is also an ideal alternative stocking filler idea for eco and sustainability-conscious consumers.

Heinz and Barnardos

In news that will have Heinz Beanz, Barnardos and Christmas fanatics across the country jump(er)ing for joy, Heinz has today announced the launch of its first official charity Christmas jumper ahead of National Christmas Jumper Day on the 11th December.

The Heinz ‘Beanz Meanz Crimbo’ jumper will be available exclusively through Heinz’s exclusive online shop in Ireland here for €25.00. But shoppers best get them quick as only 500 are available in sizes medium and large.

All proceeds of the Heinz Christmas Jumpers will go to Heinz’s official charity partner in Ireland, Barnardos, so that they can invest in vital funds to support those most vulnerable in the run up to Christmas. Proceeds will go towards Barnardos essential work, including:

  • €2 could provide a nutritious breakfast for a vulnerable child in one of Barnardos Early Years Centres
  • €10 can provide breakfast for a vulnerable child for a week
  • €5 could provide a hot dinner and access to specialised care in their after-school club.

Emily O’Kane, Marketing Manager Kraft Heinz, said: “This has been a very different and difficult year for many of us and here at Heinz we’re extremely aware of the impact the Covid-19 pandemic is having on Irish people, including children that are already in very vulnerable circumstances.

“The team at Barnardos do fantastic work to reach these children and it’s great to be partnering with them once again this Christmas, not only to help increase their efforts in raising vital funds, but also to bring an extra bit of Beanzy joy to households across the country.”

Every day, Barnardos works in communities across the country to build better futures for vulnerable children and their families. Last year alone they worked with over 21,000 children and their families. Barnardos provides warm nutritious meals in our breakfast and after school clubs, they give children a safe environment to play and learn in and we work with families to rebuild relationships that have been broken.  And importantly, their support programmes are based at the heart of local communities. 

Jervis Shopping Centre and SVP, Jigsaw and ICHH (Inner City Helping Homeless)

It’s that time of the year again and Jervis Shopping Centre, Dublin’s most iconic shopping destination, is pulling out all of the stops for Irish families. Now open from 9am-9pm from December 1st-23rd , the centre has gone above and beyond with increased safety measures this Christmas to make the Jervis Shopping Centre Christmas Shopping Experience safe and comfortable for everyone.

Jervis Shopping Centre shoppers feeling generous this year can donate to Dublin Town’s ‘Tap for Good’ Christmas fundraising appeal which is running throughout Dublin City this Christmas. Stop by Jervis Shopping Centre’s Charity wall installation on the ground floor where shoppers can ‘TAP’ their contactless payment card to make a €3 donation to three local charities – SVP, Jigsaw and ICHH (Inner City Helping Homeless).

Parents can keep the kids entertained with Santa’s socially-distanced Magical Grotto, spectacular decorations, unmissable festive fashions and a host of unique gift ideas for all ages. Some of the Centre’s family favourites include MINISO, Curry’s PC World, JD Sports and Tesco F&F. Mingles and Off Beat Donuts are also on hand to provide delicious treats for youngsters and adults alike.

Aviva and St. Francis Hospice 'Tree of Life'

Irish charities are struggling to cope due to the coronavirus pandemic and we may see up to half of all Irish charities close before the end of the year. Smaller locally based charities like St. Francis Hospice are particularly struggling to survive. Despite this tough landscape there are reasons to be hopeful, Sile Seoige has teamed up with Aviva Insurance Ireland to help raise awareness of the St. Francis Hospice ‘Tree of Life’ ceremony and hopefully encourage the wonderful people of Ireland to donate to the charity this Christmas.

Aviva Ireland, national partner of St Francis Hospice, alongside campaign ambassadors Síle Seoige and James Downey call on the public to donate €6 for St. Francis Hospice ‘Tree of Life’ this Christmas.

Thursday 26th November 2020: This Christmas, Aviva Ireland has teamed up with its charity partner, St. Francis Hospice, to promote the ‘Tree of Life’ ceremony in Raheny and Blanchardstown hospices. The ceremony is to remember the individuals St Francis Hospice has cared for and those who were lost to Covid 19. To mark the partnership, Aviva has erected a 20ft tree in the stadium which will be in place from Wednesday 25th of November as a marker for the hospice this Christmas.

Today, broadcaster and wellness advocate Síle Seoige, alongside former Irish Rugby player James Downey launched this year’s Christmas appeal, calling on the public to support this worthy cause on behalf of both St. Francis Hospice and Aviva by logging onto www.aviva.ie/tree-of-life and sponsoring a light on the tree for just €6

At the launch Síle Seoige, said: “This time of year can be tough for so many who have lost loved ones during the year. The Tree of Life is a beautiful way to remember those who have lost their battle with a terminal illness. I am delighted to be able to play my part in supporting St. Francis Hospice, with thanks to Aviva Ireland. As someone who has had cancer myself, I am so grateful to be healthy and well today and I know all too well the great work charities like St. Francis Hospice do.’’

This year, the Tree of Life ceremony will be a virtual event to remember those who St Francis Hospice has cared for, both past and present. People can view the ceremony on the St. Francis Hospice website and Facebook page from 7.30pm on December 10th and watch as each donation lights up on the tree in memory of a loved one or for somebody experiencing difficulty in their lives.

 Aviva is also donating €10 from every new home insurance policy purchased in December directly to the charity to further contribute to its Christmas appeal.

Fintan Fagan, CEO of St. Francis Hospice said: “It’s been a very difficult year for all charities with many of us unable to run our usual fundraising activities. All of us at St. Francis Hospice are delighted to have a charity partner like Aviva Ireland who is willing to go the extra mile and help us raise awareness for our virtual Tree of Life ceremony this year. The annual ceremony means a lot us here at St. Francis Hospice, it gives a lot of people the opportunity to remember a loved one in a safe environment alongside others who have experienced a similar loss. We hope we can continue to give people the same sense of comfort with our virtual ceremony this year.”

Roe & Co Whiskey and The Useless Project

Roe & Co Irish Whiskey announced plans for the first ever Roe & Creators Virtual Pop Up in collaboration with The Useless Project. The first virtual pop up is set to take place on Saturday 5th December and run for three weekends across the month of December on the Roe & Co Instagram page (@roeandcowhiskey). The virtual pop up will provide shoppers with a unique virtual experience that aims to support local Irish brands and businesses while providing unique gift options, just in time for Christmas!

At a time when supporting local has never been more important, the Roe & Creators Virtual Pop Up, will bring together nine Irish businesses from across Ireland on one unique platform, providing a one-stop-shop for consumers to buy local Irish gifts this festive season. Since day one, Roe & Co Irish Whiskey has celebrated Modern Ireland and this exciting new Creators Pop-Up will help continue the crusade to support emerging creators and champion Irish brands.

Roe & Co are partnering with The Useless Project to bring this new platform to life, giving small local Irish businesses a much-needed space to showcase gifts this Christmas. The Useless Project, who have collaborated with Roe & Co in the past, are a leading voice in the area of sustainable living. Having become known for their virtual flea market in recent months, the unstoppable duo, Geraldine Carlton and Taz Kelleher, are delighted to launch the first Roe & Creators Virtual Pop Up.  

Speaking about the launch, Geraldine Carton from The Useless Project said: “We are so buzzed to be involved in such an exciting project. Right now, it is more important than ever that we support Irish talent and it’s great that Roe & Co are giving us a platform to do exactly that!”

Co-Founder Taz Kelleher goes on to say: “Every time we spend money, we have the power to vote for the kind of future we want to see. By becoming a conscious consumer, we get to decide which businesses thrive, and that’s a really empowering thing.

Roe & Co will be collaborating with local Irish businesses across the three weeks many of which only started their businesses in the last year! The first pop-up will take place on December 5th and will include Kopper Kreations, an industrial home wares brand from Dublin that uses reclaimed and recycled materials to create unique and eye-catching home wares. Sustainability is at the heart of the Kopper Kreation ethos and all products are handmade and finished to enhance the natural qualities of the different raw materials.

Another brand joining us for the virtual pop-up is ELN, a Belfast born up and coming street wear brand that transcends seasons and can be restyled and re-worn again and again. Each piece is sustainably and ethically sourced and is created to last, both in quality and design. Finally, ELN and Kopper Kreation will also be joined by Nutshed. Based in Tipperary, Nutshed use single origin runner peanuts, which have the tastiest characteristics for the perfect roast, to make delicious NutShed products packed full of peanuts and just a pinch of sea salt.

There will be more businesses announced over the coming weeks so make sure to keep an eye on Roe & Co’s social media channels for more information.

Focus Ireland

Focus Ireland, with the help of broadcaster Mairead Ronan, has launched an appeal for donations to help support the 1,117 families that will spend this Christmas in emergency accommodation. Becoming homeless is every family’s worst nightmare, but sadly the numbers of families without a home has been steadily rising over the past number of years. Over 2,500 children in Ireland will spend this Christmas living in emergency accommodation.

As part of its Christmas appeal, Focus Ireland will highlight the issue of the hidden homeless and to help drive awareness and encourage donations, has created an installation on South William Street Dublin. The space is designed as a typical 12×12 foot hotel room and shows what life is like for a family living in emergency accommodation. While the city will be filled with socially distanced shoppers, Christmas lights and festive window displays, this installation is a reminder that for many families Christmas won’t be spent at home, but in a cramped space used as a kitchen, bedroom and living room for all the family.

Focus Ireland believe that everyone has a right to a place they can call home. This Christmas, the charity needs the Irish public’s support to ensure this vision can become a reality. Focus Ireland want to shine a light on the hidden homeless in Ireland, the 1,117 families and approximately 2,642 children that will unfortunately be spending this festive season in emergency accommodation.

This year to date, Focus Ireland has helped over 760 families find a home including 1,633 children. The charity is working hard to support these children and relies heavily on public donations to ensure it can carry out the full extent of its work. While the charity does receive State funding it still has to raise over 40% of its annual budget through fundraising.

John O’Haire, service manager at Focus Ireland said, “The Covid-19 pandemic has greatly affected charity efforts all across Ireland. At Focus Ireland, we have continued our efforts throughout the pandemic to work towards our goal of everyone, particularly children, having a place they can truly call home for Christmas and beyond. We have seen an increase in demand for our services as the harsh realities of the impact of Covid-19 come to light.

Child homelessness in Ireland has increased by 253 % since July 2014 and with the help of the Irish public, we want to change these children’s lives and ensure they have a safe, permanent roof over their heads. We really appreciate the support the public have given to us over the years and hope that this year they can continue to support Focus Ireland.

Broadcaster Mairead Ronan commented, “This installation is a stark reminder of what the reality of homelessness and emergency accommodation is like. It is so important we support organisations like Focus Ireland that support these families and help provide them with a place to call home.”

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Instagram is our go-to for stunning travel snaps, beauty inspiration and checking in on what our besties are up to. 

The app doesn't currently have the same ability as Facebook and sites like GoFundMe to allow it's users to raise money for worthy causes.

However, that could be about to change, as it seems the app is testing a Donate button.

Spotted by app researcher Jane Manchun Wong, Instagram is trialling the button in its Stories feature,

The donate sticker would act similarly to Facebook's fundraising options.

Based on the screenshot, it looks like 'grammers will be able to search through a list of nonprofits and charities, and choose one to share with their followers.

The sticker will then be added to the story, where viewers can choose to take action via a donation.

Sadly, it is not confirmed that the Donate element will make it to all users, as not all tested features become a permanent part of the app. 

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You may know Tropical Popical for their intricate nail designs, eclectic nail bar and penchant for Lilt.

While creating bespoke nail art for the masses is their priority, the women behind TropPop stand for a lot more than well-groomed cuticles. 

As well as showing their support for the Repeal Project, Tropical Popical have turned their attention to the issue of period poverty. 

It may not be something that immediately crosses your mind when you consider the day-to-day struggles of homeless women, but period poverty is a big issue. 

Women residing on the streets or in shelters are often left without any options when it comes to managing their periods. 

As pointed out by Tropical Popical via a recent Instagram post: 'Whenever you get your period, think of the women experiencing #PeriodPoverty and pop an extra pack of tampons or pads or mooncups in your basket.'

'We always have a #HomelessPeriodDublin drop off point on the go and as women get their period every month (yes, we did biology in the leaving), there's a constant need for sanitary products.'

The fantastic initiative will change the quality of life for homeless women, so when you head to Boots this month to pick up your sanitary product of choice, make sure you duplicate your usual purchase and donate to TropPop's drop off point. 

You can find their innovative nail bar at 28 South William Street, Dublin.

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SHEmazing! TV offers you your daily 90 Second Update rounding up the showbiz news!

Today’s highlights include details on Prince Harry’s post break-up antics, which star benefited from the Jay Z and Solange’s elevator fight, Michelle Keegan bagging the sexiest female award sixth time in a row and much more.

Watch the video for the full report.

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