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WE CAN'T HELP VULNERABLE KIDS WITHOUT MORE MONEY; Barnardos in dire need of funding.

Byline: MAEVE QUIGLEY

CHILDREN'S charity Barnardos will have to withdraw vital help for kids if more money is not found, it warned yesterday.

The charity launched a major appeal for support to prevent the closure of services which help young kids and teenagers in deprived areas across the country.

Barnardos chief executive Fergus Finlay said a shortfall in funding for this year and 2010 was putting projects under threat of closure.

He said: "Our services and projects around the country are right now working with over 5,500 children and families who are suffering from terrible hurts caused by poverty, disadvantage, neglect and addiction.

"Barnardos works tirelessly to help change children's futures, to create better childhoods and to give those children opportunities for brighter futures.

"We do not want to stop providing that help for even one of those children and for that we need the public's support."

Mr Finlay said he appreciated the support people had given up until now and said he understood that companies and families were experiencing their own financial difficulties.

FUNDING

But he appealed to those who were weathering the current financial crisis to make a donation.

He added: "The Celtic Tiger never reached the homes of the children we work with and recent cuts in education, social welfare and increased waiting lists for vital services are weighing ever more heavily on those families who already had so little."

Project worker for the charity Debbie O'Shea said if the services are withdrawn, there will be a huge impact on vulnerable children and their families.

She added: "For some families, coming to our service is the main focus of their day. For others, a child may not access appropriate levels of stimulation to develop language, motor skills or social skills. These are key skills that they will need in school."

If you can help contact Barnardos on www.barnardos.ie or call 1850 216 216.

Irish Mirror Comment: Page 8

Siobhan, 6, is a happier child

CASE STUDY 1

SIOBHAN is a six-year-old Dubliner whose parents suffer from mental health and addiction issues.

She was abandoned by them and is now cared for by her elderly maternal grandparents.

Siobhan has already been expelled from three early years centres before she was three because of her excessive biting and violent behaviour. Siobhan has three siblings who live in the West of Ireland with their father.

Through the work of the Parent Coach and the Early Years Team, little Siobhan is now living with her grandparents fulltime and spends weekends with her mother and their relationship is improving.

Peter's making real progress

CASE STUDY 2

PETER lives with his mother and 10-year-old brother Sean in a ground-floor two-bedroom apartment in West Dublin. Peter's mum Louise is in her late 30s and is unemployed.

Peter's only contact with his father is limited to telephone calls as he lives abroad.

Louise and her two children had been living homeless in Dublin until last year when the family, with the support of a homeless organisation, moved into an apartment.

Through Barnardos Peter got a place in pre-school for five mornings a week. He was assigned a key worker to work both along-side him and his mum.

He has made immense progress.

CAPTION(S):

APPEAL Barnardos chief Fergus Finlay
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Oct 13, 2009
Words:547
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