Children’s charity Barretstown has launched its nationwide Press Play campaign, marking its 25th anniversary year. The Press Play campaign will aim to raise an additional €5 million over the next five years to ensure that Barretstown can expand its programmes to serve more children who suffer from serious illness, and their families.
The charity, founded by legendary actor Paul Newman, first opened its gates in Kildare in 1994 and since then has served over 50,000 campers.
Childhood stops for seriously ill children. Through its free, specially-designed camps and programmes, Barretstown brings back the fun of childhood – its services help children to press play on childhood again.
Speaking at the launch of the campaign Dee Ahearn, CEO of Barretstown said: “Our vision is that every child with a serious illness should be able to enjoy their childhood, and that by 2024 every child with a serious illness will have the opportunity to avail of Barretstown’s services. So, over the next five years, our ‘Press Play’ campaign will aim to raise an additional €5 million to ensure that we can serve as many children as possible.”
Aidan Gillen, Barretstown ambassador said: “The significance of today can’t be overstated – it is important to remember that hospitals treat the illness, but Barretstown treats the child. They have been doing this free of charge for Irish families for 25 years now. I’m delighted to be here to celebrate the amazing work done by all of Barretstown’s staff and volunteers.”
Jonathan Rhys-Meyers, Barretstown ambassador added: “I have visited Barretstown and it’s clear to see that the children who attend camp, leave it with an increased sense of confidence, self-esteem and independence. Their experience at camp allows them to enjoy childhood again after the hardship of their illness and treatment. It also allows parents, and the whole family, gain a deeper understanding of the experience of serious illness. It’s such a worthy cause because the healing process wouldn’t be complete without it.”
Barretstown’s mission is to rebuild the lives of children affected by serious illness and their families, through a life-changing Therapeutic Recreation Programmes in a safe, fun and supported environment. Every year the charity needs to raise €5.8 million to run its programmes and Press Play will aim to raise an extra €1 million per year, during this five-year campaign. Each year the charity recruits the help of over 1,800 volunteers to help run its programmes.