Our relationship with the charity Barretstown is at the centre of our charitable and community activities. We have supported Barretstown for several years and get as much out of this partnership as they do.
Barretstown provides a programme of therapeutic recreation for children with cancer, leukaemia and other serious illnesses. Through their participation in Barretstown programmes, the children stop seeing themselves as ‘sick kids’ and begin to regain their own inner strength, confidence and self-esteem.
The Barretstown programme is backed by leading medical specialists as a valuable part in a child’s recovery from serious illness. Funding comes from individuals and from institutions. Although the programme is based at Barretstown castle in Ballymore Eustace, Ireland, Barretstown is very much an international charity and has served over 11,000 children from 22 European countries since it opened in 1994.
Barretstown hold weekend and summer camps at the castle, and with a 500-acre site, the children can enjoy a range of activities, from horse riding and archery to pottery and story writing.
We support Barretstown for three key reasons:
- Our shared ethos
We like the approach Barretstown has to its work; it’s simple, direct and effective. It’s similar to how we do things here and we like that synergy. Above all, we like the idea of 'serious fun'.
- Personal involvement
The children who benefit from time at Barretstown get this chance because they need it – not because their families can afford it. We do not just raise funds, we go to Barretstown and get our hands dirty, painting cottages, planting trees and generally working to help enhance the Barretstown site. We also work with the Barretstown staff on a volunteer basis to help the children and their families.
- International focus
Barretstown works with children from 22 countries spanning Europe and beyond. It was founded by the actor Paul Newman and is a part of the Hole in the Wall organisation, which has 15 camps around the world. As an international legal practice, we understand how global organisations work and we can offer the benefit of our knowledge and contacts in over 40.
Our involvement with Barretstown is physical, and that doesn't happen often with lawyers. We work as volunteers and we raise funds for them. We help them with contacts in other countries and have advised them on property and other legal issues.
The opportunities for involvement are tremendous and a number of teams and individuals from our offices have volunteered as “Caras” for the charity (“Cara” is the Irish word for friend). During summer camps, Caras share cottages with the children and look after them. Each cottage team is made up of four Caras and is responsible for up to 10 children, in any one cottage. Throughout the day, Caras accompany the children in their activity group to their scheduled activities. They support and encourage the children to participate fully and afterwards to reflect upon their achievements.
We not only volunteer our time as Caras, but we have also been involved in a number of maintainance projects for Barretstown. We helped to transform the cottages that the children stay in on their camps, painting each cottage with a nature theme and we have also maintained their gardens. Barretstown have asked us to lend-a-hand for more maintenance projects this year and we can’t wait to roll up our sleeves.
Through our fundraising initiatives (big and small) as well as our work as volunteers, our staff feel a palpable sense of connection to Barretstown and understand that our commitment is for the long term.
Barretstown is about “serious fun”. It’s not quantifiable, but we think that our contact with them will, over time, help our people to think more creatively.
To find out more about Barretstown, please visit their website.