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Connor is a quiet boy. He doesn’t make a fuss. It took an eagle-eyed teacher at school to spot that he was withdrawn and seemed anxious. When she got closer, she noticed that Connor was shivering in his thin clothes. And the poor boy had head lice again.

When she asked him if everything was okay at home, Connor said,

“It’s cold at home. There’s nothing to eat.”

Concerned for nine-year-old Connor’s wellbeing, the Home Liaison Officer at school called Barnardos. And Sarah, from our Family Support team, visited Connor and his family. There was Connor’s mam, Marie, his dad, Paul, and his two younger siblings: little Kian, who’s four, and sweet Molly, who’s six. Paul has a job, earning minimum wage. But his wage has to go a long way.

Will you make a donation today and help make sure we can be there for more children like Connor when they need it most?

The family were struggling to make their limited budget stretch across a complex range of demands, including regular taxi fares to take Connor’s little sister

Molly – who is unable to walk – to her hospital appointments. Costs we might think of as incidental – such as taxis or even a lotion and comb to treat head lice – are simply unaffordable for Connor’s family. To meet those costs, something else must be sacrificed. A few hours of heating for example.

Sarah found that, like so many other Irish families in similar situations, Connor’s mam Marie was having to borrow money towards the end of every month just to keep the family fed – but sadly sending them deeper and deeper into debt.

Marie and her husband Paul often go without meals so that the children can eat. And heating the house and washing clothes and the bed clothes is simply beyond the family’s means.

Donations from people like you could help provide essential food and warm clothes and blankets for children and families like Connor’s, who are hungry and cold.

Sarah provided the family with some food supplies – bread, tea and milk, pasta and cereal, fresh fruit and vegetables – and made sure that all three children had a warm coat and jumper and provided extra blankets for the cold nights.

Then she sat down with Marie and they talked about all the pressures and challenges the family faces. Following those conversations, they made a plan to help build the family’s capacity to function and cope with life’s challenges.

Sarah has also been spending time with Connor. He needed somebody to talk to, who would listen and be there for him. Sarah offers him the emotional and practical support that he needs to be able to develop and sustain positive friendships and reach his potential.

Sadly, this difficult situation is all too common. Children all over Ireland are desperately cold, hungry and isolated this winter – and we must do everything we can to help them.

With the support of generous people like you, our Family Support teams work with vulnerable children like Connor, and their families, to provide them with the support they need to cope and thrive.

Every day, we are seeing the impact and effects of poverty, neglect, disadvantage and violence on children all over Ireland.

And every day we work with these children to help change their lives for the better. But we can’t do it without your help.

Please help transform children’s lives, by making a donation today.

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