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In between complaining about the state of my knees and making bad jokes with pictorial punchlines, I do like to talk about good causes on this blog. This week will be a slight digression from the normal state of affairs; last week I sent in an application to Barretstown to participate in one of their summer camps as a volunteer Cara and I’d like to let you know about the good work that they do. For those who don’t already know, Barretstown is a camp at a castle in the Wicklow Mountains that provides therapeutic recreation programmes for children with cancer and other serious illnesses. Children, teenagers, and young adults come to Barretstown from Ireland and all over Europe to “forget illness, learn to have fun and rebuild their confidence and self-esteem” through a wide range of activities.

'Survivor's Guide' follows Ray Cronin & two other teenagers coming to Barretstown

As you can imagine, there is a large amount of material online which can be found at Barretstown’s own website, by subscribing to their youtube channel or by joining their facebook fan-page. For anyone interested in volunteering at Barretstown, the deadline for applications for week-long camps in the summer is next Friday, January 27th. However, there are also several Autumn weekend camps running from late September through to November and there is plenty of time left to apply for these. The application process is simple; you complete an application form and post it Barretstown’s staff recruitment office together with two written references, a garda checking form and a signed passport-sized photo. After this you need to complete a 15-25 minute phone interview. Full details can be found here. If you’d prefer not to volunteer but would like to support Barretstown anyway, you can find out how to do so here or donate directly to them here. All of the children and families come to Barretstown free of charge. Everything, including accommodation, food, medical assistance and round-trip airfares are provided at no cost to the family. Barretstown is entirely supported by donations and the fundraising efforts of corporate supporters, individuals and community groups.

Here’s Grainne and Jim Sullivan talking about the effect that Barretstown has had on their family.

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