Barretstown – a serious fun camp

From the castle to the fields filled with deer, the lake and the woods to the cottages and big dining hall – Barretstown is absolutely bursting with magic.

The only place of its kind in Ireland, it allows seriously sick children have some serious fun. And helps rebuild lives through its incredible life-changing therapeutic programmes.

But in 2020, with the pandemic raging, they had to temporarily shut their gates.

With traditional camps postponed, they quickly innovated and created this amazing online platform called Barretstown Live, to reach out to children and families in their homes and hospital beds all over Ireland.

Bringing a little bit of the Barretstown magic, to them, at a time when they needed it most.

A plan to PRESS PLAY again

It was around then, in April 2021, when Set the Tone first started working with Barretstown.

Playing our small part, in the teams plan to PRESS PLAY again on the lives of sick children, by helping them tell their story. The story of their amazing campers, like Aíne:

And the story of the scale of the challenge they were facing, with a €1.2 million shortfall in funding since COVID-19 began and over 12,000 children and families waiting to experience the magic of their camps.

We asked their supporters for help – and they were incredible. Donating online, posting in gifts and running fundraisers. A whole community came together to help create more magic moments, for children like Áine.

A very special newsletter edition

And then the day thousands had been dreaming of finally came – on the 4th of June 2021, Barretstown gates reopened to welcome campers and their families on-site once again.

It was such an exciting moment. And Set the Tone had the privilege of helping Barretstown, craft a very special edition of their supporters’ newsletter to share the news.

We shared updates from campers like Jimmie, Lucy, Brandon and Eabha…

“From the minute we got there it was just magical. It gave her some of that freedom back… She began to sparkle again, which was the most amazing thing in the world to see.”

– Michelle, Eabha’s mum.

You can read their stories, as well as updates from the incredible Barretstown volunteers, corporate partners, fundraising heroes and supporters here:

The Back to Barretstown Appeal

Over the following months, there was incredible excitement as more and more sick children got the chance to get Back to Barretstown.

But by Autumn there were still over 10,000 children and their families waiting to access their therapeutic camps. So, we worked with the team, to help develop their Back to Barrestown Appeal. A special appeal that asked for the public’s support to help reach more sick children.

And a campaign that celebrated all of the amazing magical moments that campers who’d been back had experienced – like Mila, aged 4, who is currently undergoing treatment for leukaemia. You can just see the excitement written all over her face, as she arrived at camp – one of the first children to make it Back to Barretstown.

And we had the opportunity to share a unique behind the scenes insight into camp life, from volunteer Hugh – you can read his full story here.

Want to sprinkle a little magic?

It’s been an amazing experience to work with Barretstown over the past year. I am in awe of them and the incredible resilience, determination and spirit of their campers and their families.

And of the supporters that make these camps possible – ordinary people from all over Ireland who donate, volunteer and fundraise to make it possible.

Cancer steals the magic and fun from childhood. Barretstown gives it back.

If you’d like to be part of helping sick children rediscover the magic of childhood visit barrestown.org. I can promise you, you’ll make a difference.

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