An Alternative Way to Support Children and Families this Christmas

This year Barnardos children’s charity is not asking for toys – but for donations to allow the organisation provide more practical gifts for the families they work with. Barnardos ‘Gifts for Good’ are an alternative gift for family or friends this Christmas.

By purchasing a ‘Gift for Good’ on behalf of a loved one in lieu of a present, you are both directly benefiting a child or family Barnardos works with – and your loved one will receive a card that shows the importance and impact of that support.

Barnardos ‘Gifts for Good’:

  1. PJs, bed socks and slippers – to provide warmth and wellbeing.
  2. Food Voucher – to feed children & their potential.
  3. Filled Soap bag for a family – for health and independence.
  4. Books – providing a new chapter of opportunity.
  5. Duvet, Pillow & Covers – to cover a good night’s sleep.


Each ‘Gift for Good’ that is purchased this Christmas will go directly to one of the thousands of children and families Barnardos’ works with all year round. Each family has different needs to the next – your donation will allow the organisation to direct your help how each need it most.

How much does it/they cost?

  1. PJs, bed socks and slippers €18

With this gift you could provide the comfort and cosiness of warm pyjamas and keep tiny toes toasty warm at night. This gift will help keep children warm giving them a better chance to stay healthy and thrive.


  1. Food Voucher  €25

With this gift you could provide lunches to children in our early year’s programme, or you could provide breakfasts to children in our services, setting them up with a warm full tummy ready for a day of learning at school. This gift will give a child the best start to the day (and to their young lives!)


  1. Filled Soap bag for a family €28

With this gift, you could help provide essential toiletries like a toothbrush, toothpaste, facecloth, sponge, soap, shampoo, brush and comb that many families in our services are not in a position to provide or regularly replace.


  1. Books €35

With this gift you could help support work in our amazing early years’ programme, which includes encouragement of language development among pre-schoolers through dialogic reading. This gift will open a new chapter in life for young children who need a little extra help to bring their development up to par with their peers so that they are ready to start mainstream school.


  1. Duvet, Pillow & Covers €50  

With this gift you could help create a comfortable and warm place for a child to get the rest they need at night. In winter months especially, some of the families we work with may not be in a position to heat their homes. With this gift you will help a child get a good, warm and comfortable night’s sleep, which is key to their learning and behaviour.

You can buy Barnardos ‘Gifts for Good’ today at or by calling 01 7080 429 to place your order. For each ‘Gift for Good’ you buy, you’ll be sent an individual card with envelope to pass on to a loved one in lieu of presents this year.

BACK TO SCHOOL COSTS -(As  printed in the Daily Mail)

Barnardos back to school

What do you think about the high cost of going back to school?

My view is very simple education should be equal across the board giving every single child a chance to become the best that they can be. Now I know we don’t live in a perfect world but we could live in a better country that values our youth and invests in future generations.

Surely investing in our youth is an investment in our future economy – or do politicians just not care. It does surprise me sometimes how common sense isn’t very common here. From the minute you have children in Ireland most people will be broke. God forbid you, like me, want to go to work and need childcare, as that’s the equivalent to a second mortgage.

There is enormous pressure put on parents and while some schools have stepped up to the plate and introduced things like book rental schemes, it shouldn’t be left to the schools and parents alone. It really is time the government took education seriously and created a fair system, where we are not having the same conversation year in, year out.

The Barnardos report released on Tuesday 29th July very clearly shows that children are the ones suffering here. I was shocked to read that the seemingly voluntary contributions schools ask for are not that “voluntary” after all, with some schools going as far as relentlessly persuing parents via letters, emails and texts.

Other methods included reminders in newsletters or children even being denied a school journal or lockers if the payment was not paid. This kind of practice is incredibly humiliating for a child and surely we’ve moved on in modern Ireland from this type of behaviour??

Parents should be able to shop around for uniforms and emblems or crests should be sold separately (if really necessary) so they can be attached after. I am a big fan of uniforms though because I do believe it reduces the competition especially at secondary level with designer labels. I lived in the states for years and witnessed first hand just how important your clothing became which is just another distraction from learning.

A good education is the greatest gift we can give our children. We’re learning till the day we die. Education opens doors and creates opportunities for a better future for everyone. I’m returning to college myself in September again for another few years to follow my dreams. Our government is shattering our young peoples dreams before they’ve even begun.


1. Second hand all the way. Ask around for second hand books. We always covered ours and the rule was no writing on them so they could be passed on.

2. Look for deals on uniforms and let down the hems if you can to get more time out of them

3. Some stores have great sales on uniforms in early October. Squeeze into your old one for a month until you get a great deal and always buy it slightly bigger.

4. Always bring a healthy packed lunch instead of giving money it will be cheaper in the long run.


Barnardos Buggy Push sponsored by Dettol

When: Sunday 1st September starting at 10am (Registration from 9am)

Where: The Phoenix Park, Dublin

Speaking at the launch of the Barnardos Buggy Push sponsored by Dettol, celebrity mum and model Alison Canavan said, “My son, James, and I are thrilled to support the Barnardos Buggy Push sponsored by Dettol for the second year running. We had so much fun training together last year and the event itself was incredible. It was wonderful to see so many families and buggies out on the day raising much needed funds for Barnardos. It is usually so hard to find time to get fit with the little ones around but the Barnardos Buggy Push sponsored by Dettol is perfect – I can pop out for a jog and James can come with me! I hope as many people as possible can join us in Phoenix Park on September 1st.”

Mums, dads, grandparents, aunts and uncles, families please come join us!!!

• For new Mums, getting out in the fresh air with your baby and walking with other Mums is a great way to gently get back in shape and make friends. Buggy Fitness is fast becoming the most popular way for new Mums to get back in shape and baby can come and have fun too!

• It’s not just Mums either; dads, grandparents, aunts and uncles – whole families are getting out there too.

The challenge: Push your baby in a buggy over a 5km course in the Phoenix Park – you can choose to run, jog or walk. The route runs along a smooth surface and is suitable for all levels of fitness and all buggies. Registering online ensures you receive a timing chip to wear on the day.

Register: on . It costs €20 per buggy.

When you register you will receive a fundraising pack with:

• Barnardos running vest

• Timing chip to wear on the day

• Dettol wipes and coupons! (on the day)

• Exclusive access to a six weeks of exclusive training tips and advice, nutrition advice, how to keep baby happy in the buggy and some exclusive offers from our sponsor, Dettol.

Thanks to Dettol, 100% of the registration fee and sponsorship raised by buggy pushers will go directly to fund Barnardos services for children and families. Barnardos target is to raise €25,000.

Dettol Buggy Research:

• Nearly four out of ten buggies tested by Dettol had high levels of bacteria on their seat or their handles, and 90% of the buggies were unclean.

• The amount of germs on Irish buggies may be down to the fact that only half of mums (52%) wipe down or clean their child’s buggy when it looks dirty or something spills on it.

• While almost half of parents (48%) said that they frequently worry about their child’s health, a third of mums think that a toilet is cleaner than their child’s buggy.

• Over a third of mums say that their buggy is a germ magnet.

Family Friendly Event: the 5km Buggy Push will be followed by FREE family activities

• Flat smooth surface course – easy to push buggy

• Car parking available

Barnardos is Ireland’s leading children’s charity. We support children whose well-being is under threat, by working with them, their families and communities and by campaigning for the rights of children. Barnardos was established in Ireland in 1962 and is Ireland’s leading children’s charity.

Barnardos goal is to make Ireland the best place in the world to be a child. Every day in our 40 projects across Ireland we work with almost 6,300 children and families whose lives are marred by issues such as poverty, neglect and educational disadvantage.

We work with children of different ages and support them and their families in various aspects of their lives:

All the research shows that the return on investing in a child early is huge. With a bit of support early in their lives, children are more likely to stay in school, get a job, stay out of trouble, pay taxes, and send their own children to school. Barnardos work is about enabling children to achieve their full potential in life.

I’M EVERYTHING I AM BECAUSE YOU LOVED ME” Wouldn’t it be great if every child could say that. Unfortunately we don’t live in a perfect world and probably never will but that doesn’t mean we keep passing the buck. Every single one of us can make a difference no matter how small. I’m honored to be the new ambassador for the Barnardos buggy push in September. They do incredible work and whether we want to admit it or not their job is becoming harder and harder. Kids are innocent and helpless and they need us to have their back.

I just came back from the ‘garden party’ in Aras an Uachtarain and what a fantastic day we had. The president spoke with great positivity and humour and his wife was incredibly warm and friendly. His passion for our children, families and our future is the type of attitude we need to carry us out of our current situation. James however kept losing his pants when he ran so I used the elastic off the beautiful programmes we were given to keep them up. After all necessity is the mother of invention. Not content with losing his pants though he ran through the rose bushes and cut his legs. I’m sure people thought I was a crazed lunatic but here’s hoping I get invited back!!

I’m so excited that my 0ToToddler show is finally hitting the road on the 20th of July for 6 weeks around Ireland. I have fantastic experts on hand and we will be talking about everything from pregnancy right through to toddlers looking at early childhood learning and development, fitness, nutrition, mental health and much more. We are also searching for Irelands 0ToToddler cover star for OH Baby! Mag so come on the day to have your little angel pictured to be in with a chance of winning! Check out my brand new website for more information or


This exciting new range of wooden toys which use magnets to hold the pieces together, offering your child’s imagination a wilderness of exciting opportunities to take apart and build the existing designs or to make completely new ones!
Price: 19.95


This great leave Akin leave in conditioner for busy Mums. Now you can have shiny hair all year round. €12.95


HI Alison,
I’m looking for smart shoes for my son. I’ve trawled the shops and can’t seem to find anything different or interesting for boys. Have you come across any for James?
Amy, Lucan

Hi Amy,
Its tough with boys sometimes and there always seems to be so much more for girls. I did however find an adorable pair of shoes from cherish me They do a brand called Livie and Luca. They dress up any outfit and are perfect for our Irish Summers!! They have loads of different styles to suit your taste.Above all they’re really comfortable and James just loves telling everyone he’s wearing elephants! Their designs are inspired by nature, folklore and the rich imagination of children.
Livie and Luca use brightly colored velvety soft leathers and other textiles to bring the utmost comfort and resilience to their shoe range. Each Livie and Luca baby and toddler shoes are made by hand and worn by celeb kids such as Marcia cross &
Angelina Jolie daughters. Price starts from €31.50


As the ambassador I would love to ask you to Get fit and challenge yourself to take part in Barnardos 5km Buggy Push Challenge this September. This sponsored challenge is for Mums, Dads, Grandparents, Aunts and Uncles to push their babies in buggies around the 5km race route. You can run or walk. It’s up to you!
When: Sunday 2nd September at 11am, Phoenix Park, Dublin. Registration is just €20. When you register you will receive a fundraising pack including a Barnardos running vest and Dettol wipes and coupons!
When you register you will also gain exclusive access to Barnardos’ 10 week training plan. Each week you will receive a newsletter with tips on training, nutrition advice, how to keep baby happy in the buggy and some exclusive offers from the event sponsor, Dettol. For new Mums, getting out in the fresh air with your baby and walking with other Mums is a great way to gently get back in shape and make friends. Buggy Fitness is fast becoming the most popular way for new Mums to get fit as it fits in with their new lifestyle and baby can come and have fun too! It’s not just Mums either; Dads are getting out there too. Visit to register today


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