Supporting Vulnerable Families Throughout Ireland During Covid-19: The basis.point and Irish Funds Emergency Relief Fund
This is a sponsored article.
Setting their sights on a new fundraising target of €200,000 the basis.point and Irish Funds team aim to take their support of vulnerable families nationwide. With no fixed end to the COVID-19 pandemic in sight, lending support to families and young people who really need it, becomes ever more persistent. In many ways the virus has shrunk our world, but the extent to which the Irish Funds industry has embraced the basis.point and Irish Funds initiative to protect and support vulnerable families, is uplifting. The need is great, and the commitment of charity partners has been inspirational, so they are asking their community to dig deep, and get creative in their support of the fund.
The basis.point and Irish Funds Covid-19 emergency relief fund was set up quickly, in direct response to the needs of the most vulnerable in society. The appeal has raised over €160,000, continues to grow and is now financially contributing to 9 different programmes being run throughout the country. Their work with charities supporting the educational needs of children and young people from disadvantaged communities, enables them to quickly identify those families that need support. The staff of many of our charity partners are in the privileged position of personally knowing the young people and their families. This allows the team at basis.point to gather feedback on the issues arising from the lockdown and where best to target efforts.
Baby Evelyn (8 mths) playing with the ELI My Place To Play, playmat set.
Baby Evelyn (8 mths) playing with the ELI My Place To Play, playmat set.


Funding community programmes that support vulnerable families
The Covid-19 emergency fund is already dispersing funds to a range of programmes aimed at alleviating the issues of food and hygiene poverty, mental health and emotional well-being, access to technology, and families living with homelessness.

Already, as a result of the Emergency Relief Fund:
- Young parents living in temporary accommodation are receiving daily telephone support and safe, clean transportable play mats through the Early Learning Initiative. Your support has made it possible for the home visitors to continue to support families remotely in Dublin Docklands, Dublin North Inner City, Ballinasloe, Co Galway and County Louth.

- More than 100 age appropriate activity packs for children isolating in their temporary accommodation hubs, will start being delivered next week provided by the Peter McVerry Trust.

- Over 100 children and families across the country – will continue to have care packages and support through Barnardos, many are living with domestic abuse, parental mental health challenges, neglect, family breakdown and addiction – now with no escape.

"I'm astounded that you're thinking of us after all this time. It's good to know that there's someone to call. I can't believe it... all those years after Adrienne visiting, you're still there. Keep us on the list!" Parent in the ELI programme

Commenting on the selection of programmes Edel O’Malley, CEO of basis.point explained: “ We have looked at both established and grass roots charity initiatives. The common thread has been choosing organisations that believe passionately in what they are doing and demonstrate an extraordinary degree of empathy for the communities that they are supporting.”

Tackling food and nutritional poverty
An example of such commitment is Good Grub, which has its roots in the back garden of founder Denis O’Reilly. Denis persuaded a friend to donate half a ton of fresh fruit and veg. Together with family members, they packaged it up and delivered parcels to DEIS schools in the Dublin area to supplement the government provided €10/week food parcels.

- 26 vulnerable families are already receiving weekly food parcels through the Belvedere Youth Club. In some cases, where there are no kitchen facilities this is happening daily.

- 200 marginalised families in the Limerick area, will be receiving food and hygiene hampers along with activity packs through the Limerick Youth Service Centre.

- 2000 families will receive a week supply of fresh fruit and veg through Good Grub.

“The support we’ve had from organisations such as basis.point has been just inspirational,” says Denis O’Reilly, founder of Good Grub. “Now we want to keep going and deliver fresh fruit and veg to families right around Ireland who are missing out on vital nutrition during the Covid19 crisis.”

Increasing access to technology
Significant numbers of the most vulnerable young people do not have access to laptops, tablets or even smartphones and the large educational gap and social isolation that already exists between them and other young people is widening every day.

- 35 Laptops are being delivered to DEIS School Students so they can continue their studies in these very uncertain times as part of the Tech2Students campaign with Camara.

- 800+ bespoke care packages to the most vulnerable young people in communities across Ireland, but with a particular focus on Cork, tailored by foroige to the specific needs of the young person and their family.
Foróige staff ready to deliver care packages to young people and their families.
Foróige staff ready to deliver care packages to young people and their families. (click)

Transitioning from homelessness during Covid-19
Perhaps the most exposed and vulnerable of all, are those young families struggling to break the cycle of homelessness, many of whom have complex needs.

Thanks to the fund, in partnership with Focus Ireland, additional families will receive expert case management and the services of the new family service centre in Dublin city centre. Many of these families have complex needs and we hope to be able to help them transition into new homes where they can stay home and self-isolate without these additional anxieties.

Charity partners continue to deliver their services with support from the Emergency Fund
Basis.point charity partners are relying on contributions to keep delivering their services to support vulnerable families over the coming months. Indeed, maintaining these programmes, providing a degree of socially distanced contact with vulnerable families may prove invaluable over the long term in maintaining the mental health of vulnerable children.

"In the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is critical that we can put supports in place to ensure that children, young people and families who are already impacted by homelessness are not disproportionately impacted by the new crisis. We are very grateful to basis.point and the Irish Funds Industry for their generosity and support which will ensure we can protect and respond to the most vulnerable at this time." Pat Doyle, CEO Peter McVerry Trust

Across the board, the basis.point community have been quick to engage with the industry wide appeal.

“We are really encouraged by the support from both individuals and our Corporate Patron community, with many companies making donations or organising virtual fundraising initiatives ranging from 5km runs to photography competitions and virtual bingo. Thank you to everyone who has got involved. It’s great to see the community pulling together.” Clive Bellows, Chairperson, basis.point.


Going further – reaching the €200,000 goal
The industry wide appeal has achieved a great deal, but the need is far greater than originally anticipated. To avoid the vulnerable in society suffering and to help with recovery and resilience, basis.point and Irish Funds recognise the need to do more. This extra funding is crucial to the continuing delivery of services that for many vulnerable families, make life tolerable.

“The thousands of people who work in the funds industry living all over Ireland are fortunate to have been able to keep working with their firms and contributing to the economy since Covid-19 struck. But this crisis has really hit the communities we are at part of, so it is only right that we try and do our part. The response to date has been phenomenal and we hope it will make a difference and ease some of the stresses on young people and families around the country.” Pat Lardner, Chief Executive, Irish Funds

For more information visit the basis.point website or you can donate directly here.