This is our bed

This is our bed

He couldn’t remember living somewhere where he didn’t have to ask to leave a room. He didn’t know how to behave in his own home.

This image is so powerful; it shows children in a cosy home setting. It’s the perfect representation of love, warmth, safety and security; a scene that many take for granted.

Crucially, our work always comes back to children like the ones in this photo. Parents work incredibly hard to shield their children from the effects and stress of homelessness. They want to make sure their children still have the best chance. We work with parents to make sure these children don’t fall behind in school, that they don't become stressed or develop problems with nutrition. If families are in a hotel room eating a meal together on the bed every day, this becomes the normal day to day routine for a child and that is not how family life should be.

One of our customers fought for almost a year to get out of emergency accommodation and into a home. When this finally happened, her youngest child kept asking permission to go upstairs. He couldn’t remember living somewhere where he didn’t have to ask to leave a room. He didn’t know how to behave in his own home.

For me, this photograph conveys the hope that we try to give to people. We stand in their corner. We act as their champion and we stick with them so they can build a safe and secure home for themselves and their children.

Rachel Murphy, Co-Director of Fundraising at Focus Ireland

Keeping sisters close

Keeping sisters close

I have become so used to seeing certain little faces coming into us. It’s almost like having extended family members around. The whole idea is to keep the kids together and to keep families close

Shannon is almost one and has been with us since she was bornBefore her birth, her family knew that their baby would have a heart condition, preventing them from bringing her home to live with her parents and siblings.

These sisters do not have a normal relationship, as a little girl and her baby sister should. For a long time, Rihanna couldn’t really touch Shannon, or hug her. But during the time that the girls spent here together, I saw a bond developing between them. I watched how fond they were becoming of one another.

Rihanna is nine now, she is such a lovely little girl. She gets so excited to see her little sister, at the weekends and during school holidays. At the start, Shannon wasn't really aware of what was happening around her. But Rihanna was so patient, she would just sit by her side and chat and talk to her baby sister.

I think Rihanna sees me as the fun one; she likes to come and see me, because she knows I am the one who has the key to the toy box! But through this, we often end up chatting, talking about school and stuff like that. I can tell she is happy to be here with her family.

It’s very hard, to see families being separated sometimes. But then when they arrive, the excitement they feel at being brought together again is so positive. We try to focus on the positives of these stories. I have become so used to seeing certain little faces coming into us. It's almost like having extended family members around. The whole idea is to keep the kids together and to keep families close.

Joanne Kiely - Digital Media & Fundraising Administrator at The Ronald McDonald House Charity

In CRC every child is an artist

In CRC every child is an artist

I remember the day he said, “I think today I’d like to draw my hand.” I just thought to myself, oh my God, he’s talking about himself for the first time. I was spellbound

A few years ago, the student in this picture wouldn’t have been able to do that; he would have picked anything to draw rather than himself. He’s in his final year now but initially he wasn’t aware that there was any artistic talent within him - he wasn’t even speaking. Now, he’s in an environment where he feels safe, accepted and nurtured. Gradually, through a holistic approach, he has bloomed into a guy who is ready to leave us this year and move on into adult services. So, for me, this picture shows him coming to terms with his physical disability, and therefore he’s able to take on the world.

I remember the day he said, “I think today I’d like to draw my hand.” I just thought to myself, oh my God, he’s talking about himself for the first time. I was spellbound.

It takes somebody very accepting of themselves; of what they’re able to do, and what they’re not able to do, in life.
It takes somebody like that to create art.

I was 25 years working in mainstream school, and I loved it, but I took a career break and came in to the CRC as a substitute and I just fell in love with it. So I left a permanent, pensionable job to come in and go for a full-time job here. There’s something about social development, the holistic approach they take here, that’s just amazing. I suppose, because many of my students are compromised intellectually, standing in front of me every day are children who need nurturing regarding emotional development, social development, independence development; they need all that.

I take a different perspective on life now.
I’ve changed completely, my personality has bloomed.

I can give much more of myself and I think that’s why I was frustrated working in mainstream school; I was becoming a person who wasn’t very nice; I had to be so cross and strict all the time. Working with the CRC has just made me a better person.

Marie Talty, CRC School Art Teacher