As part of the charity partner programme for 2021/22, Leinster Rugby has been supporting a number of charities on a monthly basis since the start of the season.

For the month of January, the Bank of Ireland Begin Together programme is in focus.

Begin Together is part of Bank of Ireland’s efforts to support the resilience and recovery of communities across the island of Ireland. The Begin Together Fund provides investment for initiatives that will make a real difference in the places where we live and work.

Last year, Leinster Rugby also shone a light on the Begin Together Fund and the work of Bank of Ireland in the 12 counties of Leinster.

One such grantee which received support in 2021 is Purple House.

It provides cancer support in a community setting, via its drop-in centre including psychological and practical help to those who had, or have, cancer and their families and friends.

The project will provide weekly groups with a qualified counsellor and therapist to support the emotional and mental wellbeing of families of those who have received a cancer diagnosis.

This will help provide the skills and coping strategies to manage the difficult period through and beyond a cancer diagnosis, and to facilitate an improved quality of life.

Jackie Lennon, a Purple House staff member explains that the financial support is a huge help to the organisation.

“Purple House receives approximately 40 per cent of our overall annual funding from the HSE. The remaining 60 per cent has to come from fund raising, donations, and project-based grants. The Begin Together Grant has allowed us to provide vital counselling, and psychological services and practical assistance to those who are living with a cancer diagnosis,” Jackie explains.

All not for profit organisations struggled with Covid-19 as fundraising became nearly impossible. Jackie explains that the impact was far greater than just monetary.

“The Covid pandemic has compounded the mental health of many of our Service Users, as so many are in the high risk category.”

Jackie continued: “This caused an increase in anxiety, isolation, fear and loneliness and necessitated an increase in our counselling services and our hospital transport service.

“So much so that we had to acquire the sessional services of two additional counsellors. Without the financial assistance from Bank of Ireland Begin Together grant we would not have been in a position to reach as many people at a critical time in their lives.”

For the month of January, Leinster Rugby will highlight other projects and causes within the 12 counties of Leinster that have benefitted from the Bank of Ireland Begin Together Fund.

For more information on Purple House and their services, please see the Purple House website.