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Ann Norton. Photograph by John Kelly.

100k funding shortfall for Clare Crusaders

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The Clare Crusaders’ Clinic has experienced an estimated €100,000 drop in its fundraising income this year due to the lack of suitable accommodation to host major charity events, it emerged this week.
Clinic manager, Councillor Ann Norton (Ind) has issued a renewed appeal for donations from companies and groups ahead of their annual Tractor Run, which takes place in Barefield next Sunday.
Clare Crusaders is a self-financing service located in Barefield, Ennis. The clinic receives no state funding and must raise more than €250,000 per annum to provide the current level of therapy for children.
Acknowledging the provision of hotel accommodation is necessary to house international protection applicants fleeing from war-torn countries, particularly Ukraine, the Independent councillor pointed out one of the unintended consequences is that the charity finds it extremely difficult to obtain function rooms to host fundraising events.
In recent years, the clinic has hosted charity boxing tournaments, fashion shows, Christmas Fairs and fun Strictly Come Dancing competitions in hotels, which generated considerable income.
“We want people to know how difficult it is to fundraise at the moment because of the lack of opportunities to secure function rooms and we are still being hit by people who are still conscious of not contracting Covid-19,” said Cllr Norton.
“It is very difficult to fundraise because we can’t do the events we were able to do a few years ago. This is having a major detrimental effect on the funding coming into the clinic. These events would have generated a huge amount of money throughout the year. We are struggling to fundraise this year. We have noticed in the last few weeks money is going out but we don’t have the cash flow coming in.
“We don’t have a lot of major fundraising opportunities over the coming months Normally, we would have a large fundraising event from September to December,” continued Cllr Norton.
“However, we are not in a position to do these events because we don’t have the locations for them. It is hard to come up with ideas for other events to generate revenue of between €30,000 and €40,000 from previous events like boxing or Strictly Come Dancing.
“We managed during the Covid-19 pandemic because we were closed. However, since the clinic re-opened we haven’t been in a position to run many big indoor events. Covid-19 had a detrimental impact on fundraising and now other circumstances have limited us as well.”
Expressing concern about the increased cost of living, she said that staff, insurance, rent and electricity have increased.
Describing the Tractor Run as a “brilliant community event”, she said it is great to give the farming community a social outing. The clinic manager said this event, which has a raffle, is a great fundraiser that has the potential to earn about €10,000. Tractors of all sizes will be parked in Barefield from about 12 noon before the run starts at 2pm.
“It is an opportunity for farmers young and old to come out and participate in this social event. It is wonderful to see the old vintage tractors and people admiring the bigger tractors that cost a large amount of money,” she said.
“Cars and motorbikes come out and participate as well. There will be a children’s tractor run before the main event. A barbecue will be held for the participants afterwards.”
The Clare Crusaders Children’s Clinic provides free therapy and specialist treatment to more than 450 children with special needs in County Clare.
Last year, the clinic was delighted to receive €15,000 from the Toy Show Appeal, but didn’t receive any funding from this source this year.
The Clinic was opened in 2007 thanks to the dedication and hard work of a group of parents to overcome the lack of publicly available treatment for children with autism and cerebral palsy.
Donations can be made through the clinic website or by making a cheque payable to the Clare Crusaders Clinic, Barefield, Ennis, Clare.

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