Dublin star Brennan makes SVP appeal

 Ryan Tubridy with children from St Margaret's National School, Dublin, at the launch of the Society of St Vincent de Paul annual appeal. Picture: Shane O'Neill/Fennells

He may be an All-Ireland champion now, but once Dublin star Ger Brennan was a child receiving help from St Vincent de Paul.

At the group’s Christmas appeal launch, the 28-year-old said the sight of volunteers in his home as a child has left only positive memories.

“I’ve very fond memories of them at Christmas and I feel very fortunate about that,” said Ger, who is from a family of nine.

While admitting he and his friends were “probably little terrors”, Ger said the group “was always so open and helpful and encouraging”.

He said it is vital that the public continues to support the charity.

While its ensure children enjoy the holiday season, the charity also ensures the stresses on parents can be lessened at one of the most expensive times of the year, he said.

SVP spend doubles as state aid slumps

The amount of money St Vincent de Paul spends on providing “direct assistance” to families in need has almost doubled since 2007 — at the same time as state funding for the charity has slumped 12%.

Figures revealed at the charity’s annual Christmas fundraising appeal launch show despite a surge in demand for support services, government help is receding.

According to SVP, between 2007 and 2011 — the latest figures available — the amount of money the group poured into direct help for families rose from €24m to €42m.

Over the same period, various direct aid grants from government bodies fell from €11.2m to €10m — a 12% drop.

St Vincent de Paul vice-president Tom MacSweeney said the figures showed the need for the public to continuing donating to the group.

He said that this Christmas more than 150,000 families nationwide will receive toys, food, clothes, and heating assistance as part of the charity’s annual Christmas fundraising drive — and insisted this would not be possible without private donations.

“We depend almost entirely on donations from the public and corporate donors for this work. The generosity of the Irish people to St Vincent de Paul over the years has been outstanding.

“Despite their own difficulties, there are many individuals and organisations that somehow find something to give, and this generosity is absolutely welcomed and essential to support those in great need.”

This year’s annual Christmas drive will run for the next five weeks. Working under the umbrella slogan “we can’t do it alone”, it includes promotional campaigns, bucket collections, social and traditional media advertising.

In addition, a charity version of ‘Oh Holy Night’ from classical-crossover trio Affiniti is on sale for €5 from SVP shops and the iTunes media store, while radio station 2fm is also offering those who donate the chance to win tickets to the Late Late Toy Show.

* For full details on how to donate, See www.svp.ie or phone 01-838-6990.


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