Jack and Jill CEO Carmel Doyle writes about how Covid-19 has impacted the charity & how her team have had to get creative.
Being the CEO of a charity is stressful at the best of times but, since the arrival of Covid-19, that stress has multiplied. The impact on our fundraising calendar is devastating, with everything cancelled overnight and our shops closed. We are projecting a shortfall of €500,000 for the year, with this pandemic wiping over €1 million off our fundraising income.
Thankfully, our Incognito art initiative is still going strong. We quickly managed to switch this art sale from gallery to online and were stunned, in a good way, when the first collection sold out in 15 minutes in April. Now this week, we are hoping for a repeat success, when our second collection of 977 originals, all postcard size, all kindly donated to Jack & Jill, go on sale at 10am for €50 each this Thursday 28th May.
The twist for buyers is that they won’t know the artist until after the sale, as everything is done incognito. There’s lots of online speculation about which one is the Una Sealey, the Vincent Devine, the Guggi or the Bruce Springsteen and the value to be had for €50 is clear to see, with browsing free at Incognito.ie
What we’ve managed to do is turn art into a currency for home nursing care. That artwork funds vital home nursing care and end of life service our 340 extra special children and their families around the country. These are children up to the age of five, with a range of neurodevelopmental issues including brain injury, genetic diagnosis and severe cerebral palsy. Precious children who may never walk or talk or paint a picture themselves, but children who do better at home, despite all the uncertainty.
While the number under our wing remains the same, the way that care is delivered has been tailored to suit our families. For about a third, home visits continue. For the remainder, those in self-isolation, our specialist children’s nurses provide support by phone, text, video calls and even conversations over garden walls. Our priority is to stay connected.
So that extra stress I’m feeling right now; that uncertainty, isolation, fear of infection and uncomfortable feeling about what the future holds, that is the daily reality of our Jack & Jill families, pre Covid-19. There is a resilience amongst our families that is reflected right back on our nursing and fundraising team, giving us a real sense of purpose and determination.