Barretstown and GSK celebrate 20 years of partnership

Healthcare company GSK has marked 20 years of its partnership with Barretstown, the charity dedicated to helping the families of children affected by cancer and serious illness, with a special "Serious Fun" event at the charity's residential camp in Co. Kildare.



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23 February 2018 | 0

The only thing on the agenda for healthcare company GSK at the Barretstown Camp in Co. Kildare was “Serious Fun” this week, when employees took part in a range of volunteering activities to celebrate a 20-year partnership between the two organisations. Barretstown’s camps are facilities and programmes for children and their families affected by cancer and serious illness. The camps also provide 24 hour medical and nursing care.

Over the past two decades, GSK has provided Barretstown with €8m in funding, which has helped the charity to rebuild the lives of thousands of children who are coping with serious illness and to provide top class family camp facilities, medical assistance and a new hospital outreach programme. Last year, GSK entered into a new €1.2m three-year partnership the Serious Fun Children’s Network (SFCN), which is represented by Barretstown in Ireland.

The latest Serious Fun day saw GSK employees help out around the camp by gardening and painting in preparation for a very special bereavement camp, which offers families who have lost a child through serious illness a supportive environment within which they can spend quality time together. The camp offers the opportunity to share their experience of loss and find ways to look to the journey ahead.

As well as engaging in the day-to-day activities, GSK and its employees have, over the years, also provided essential business expertise and training to the Barretstown team and acted as chaperones and translators on the camping programmes.

Tim O’Dea, director of development at Barretstown points out that the relationship with GSK over the years has gone beyond volunteering. “We have had a volunteering relationship with GSK for 20 years now,” says O’Dea, “but the partnership goes far beyond that. Thanks to our renewed partnership, in 2017 we served more campers than ever. We saw a 5% increase in residential campers at Barretstown and an increase of 14% of campers through our Outreach service which includes our Hospital Outreach Programme (HOP) and Camp in Schools.

“The GSK partnership is one that we are very proud of at Barretstown,” he adds, “and we are delighted to see so many volunteers celebrate our 20th Anniversary at Barretstown today.”

Aidan Lynch, general manager of GSK Ireland adds that Barretstown has a very special place in the hearts of GSK employees. “We wanted to mark our new partnership by doing something that celebrated the spirit of “Serious Fun,'” he says, “Every day GSK employees spend volunteering here makes us proud as an organisation to have made a contribution to Barretstown’s very special mission.”


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