In our last charity news update, we informed you about two of our four grant recipients from our August Grant Making Committee Meeting; Autism Assistance Dogs Ireland, and the Marie Keating Foundation. This issue, we wanted to share the inspirational work of our other grant recipients, National Infertility Support and Information Group – Ireland, and Acquired Brain Injury Ireland.
The National Infertility Support and Information Group Ireland (NISIG) is a voluntary organisation that was founded back in 1996, and are due to celebrate their 25th anniversary next year. It was started by a group of people who wanted to establish contact with others who understood their grief when it comes to infertility, and recognised the importance of addressing the matter.
NISIG’s efforts are mostly driven towards empowering people to contemplate real choices and guide them through their fertility journey. They do so through offering memberships which provide those struggling with infertility with access to support meetings.
These meetings and events are held in Dublin, Cork, Limerick and Portlaoise, and provide a confidential environment for people to come together as a community to seek information and support based on shared experiences.
In our recent grant-making meeting, it was determined that the NISIG team were to be awarded €13,000. With the funds from this grant, the charity is planning to run a number of events in the coming months, including a family conversation event, workshops around open disclosure of a donor child’s origins, as well as general mental health and wellbeing workshops. Additionally, they are also hoping to hold a Family Fun Day, something they feel is particularly needed in these challenging times.
Upon catching up with the charity’s Administration and Funding Officer, Gillian Keegan, she mentioned the significance of hosting these workshops and events for those suffering from infertility. She believed that these activities are far more beneficial than counselling, due to the fact that you are surrounded
by people experiencing the same difficulty.
The relationship that The Hospital Saturday Fund has with the NISIG is longstanding, as we have also supported the charity previously. Gillian mentioned how hugely grateful they were to us for our support, especially with fundraising for their cause being extremely difficult. She put this struggle down to the fact that infertility is still considered somewhat taboo, being an extremely private and personal matter for couples and their families.
Covid-19 has brought about various challenges too. We have seen the closure of a number of fertility clinics, and it has also become impossible for couples to access countries like Ukraine to collect their longed-for adopted children. There has been a silver lining due to the Covid situation, though, where Gillian explained that Zoom meetings have been constructive. This has particularly helped towards making couples feel comfortable to discuss sensitive matters, through being able to do so from the comfort of their own homes.
Acquired Brain Injury Ireland Acquired Brain Injury Ireland
(ABII) is the leading provider of community-based neuro-rehabilitation services for people living with an acquired brain injury in Ireland. They have 16 assisted living residential centres across the country, supporting people to live semi-independently and rebuild their lives.
Since the charity’s inception in 2000, its approach has been towards championing each person’s Individual Rehabilitation Plan (IRP). The IRP is a neuro-rehabilitation programme that is delivered by a multi-disciplinary team, and is provided through a number of services and support mechanisms. As well as providing a bespoke IRP, ABII also recognises that biological, psychological and social factors must all be considered to ensure successful rehabilitation.
Additional services that the organisation provides consists of:
• Support for those with brain injuries and their families through training, advocacy and practical help.
• Providing information for those with an acquired brain injury, their carers and healthcare professionals
• Advocating for better investment in brain injury supports and solutions
• Raising awareness within the community.
In August, The Hospital Saturday Fund awarded €13,500 to ABII. This came about after Jonathan Power, the charity’s Head of Fundraising, approached us explaining that they needed support towards the purchase of a car with wheelchair accessibility. This was intended for one of their rehabilitation centres that is situated in Offaly.
Jonathan also told us about one of the biggest challenges for brain injury survivors; re-engaging with society. This factor makes it very clear why there is such a great need for this new accessible car.
Currently, they only have one vehicle, meaning that residents are often missing out on appointments and opportunities to socialise due to not being able to leave the premises without the necessary transport and support. Typically, ABII also put a lot of effort into their fundraising events, but, of course, Covid-19 has taken away these critical opportunities to raise money.
By being able to purchase this new vehicle, there are many positive resulting outcomes for residents. It will mean that they are able to participate in activities such as shopping, going to the bank, meeting people and attending appointments, all of which reduce feelings of isolation. The broader community will also benefit from the new vehicle, where brain injury survivors within the area will also be able to use it to get to various support groups.
To learn more about National Infertility Support and Information Group – Ireland, visit: nisig.com
To learn more about Acquired Brain Injury Ireland, visit: abiireland.ie