Lucy is twelve.

She came to Barnardos earlier this year for support with anxiety. She lives with her Mam Sandra, and her little brother Mark, who is only eight, in a room in a shared house. They all sleep on air mattresses. Due to the lack of rental properties on the market at the moment, it was the best living arrangement available to them.


They can’t turn on the heat as it uses too much electricity and Sandra is so worried about being able to pay that bill. She would rather put food on the table so her children don’t go to bed with a rumbling tummy. But then she worries about them sleeping in a cold room… The guilt she feels is so overwhelming.

Across Ireland this Christmas, so many vulnerable families are asking questions like these, as they look ahead with fear and trepidation. It’s unsettling sometimes, that we can’t guarantee what the future will hold, but with your help, we can do our very best to offer hope.

Right now, children like Lucy can see that their parents are stressed. Lucy has said as much during the one-to-one sessions she’s had with her project worker, Cillian. She feels so guilty when she eats her dinner, seeing her poor Mam go without, making excuses like ‘Don’t worry pet, I’m going to have something later!’ Lucy knows that’s not the case. She knows the presses are empty.

Families like Lucy’s see no end in sight to the cost-of-living crisis. The soaring costs and the impossible choices that need to be made by parents and guardians. Choices between heating and eating. Between proper shoes and warm jackets for their children.

Between bills and Christmas presents.


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The scale of the current crisis is immense. In a recent Barnardos survey of parents and guardians we found that almost two-thirds (64%) of them are regularly worrying about being able to provide their children with daily essentials such as food, heat and electricity.

Will you to help rewrite the future for so many vulnerable children. At Barnardos, we feel strongly that no family in Ireland should have to live with the kind of hopelessness and despair that so many are now feeling.

Families are coming to Barnardos when they have nowhere else to turn, and you can help ensure we are here to help them. We never want to turn away from a child who needs help.

Lucy’s Mam, worried about Lucy’s anxiety and with no improvement in sight for their living situation, reached out to Barnardos.

And thanks to supporters like you, we’re working to help them, and other families in similar situations, all across the country.
Both Lucy and Mark are taking part in the Barnardos ‘This is Me’ programme – talking about their emotions and doing mindfulness work to help reduce their anxiety and manage their big feelings. We’re also providing support to Sandra, as she searches for more suitable accommodation. We’re always there to listen when she needs to talk about the situation, to help her realise and understand that she is doing her best. We have provided the family with some cosy blankets and hot water bottles, and some new winter coats to keep them warm.

Of course, these are just some of the ways your gift could have a positive impact. As I’m sure you know, Barnardos carries out a wide range of work for families and children alike, in communities and schools across the country. Each family’s needs are different, and we work with them individually to address and support those needs.

We want every child to have the same opportunities, so they can have the best possible outcomes.

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