Today, an award of €70,000 funding from the Toy Show Appeal is very good news indeed for children with additional needs and their families in Dublin’s North East Inner City.
Parenting 365, a programme delivered by the Early Learning Initiative (ELI) at National College of Ireland (NCI) is one of the projects selected by Community Foundation Ireland to receive funding from RTE’s 2021 Late Late Toy Show Appeal.
Denise Charlton, CEO of Community Foundation Ireland said: “The generosity of all who have contributed to the RTÉ Toy Show Appeal has had a very real impact on communities across Ireland. Young lives are being transformed. Not only are supported projects providing basic and essential needs, they also bring colour and joy to children and their families.”
The 2021 Toy Show Appeal received generous match-funding from Revolut for those who donated via the app, as well as a personal donation of €1m from co-founder of Revolut, Vlad Yatsenko. Earlier this month, Mr Yatsenko visited a Parenting 365 toddler group to see for himself some of the impact made by the Appeal: children and families thriving thanks to early intervention.
Dr Josephine Bleach, Director of the Early Learning Initiative at NCI said: “ELI’s existing work in the community had identified the need for a programme specifically targeting children with additional needs and their families. It was thanks to Toy Show Appeal funding that we were able to launch Parenting 365, and we’re so grateful to RTE, The Community Foundation Ireland, Revolut, and Vlad Yatsenko specifically, and for the generosity of so many Late Late Toy Show viewers.”
Vlad Yatsenko said: “It’s a privilege to witness first-hand the impact that donations to the RTE Toy Show Appeal are having in the lives of young children and their families. I was amazed by the generosity of Irish people on the night of the Toy Show, but it’s even more powerful when you then get to see that money being put to such wonderful use. I hope everyone who donated to the Toy Show Appeal understands just how much that means to the children of Ireland.”
Speaking to Mr Yatsenko during his visit, Louise Costello, mother of James Garraghan, said: ''The programme has been amazing for James, playing with the different toys has helped his gross and fine motor skills. Seeing other children has developed his social skills, he has learnt how to share and take turns. The singing and the interaction with the team has helped his communication. I can't stress enough how important these weeks have been. We can definitely see a change in James. Having both parents able to attend was amazing. I just hope that another programme is run.''
Jennifer O’Neill, Parenting 365 Coordinator said: “The impact of this programme has been remarkable. Children have come out of their shells and have made friends. There is a marked development in their skills, communication and confidence. Siblings also attend, and we would also notice really strong engagement from fathers as well as from mothers on this programme. Whole families have benefited. And now, thanks to this funding announcement, we know we can continue for another year!”
Photo by Sasko Lazarov, Photocall Ireland: Vlad Yatsenko speaks with Louise Costello and her son James Garraghan – in the background CEO of Community Foundation Ireland, Denise Charlton, and President of NCI, Gina Quin