The Safe Haven Christmas Appeal aims to raise vital funds to help Extern offer a Safe Haven to some of the most vulnerable children and young people in our communities during the Christmas period and into 2022. 

Extern currently operates four main respite centres offering emergency accommodation and support for young people who may be facing acute crisis.  Kinnahalla Youth Village, in Co Down; Roscor Youth Village, in Co Fermanagh; Savannah House in Co Kildare; and The Haven in Co Roscommon support children who are at risk from domestic violence or abuse, or who have nowhere to live due to a family breakdown or emergency. Together, the sites offer a total of almost 5,000 overnight stays to young people every year. 

How your funds will help

Funds raised by the appeal – will help a young person in crisis experience the little extras that will make their stay at a Safe Haven special, and give them the opportunity to be a child again this Christmas. 

Those wishing to support the appeal this December can make a donation online or in person at one of Extern’s offices, or by organising a Christmas Jumper Party to fundraise with friends, at their place of work, or even virtually. 

Alternatively, Extern and its charity partner Ulster Rugby are encouraging supporters to offer the ‘Gift of Sport’ by donating items of sportswear or sporting equipment. These will ensure that children staying at the Safe Havens will benefit from the power of sport to change lives.  

Why your support is needed

Statistics* have shown that over 23,000 children in Northern Ireland were known to Social Services as a child in need by March of this year, while over 32,000 children were referred to Social Services during 2020/21. 

And in the Republic of Ireland, over 5,800 children were in care across Ireland at the end of September 2021, while there were almost 12,400 reports of abuse against children for the first nine months of this year. 

Lucy** is just one of the many young people who have been helped by Extern over the past year. She said: “Staying at one of Extern’s Safe Havens gave me a break from what was going on at home. It helped me see that life could be brighter because I was made to feel important, and that I mattered. I could have a bed to sleep in and my own bedroom. I could go to sleep, and stay asleep because I didn’t have to be afraid. I would encourage anyone to think of me and support the Extern Safe Haven Appeal. The difference you can make in a child’s life in getting them to believe in themselves is priceless.” 

Danny McQuillan, CEO of Extern, said: “Sadly, many children and young people will be facing significant crisis in their lives this Christmas. They may be living in a home where a meal is never guaranteed, or where drug and alcohol abuse or domestic violence are an everyday reality. The Covid pandemic has made these kinds of issues so much worse, as every problem they have faced has been magnified greatly. 

“Our Safe Havens will be open throughout the holidays to provide a place of welcome and a team to begin to care for them. With your help we can ensure they are welcomed into a warm and cosy environment. We’ll take the time to help them relax and begin to talk, while ensuring they have the opportunity to have some fun being a child again. 

“Your donation will help us give a Safe Haven to some of the most vulnerable children and young people in our country this Christmas. And, you’ll show them there are people out there who truly care about them.” 

How to donate

Donations to the Safe Haven Christmas Appeal can be made through www.extern.org and by following @ExternCharity via social media.  


*Sources:  

https://www.health-ni.gov.uk/sites/default/files/publications/health/child-social-care-20-21.pdf 

https://www.tusla.ie/uploads/content/Monthly_Service_Performance_and_Activity_Report_Sep_2021_Final_V1.0.pdf 

 

**Alias used for confidentiality