Family Carers Ireland, the national charity supporting the 500,000+ family carers across Ireland, is seeking the support of people in Roscommon this Friday (October 7th) as it holds its national fundraising and awareness day, Heart of Gold.
Staff, volunteers and family carers will be out in force selling €2 Heart of Gold pins to raise vital funds for those caring for loved ones at home such as children or adults with additional needs, physical or intellectual disabilities, frail older people, those with palliative care needs or those living with chronic illnesses, mental health challenges or addiction.
Funds raised will help Family Carers Ireland continue to provide essential supports and services to family carers ranging from one-to-one wellbeing reviews, counselling, advocacy and emergency care planning to peer support groups and training courses. In particularly difficult cases, it will help to put food on tables and oil in heating tanks.
The supports provided by the charity have never been so important with a recent survey of almost 2,000 family carers finding that over two-thirds experience financial distress, almost one quarter are cutting back on essentials to make ends meet and nearly nine in ten feel the value of what they do is not recognised.
Among the thousands of family carers supported by Family Carers Ireland since the start of the pandemic is Barbara who cares for her adult son John who has autism and an intellectual disability. Following months of cocooning and a huge deterioration in John’s sleep, both were struggling mentally and physically. Thanks to funds generously donated by the public, Family Carers Ireland was able to provide one week of residential respite for John as well as 10 weeks of free counselling for Barbara to help with her emotional wellbeing.
“You gave John and I a break when frankly, we were both at breaking point. I can never thank you enough,” said Barbara.
Bernie Dowling, Community Support Manager for Roscommon, said: “Amid unprecedented levels of stress caused by the pandemic and a worsening cost of living crisis, more families than ever before are reaching out to us for help.
“I would urge the local community to rally behind our fundraiser and purchase a Heart of Gold pin in solidarity with local family carers who all deserve our support and recognition.
“As a charity, we firmly believe that no one should have to care alone but we need your help to ensure that we can continue to provide a vital lifeline to those who need it most”.
More information about Family Carers Ireland and the fundraising efforts can be found on their website www.familycarers.ie.