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Ann Doyle

Ann Doyle MC for Crusaders’ black tie ball

Clare Crusaders Children’s Clinic is launching a major drive to raise up to €150,000 and fomer RTE newscaster, Ann Doyle will be involved in one of the main events.
The Barefield clinic needs to raise this money by December to help the charity meet its annual target of €250,000 in public donations. This is a major challenge for the charity to raise the necessary funds for the continuation of services for children with a wide range of disabilities such as Down Syndrome, cerebral palsy, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
Despite the lack of any government funding to help defray the cost of its core services, the clinic continues to provide free therapy for over 400 special needs children in the county. The clinic estimates it provides in the region of 10,000 free therapy hours for children during individual and group sessions during the year.
In addition to providing one-to-one therapies, the clinic organise regular group activities such as the Halliwick swimming programme, arts and crafts classes, music groups, cookery lessons and play therapy groups.
Between 30 and 35 children attended the very popular summer camp, which was run in Barefield Hall over a five-week period, with the help of a huge number of volunteers under the direction of therapists.
All of these groups provide fun, enjoyment and stimulation to children while aiding their development, social interaction skills, confidence and independence.
The clinic also offers support and information for parents to allow them take steps to secure the best help and services they can get for their children.
Voluntary fundraisers are hoping that people will continue to show their tremendous generosity for three upcoming flagship events and other fundraising activities for the remainder of the year.
Training starts next month for the White Collar Boxing Tournament before the final in November. Dromoland Castle, meanwhile, will host a black tie gala ball on Friday, November 6 when former RTÉ newscaster, Ann Doyle, will be the master of ceremonies.
Fashion enthusiasts throughout the Mid-West can also look forward to savouring the very best in ladieswear when Glór hold a special fashion show on Thursday, September 17.
A clinic spokesperson has admitted it will be a “major challenge” to raise €150,000 in four months.
“The clinic is very grateful for all the donations it has received to date. Unfortunately, the fundraising has to continue because we have to raise €250,000 on an annual basis to continue providing free therapy.
“There is no quick fix or magic solution. Every euro that someone raises for the clinic counts. No fundraising venture is too small or too big, regardless of the amount of money that is raised. The clinic acknowledges there are so many other charities in the country that are worthy of donations.
“It takes a huge amount of effort for a small number of people to raise money on an annual basis, they continued, adding, “The clinic is run on a voluntary basis. We couldn’t afford to hire a fundraiser as this would be at the expense of a therapist.
“The clinic has no choice but to go out and continually fundraise and make people aware of the services that are being provided for children,” the clinic spokesperson outlined.
It employs a full and part-time occupational therapist, one full-time and part-time speech and language therapist, a full and part-time physiotherapist and one full-time special education teacher. The clinic relies on the support of volunteers, even for its management and day-to-day running, to ensure all the money raised goes directly into therapy.
Administrators like Mary Brody, who worked for years in the office, are vital to keep the show on the road.
The clinic has proved employment for about 16 full and part-time therapists who have worked there at various times over the last eight years, before moving on to to other positions.
Occupational therapist Sarah O’Connell said it is astonishing to see the support local people have given to the clinic to fund its progression from a one-room unit eight years ago to an entire multi-disciplinary team today.
“For the clinic to continue to develop that support has to continue. I am hugely grateful to be a Clare person living and working in the clinic knowing it is the support from the cyclists, people out with buckets and the cake sales that are giving me the privileged opportunity to work with children in the clinic and schools,” she said.
Ruan mother-of-three Michelle Quirke has appealed to people to continue to support the clinic.
“Nobody knows when they will need the support of the clinic. If you don’t have a child attending the clinic, it can be hard to describe what a tremendous job therapists do providing free therapy,” she said.
Anyone who has a fundraising idea can contact the clinic on 065 6896015 or email theclarecrusaders@gmail.com.

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