Jack & Jill charity faces a financial shortfall of €300k

Jack & Jill charity faces a financial shortfall of €300k

The charity's CEO, Carmel Doyle, said Covid-19 restrictions "blew a hole" in its finances.

A charity which helps children with highly complex and life-limiting conditions has been fighting a different battle this year, as it faces a financial hole of more than €300,000.

The Jack & Jill Children's Foundation funds and provides home nursing care to 377 children, from birth to five years of age.

The charity started the year with a calendar full of events to help raise the €3.5 million it needs for its critical services.

However, the charity was forced to cancel all of its fundraising drives to raise the 80% of donations it relies on.

The charity's CEO, Carmel Doyle, said Covid-19 restrictions "blew a hole" in its finances.

"We had to cancel everything and move all our events and fundraisers online as we have to keep going, just like the families we support," Ms Doyle said.

"Lunches, cake bakes, roadshows - all cancelled. Everything that we had, we had to cancel, so we issued an SOS appeal very early on in the year."

The children's care needs are very high, with more than 20 pieces of medial equipment in the home.

Another key part of the charity's service is end-of-life support at home, regardless of the diagnosis.

Throughout the health pandemic, the charity's nurses have supported more than 30 children with end-of-life care.

Ms Doyle added: "Our families and supporters mobilised as they know what could happen if we didn't have the funding.

"We raise €3.5 million annually and that is 80% of what we need and if we don't do that we are in trouble.

"One of the big things about relying on fundraising is the projections and looking at what could this mean to us by the end of the year, and we knew there was a shortfall far exceeding half a million. It was a lot to take in at the time.

"We looked at every grant we could apply for and then went to our supporters."

To help plug the gaping hole in finances, the charity issued an SOS appeal earlier this year.

The charity also has nine shops which it also relies on for funding. However, the government's coronavirus restrictions meant it had to pull the shutters down.

The charity's nurses also had to adapt their services to ensure they kept to the government's health guidelines.

"It has been tremendously challenging. Our nurses and carers are in the front line of the community and we kept those doors open," Ms Doyle added.

"We have finished the year and pushed out what we could do. Covid and its effects are not going to go away quickly and we've had to take a three-year look at our Covid response plan."

The charity won an award for its digital shift to move fundraising online, particularly its online auction which included GAA shorts worn by Normal People star Paul Mescal during the hit TV series.

However, it is concerned about the challenges in the months and years ahead.

Ms Doyle said: "I am looking at next year and we are looking at a deficit. We are potentially facing deficits amounting to €500,000 over the next three years."

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