Barretstown offers free, specially designed camps and programmes for children and their families living with a serious illness – supported behind the scenes by 24 hour on site medical and nursing care.
All of the children and families come to Barretstown free of charge. Everything, including accommodation, food and medical assistance are provided at no cost to the family.
Barretstown is supported by donations and the fundraising efforts of corporate supporters, individuals and community groups.
Barretstown is recognised as a centre of excellence in childhood cancer care and other serious illnesses. Children are referred to Barretstown based on their medical needs.
Since we first opened our gates in 1994 we have brought the magic of Barretstown to over 85,000 campers.
To rebuild the lives of children affected by serious illness, and their families, through a life changing Therapeutic Recreation programme in a safe, fun, and supportive environment.
Barretstown is a registered charity (CHY10715) in Ireland, RCN 20027759 and is also a registered charity in the UK (Charity No. 1046648) and a registered charity in Spain (Registration No. 28-1373 and NIF G84459064).
We believe that every child with serious illness should enjoy their childhood.
Professionalism: We believe in always achieving professional excellence and working to continually improve the quality of the Barretstown experience for children and their families.
Leadership: We believe in working together to bring about positive change in caring for children affected by serious illness and achieve this by being flexible in our response to changing environments and by implementing those responses in a dynamic and progressive manner.
Caring: We believe our primary concern is the care of children and their families. We are always responsive to their needs and expectations and always engage in open and honest dialogue.
Fun: We believe that fun should be an integral part of what we do. Fun and laughter are key ingredients in improving the lives of those affected by serious illness in childhood.
More than two decades ago, Paul Newman had a vision: imagine if children living with serious illness had the chance to simply be children. To just have fun. So he started a camp where kids could, in his words,“raise a little hell.”
Today, we continue Paul’s legacy as an independently financed and managed camp. Barretstown is a proud member of the SeriousFun Children’s Network, a growing global community of independently managed and financed camps and programs, Paul’s legacy.
Established in 1994, with the generous donation of our 500 acre estate by the Irish Government, Barretstown was the first camp of its kind to be opened outside the USA and the third camp founded by Paul.
We remain the leading provider of Therapeutic Recreation in Europe for children with cancer and other serious illnesses.
Since then we have continued to develop our wonderful site at Barretstown Castle in Co Kildare to become a state of the art, world-class centre for Therapeutic Recreation or as the kids say – “a place where some Serious Fun happens”.
The Therapeutic Recreation programme brings campers through a fun, activity-based process of challenge, success, reflection and discovery.
In 2023, Barretstown took the pledge to support We Act.
We Act is a campaign to celebrate the impact of Ireland's charities and community groups. It elevates the positive stories and acknowledge the remarkable, everyday efforts of thousands of people around the country. It is a collaborative campaign and is supported by The Community Foundation for Ireland RTÉ Does Comic Relief Fund.
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