There are few places I have been to in my life quite as amazing and inspirational as Barretstown.
Barretstown is a residential camp for children with a serious illness based in County Kildare (Ireland), offering a range of adventurous and challenging activities supported behind the scenes by safe, medical attention and care – always for free.
We work to rebuild the lives of children affected by serious illness, and their families, through a life changing Therapeutic Recreation programme in a safe, fun and supportive environment.
Having been part of a team of lawyers from Norton Rose who cycled across the USA (from east coast to west coast) to raise money for Barretstown in 2011, I decided to visit the camp on my return. It was an unforgettable experience. From the moment I walked through the gates of Barretstown I was greeted with a wave of positivity and equality where everyone (without exception) was friendly, welcoming and supportive (and the children hadn’t even arrived at his point)!
The weekend began with team games and “ice breakers” between the volunteers and full time staff members. We learnt the dances which would provide the children with laughs and excitement when they “groove for their food” in the main food hall. It was also a great opportunity to get to know the people who would be putting smiles on the faces of so many children that weekend and who would be providing the families of the children with a weekend of comparative relaxation to their normal daily tasks and responsibilities.
When the children arrived the volunteers met the families whom they would be paired with for the weekend in the cottages. From this point forward my goal (along with the other volunteers) was to make the children smile and to enjoy every minute they spent at Barretstown. This involved horse riding, fishing, canoeing, arts and crafts and much more!
I am delighted to say that this goal has been achieved on every occasion I have visited Barretstown.
I have promised myself that I will return to Barretstown every year for the rest of my life (health permitting). It is such an amazing place and I encourage anyone who would like to contribute to this fantastic charity to register as a volunteer and to experience it. If you have any questions about it, please do get in touch or read the Barretstown profile here.
If you would like to register to become a volunteer, please click here.
I am proud to promote Barretstown through Aspiring Solicitors.