LAST MONTH, THE Jack and Jill Children’s Foundation made an urgent appeal for funding by launching a powerful TV ad in which a mother told her story of caring for her son.
In the ad mother Brigid Flanagan used white cards to tell the story of her life with her son Richard who requires 24-hour care and the help of the people at Jack and Jill.
It has prompted people to donate tens of thousands of euro to the foundation with a huge number of text donations also sent in the month since it began airing:
“It’s been absolutely brilliant,” Jack and Jill’s chief executive Jonathan Irwin told TheJournal.ie this week. He said that the foundation had received some 25,000 texts which recorded a €5 donation to the charity each time.
As well as this he said there had been a big increase in online donations and postal donations which have yielded a total of €300,000, closing in on the initial target of €400,000 which the charity said it needed to raise by the end of the year.
“It’s been quite extraordinary in this day and age when things are very tough,” Irwin said. “We set a target of €400,000 which we thought was pretty achievable. I mean we are just delighted and we are on the way obviously.”
The foundation’s campaign would not have been possible without the free television air time they were able to get from one of their corporate sponsors, Nestle.
Irwin says that putting the ad on television would have been impossible without the support the food company which he said used its “clout” in the media advertising market to secure TV spots for the foundation that would have otherwise cost hundreds of thousands of euro.
Jack and Jill provides intensive home nursing care for parents who have children with life limiting conditions and supports 300 families across Ireland today.
Irwin said: “We provide up to 64 hours a month for the most fragile children. We never have less than 300 children on our books at any one time and that costs us over €100,000 every month.”
The foundation, which receives just under a fifth of its funding from the State, has been highlighting the fact that there is no entitlement to support in the home for parents of children with severe brain damage.
Carmel Doyle, communications director with Jack and Jill, believes that the foundation saves the taxpayer money by keeping children who require 24-hour care out of hospital.
“We get 18 per cent of what we need from the State but we keep children out of hospital so we save the taxpayer every year,” she claimed. “James Reilly should be investing in Jack and Jill.”
“If our service wasn’t there 80 out of the 300 children would end up in hospital – economically it wouldn’t make sense,” she continued.
Irwin added that the campaign had been “one of the most successful there has ever been” in the charitable industry in his view.