Meet the Winning Entries from 2017

Note: the following content (from 2017) will differ from 2018-submitted content due to the updated criteria for entry into Charity Impact Awards this year.

22q11 Ireland

Registered Charity Number (if applicable):


Tell us about the issue or issues this organisation is tackling and why it matters:
22q11 Ireland is a voluntary parent-led charity supporting families living with 22q11.2 deletion syndrome by providing up-to-date information and research, peer support and engaging directly with clinicians to develop integrated care for children with 22q. The syndrome is a multi-disciplinary disorder caused by the deletion of a small piece of chromosome 22 and can have over 180 symptoms such as heart defects, immune issues, palate & feeding problems, speech & language delays, learning difficulties, emotional, behavioural & social issues and a high risk of developing psychiatric disorders.


How does it go about tackling these issues?
Through education, research, outreach & advocacy, we raise awareness among health care professionals. We provide families with current accurate information allowing informed decisions when prioritising treatment. We network with families & clinical experts, & organise national conferences to distribute latest evidence. No multi-disciplinary clinic or co-ordinated care strategy exists for those with 22q11.2DS. We currently engage with a large group of specialist clinicians to co-create a clinic offering centralised health services to patients. We work to secure funding for ongoing research.


Everyone loves a good story. Tell us about a case where the organisation has made a positive difference:
The YEEP (Young Experts by Experience Panel) research project sought to offer a system for young people living with 22q11DS to communicate their lived experience and service recommendations to parents, educators, researchers, service providers & policy makers. It supported the development of mental health resilience by allowing young adults to share their mental health challenges & recovery. The group provides a support network for young adults with 22q11.2DS along with providing critical insights for parents & caregivers. Key findings included that participation increased the protective factor of mental health awareness and literacy; decreased risk factors of social isolation & stigma and increased protective factors of belonging and confidence; increased acceptance of having 22q11.2DS.


What has the overall impact of this work been?:
People with 22qDS will see multiple specialists & experience ongoing physical, mental & social care needs over their life span. Increased awareness means professionals are better educated about 22q & related symptoms, quality of care is improving, children are being referred and seen by specialists that are now communicating with each other in ways they weren’t before improving our children’s lives.

What makes this organisation special?:

We are now 10yrs old. Our work has been wholly voluntary with no paid staff & enabled by parent fundraising. We bring 22q specialists to Ireland annually to give parents accurate up-to-date research & information. Our parents have become experts & educate professionals about the condition. We have hosted both an international & European conference. We have developed a solid network of peer-to-peer support for each other nationally & internationally. Our chairperson recently won a Global Genes Champion of Hope for her international advocacy work. We are recognised globally as a dynamic, pro-active parent-led organisation that sets achievable goals. We are involved in Irish research projects & collaborating with clinicians on the development of coordinated care for children with 22qDS.

How can the public support this work?:

Supporting us on social media & within the health care profession will raise awareness of this condition. Contributing funds & resources to us allows us continue to support families & drive research into the impact of the condition on our young people & their families. Supporting families in their own communities with greater understanding of challenges helps lessen feelings of isolation.


How is the organisation transparent & accountable?:
We are on the Adoption Journey for the Governance Code for Type B organisations to reflect best practice for Community, Voluntary & Charitable Organisations. Financial controls & procedures are reviewed by our external auditors annually. The board of the organisation comprises service users with expertise in the area and accounts are presented at regular board meetings and monitored closely.


Votes received (in addition to judging process): 4,134


Darndale Belcamp Village Centre – Golden Years Senior Centre


Registered Charity Number (if applicable):


Tell us about the issue or issues this organisation is tackling and why it matters: ​

Golden Years services for older people established in 2008, with the provision of home maintenance services for older people (then known as Care and Repair). ​​n and loneliness amongst older people living in our community.

How does it go about tackling these issues?:

Golden Years offers many services to improve the lives of older people, including: Full Day-Care, Access to Primary Care Services, Chiropody, Daily Hot Meals, Transport to and from the Centre, Friendly Calls, Outreach Support, Home Visits, Day Trips, Social Outings, Men’s Group, Women’s Group, Courses, Classes and the most recent addition to our service: Handy Helpers; a home maintenance and de-cluttering service aimed at older people to help maintain a comfortable and happy home. All our staff are experienced and Garda vetted. Currently, we have 1,111 older people registered with our service.

Everyone loves a good story. Tell us about a case where the organisation has made a positive difference:

In 2009, we carried out a survey in the community to identify needs. One of the main needs that were not being addressed in a community considered by many as a “young community”, were services for older people. Based on this survey, we began the process to develop the Golden Years service. Our vision was always a senior complex for our older residents to call their own and in 2014, this vision was realised. We were gifted a fantastic building to develop into what is now Golden Years Senior Centre. In 2016, we extended the centre to accommodate an additional 100 day-care places per-week. We now provide full day-care to over 200 members per-week and also have a drop-in service for members who regularly drop in to have a chat, cup of tea or to enjoy one of our classes or weekly activities.

What has the overall impact of this work been?:

We provide full day-care to 200 older people per-week. The centre is open 50 weeks of the year and to date, we have made 6,344 Home Visits, carried out 13,148 Hours of Home Maintenance, made 8,570 Care Calls and hosted 617 events for older people living within our community. Our service ensures the needs of older people are met and year on year we are seeing our membership grow.

What makes this organisation special?:

Golden Years Senior Centre is a non-medical model of support for older people. We believe in bringing in our members for a fun-filled day of activities and giving them an opportunity to socialise, meet new people and enjoy themselves. We have had members tell us that Golden Years is their second home and they would never want to leave. The work we do in Golden Years is incredibly rewarding and we believe that our service ensures older people can continue to live securely, socially and independently in their own community.

How can the public support this work?:

We hold regular fundraising events, donations to Golden Years are greatly appreciated. We love having volunteers in the centre to help with the day-t0-day work and we love having new visitors in to see the centre and get a first-hand look at what we do. Finally, share our story and follow us/like us on social media and help Darndale Belcamp Village Centre raise our profile!

How is the organisation transparent & accountable?:

We are compliant with the following: Charities Regulator, SORP, Code of Good Governance, ISO 9001 standards for quality management. We publish our annual accounts each year online and in our Annual Report – you can find the most recent edition here:

​Votes received (in addition to judging process): ​2,805



Registered Charity Number (if applicable):


Tell us about the issue or issues this organisation is tackling and why it matters:

Barnardos supports children whose well-being is under threat. We work to improve the lives of children who face barriers in reaching their full potential – barriers like poverty, abuse, neglect or bereavement. ​

We operate over 40 Barnardos Centres in communities that are often characterised by deprivation, substance abuse, unemployment, early school leaving, homelessness and housing problems. We strive to; • Increase emotional well-being • Improve learning and development Barnardos’ work is about helping children make the most of their lives, regardless of their situation.

How does it go about tackling these issues?:

We try to “embed” our services in communities where economic disadvantage adversely affects children. You won’t find Barnardos on a neon sign, our aim is to enable families to seek support without stigmatising them. Through our Family Support Service we work in an intensive capacity with children and parents. In our Early Intervention Services we work with children from 2 years of age on a daily basis in our specialist centres. We also provide Teen Parent Support, Bereavement Counselling, a Post Adoption Support Service and a Guardian Ad Litem Service.

Everyone loves a good story. Tell us about a case where the organisation has made a positive difference:

25 years ago, though she didn’t know it at the time, Bella and her mother were only a week away from being evicted. Isolated and overwhelmed, her mother heard about the Toy Library in a nearby Barnardos Project. While there, a Project Worker asked the question that would turn their lives around: “Are you alright?” Bella says they were offered a lifeline that day and soon after she enrolled in the Barnardos Early Years’ Service. As Bella could attend Barnardos every day it gave her mother the opportunity to return to work and a sense of independence. With Barnardos support they applied for social housing and secured a home. They celebrate the anniversary of their first night in that home every year since. Every day, Barnardos works with families like Bella’s across Ireland.

What has the overall impact of this work been?:

Our work with children focuses on social and emotional wellbeing; their ability to express and regulate their emotions and to reach their developmental milestones. Our work with parents strengthens the parent-child relationship. We work to improve awareness of child development, attachment and the ability to manage crises. In 2016, Barnardos worked with 14,163 children and parents/carers.

What makes this organisation special?:

Barnardos understands the positive, long term impact that early intervention can have on children and families who are struggling. The aim is to intervene and break negative patterns and to overcome the challenges that a child may face in a chaotic environment. Our programmes are developed to build the child’s resilience in spite of their circumstances. We recognise that parents and carers are the most important people in a child’s world. When we work with a child we always seek to work with the family as well, to empower them and to help them to address their own problems. We believe in the transformative impact family support can have on the life of a child and the ability of a family to thrive. As Bella said – “It takes a village…but my mum didn’t have that. She had Barnardos.”

How can the public support this work?:

• As shop volunteers in one of our 7 shops • By donating or volunteering during our National Collection Day • As older volunteers in our Wizard of Words literacy programme • As parent and baby volunteers in our Roots of Empathy school programme • You can also support us through our retail partners Applegreen

How is the organisation transparent & accountable?:

We publish our financial accounts annually and have always done so. They are prepared in accordance with the Charities Statement of Recommended Practice (SORP) in the absence of statutory reporting standards for charities in Ireland. Our annual reports dating back to 2000 are available on our website. We have always lodged our reports with the Companies Registration Office.

Votes received (in addition to judging process): ​2,123


​Derek McCabe

Charity / Organisation they are associated with:


Tell us about your organisation and what it does :

Extern is the leading social justice charity on the island of Ireland. We strive for an inclusive & fair society; keeping children & families together; reducing offending & the impact of offending on victims & the community; that people have

somewhere to live & that people we work with are better equipped to make a contribution to their community. We believe everyone can make a positive contribution to society. Last year we supported over 15,000 people.

Tell us a bit about your nominee’s involvement in the organisation :

Derek McCabe is Chair of Extern Group, Extern Supporting Communities & Extern Ireland & Director of Extern Northern Ireland. A civil engineering graduate, he was appointed by Chief Justice of the Supreme Court as a Commissioner for Oaths. He got involved with Extern when he decided to use his professional skills to help people who found themselves living on the margins of society. Having seen an ad for new Extern Board Members in 2008 he applied. He was appointed to the Extern Ireland & Extern Organisation Boards. He has since served in many roles, giving freely of his time to help others.

What special qualities and skills does your nominee bring to their role as charity trustee?:

Derek brings clear leadership; a commitment to transparent & good governance; compassion; accountability & a belief that Extern’s clients should expect the same level of service delivery no matter their circumstances. He plays a key role in enabling staff to live our values every day as professionals who are Life Changing, Bringing Solutions, Forward Looking, Delivering Quality and Trustworthy.

How has their involvement made a positive impact on the organisation and for people it serves?:

Derek brings professionalism & structure to our Governance. Ensuring adherence to the Code of Good Governance. He has: Led a major restructuring, 2014 Trained all Trustees re their legal and collective responsibilities Led a review of governance & board effectiveness Created a Governance Action Plan using an ILM framework Helped create Extern’s Governance Manual Led out on our strategy Under the new structures organised by Derek, we were able to support over 15,000 people last year. That’s 4,000 more than the year before. And we’ll reach more this year. We’re proud of that very real impact.

Everyone loves a good story. Tell us about an incident that sums up your nominee :

It’s hard to think of a specific incident that sums up Derek. Rather it’s that he is always there providing support. Quietly spoken & happy to stay in the background, he takes part in fundraisers – this year he ziplined across the River Lagan – & also turns up at our events across the country, am & pm. From ensuring Trustees meet service users & hear more about why Extern is needed, to enabling more women & young people to consider a Trustee role, Derek is simply a genuine & committed all-rounder who trusts in people, believes that second chances matter, & who is ambitious for our clients.

How is the organisation transparent & accountable?:

Extern publishes its accounts & annual reports each year. The Trustees confirm that the Annual report & financial statements comply with the requirements of the Trust’s governing document, the Companies Act 2014 & have been prepared in accordance with Accounting & Reporting by Charities SORP, applicable to charities preparing their accounts in accordance with the FRS 102.

Votes received (in addition to judging process): 2,371

George And Mary Sugrue

Charity / Organisation associated with Hero:

Chernobyl Children International

Period Hero has been volunteering for:

20 years

Biography / details:

Husband and wife team, George and Mary, have been volunteering with Chernobyl Children International for over 20 years. Through their advocacy and hard work they founded and single-handedly run the Chernobyl Children International Dental Programme.

Each year they drive over 3,000kms to provide high standard dental care to children who have been abandoned to Children’s Mental Asylums. This year, they have expanded their programme with a mobile dental unit which is used to treat terminally ill children on CCI’s Hospice and Palliative Care Programme reaching almost 200 children with life-limiting illnesses. They have assisted in the delivery of over €105million in humanitarian aid to Belarus and have subsequently travelled with convoys of aid to ensure its safe delivery. 2017 marked their 21st and 19th convoy respectively that they have been involved with for CCI.

They are so dedicated that they have even bought an ambulance and built a warehouse in their garden which they fill with aid supplies throughout the year for children left languishing in institutions across Belarus. They have actively reunited numerous children with their biological families and most recently have started looking for a foster home for a young girl, whose biological family are not a viable option. They have directly saved the lives of many children, reuniting them with families and offering them a future of hope and freedom.

Charity Impact Awards

The Awards promote best practice and increase awareness of the significance and role of the nonprofit sector in Irish society.

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