Barnardos Marks 60 Years Supporting Children in Ireland 

Because Childhood Lasts a Lifetime~

Posted on Wednesday 31 August 2022 in Press Releases

31 August 2022.  This year Barnardos children’s charity marks the monumental milestone of 60 years working with and supporting children and families in Ireland.  Barnardos work in Ireland started in 1962 supporting children and families in Dublin and also in the border counties. Today the charity has grown to become one of Ireland’s largest children’s charitie3 and last year alone Barnardos worked with more than 16,800 children and families across 56 services in communities across Ireland. 

Barnardos CEO Suzanne Connolly said: “Barnardos began its work in Ireland in 1962, our very first project workers started supporting families in Harold’s cross in Dublin.   In the next decade staff numbers grew to 12 and the fondly-remembered Barnardos Bus took to the streets in 1974.  

“The renovated double decker bus was bursting with toys, and had various play areas, a book corner and a kitchen so staff could ensure there were no hungry tummies on board. It became a familiar sight on the streets of Dublin and spent the mornings in Sheriff Street and the afternoons in Fatima Mansions, Rialto.” 

One former service user said: “I was one of the first children on the bus. I’ll always remember the smell of toast when you’d get close to it and the warmth as you’d lift yourself up onto the bus”. 

These days the children’s charity provides family support services, early years, and specialty services such as post adoption support and a children’s bereavement service, across 56 services. Barnardos works with children from birth to eighteen years. Twenty-five per cent of the children attending the charity’s services are aged five and under, 42% are 6-10 years and 33% 11-18 years.   

Barnardos CEO Suzanne Connolly continued: “At Barnardos we know that childhood lasts a lifetime.  While the needs of families have developed and changed over the years Barnardos approach to keep the child at the centre of every decision we have made as an organisation has been steadfast. We want to continue supporting children and families into the future, making sure all young people have the best possible starts in life.” 

The organisation has always adapted and responded to the emerging needs of children and families in Ireland. In 2019 Barnardos adopted a trauma informed approach. The charity has evolved their services and policy work to focus on the impact of adverse childhood experiences on children such as: 

  • Domestic abuse 
  • Child neglect (emotional and physical) 
  • Child abuse (emotional and physical) 
  • Parental mental health 
  • Traumatic separation & bereavement 
  • Parental substance abuse

President of Ireland and Patron of Barnardos Michael D Higgins said "Across the six decades since its foundation, Barnardos has impacted profoundly on the lives of many vulnerable and disadvantaged children and families. Constantly adapting to the needs of an ever-changing Ireland, Barnardos has worked tirelessly to provide a safe environment, a good education, opportunities for development, and support and counselling to young people who are marginalised or at risk. As you mark this 60th anniversary you have much to reflect on with great pride. Your legacy is already an invaluable one. I thank you for your vital work."  


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