Friday, July 30, 2021

Gordon Deegan

Donations to suicide prevention and bereavement charity, Pieta last year more than doubled to €11.2 million in the best ever fundraising year for the charity.

In a remarkable turnaround for the charity’s finances, Pieta recorded a surplus of €8 million and this followed a loss of €714,728 in 2019 – a positive swing of €8.7 million.

The 2019 loss and the early pandemic impact forced to charity to make a series of cuts in the second quarter of last year including wage reductions up to 30 per cent, redundancies and a cut-back in services.

Also, with the onset of Covid-19, the charity was forced to cancel its flagship fundraising event, the Darkness Into Light walk and turn it into the Darkness Into Sunrise Appeal.

However, driven by an appeal for funding by Ryan Tubridy on the Late Late Show, in 2020 Pieta generated more from its Darkness Into Sunrise fundraising appeal than it did in 2019 when the walk did take place.

By midnight, €2m had been raised and the annual report for Pieta shows that a total of €5.31m was raised from the Darkness into Sunrise appeal in 2020 compared to €5.29m from the Darkness into Sunlight walk in 2019.

Darkness Into Light

Since the Darkness Into Light Walk commenced with 400 people in 2009 in Dublin’s Phoenix Park, Pieta supporters have helped raise almost €29m from the event.

Pieta’s total income for 2020 amounted to a €20.4m – an increase of 53pc on the €13.3m generated in 2019 making 2020 the charity’s best ever financial performance – by some distance – since it was established 15 years ago.

Last year, supporters of the charity raised €16.5m between the €11.2m from donations and the €5.3m from the Darkness into Sunlight appeal.

Due to the success of the Darkness into Sunlight appeal, Pieta was able to retain and redeploy almost all of the clinical support staff who had been at risk of redundancy and was also able to restore staff pay with effect from June, 1st 2020.

Over 80 per cent of Pieta’s activities is funded by the public and chief executive, Elaine Austin said on Friday:“The level of fundraising that we were able to achieve in 2020 is facilitating the recruitment of additional therapists so that we can expand our client hours and services throughout the country, and for this we are hugely grateful for all donations.

“We will continue our work to provide help to our clients and their families in their time of crisis.”

Last year, Pieta delivered over 52,000 hours of suicide intervention/bereavement counselling; over 70,000 crisis support calls and texts were received from people in crisis or distress; over 600 households were directly supported having been bereaved by suicide.

Also, over 50 per cent of clients presenting to Pieta are aged between 13 and 35 years and around 1,000 hours of therapy are provided to people across Ireland each week.

In her report accompanying the annual accounts, Ms Austin described the response to the Darkness Into Sunrise appeal as ‘exceptional’.

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