Jerry Flannery, Anne Marie Hayes, fundraising co-ordinator; Sr Phyllis Donnellan, Cathy Sheehan, head of finance and Declan Deegan, head of human resources at the launch of this year's Harvest Fair
UP to 20,000 people are expected to attend the annual Milford Hospice Harvest Fair, which takes place on the grounds of the University of Limerick this month.
The Care Centre’s biggest annual fundraiser returns to the UL Arena on August 14, for its 31st year.
Limerick woman, Shirley Real, manager of the physiotherapy service at Milford, emphasised that in addition to having to raise €1.5m each year to meet the shortfall in the day to day operational budget for hospice care, there is also, a fundraising target of €2m a year to be achieved over the next four years to help build the new hospice facility.
“I really appreciate the support MCC has received from the people of Limerick and the Mid-West. Without this we would not be able to continue to grow the service to meet the needs of patients. The Harvest Fair has a long standing tradition in Limerick and it raises awareness of MCC and its role in the community,” she said.
With Milford currently working on construction of a new, state-of-the-art purpose-built 34-bed singled roomed hospice unit, the fundraiser has taken on a priority this year.
Milford chief executive officer Pat Quinlan said funds raised from the Harvest Fair would “go towards supporting existing hospice services and the building of a new 34 bed €11 million state of the art hospice, which is expected to commence in late September”.
“All going well, the new facility is expected to be operational before the end of 2017, the year that will mark 40 years of Hospice Care at Milford.”
Mr Quinlan said that “as things stand”, the sum of €7m has been committed towards the project, with a shortfall of €4m to be raised over the next four years. Milford has applied to the HSE for a capital grant of €1.8m and is awaiting a response, he said.
Harvest Fair chairman Joe Murphy said the generous support from the people of the Mid West is “all the more important” given the fundraising context.
“Hopefully we will have as many of you as possible at the Fair on the grounds of UL for what promises to be a great day out for all,” he said.
“This year’s event will have a more traditional flavour with the return of the books, toys and goods stalls which could not feature in 2015 due to logistical reasons with building works taking place at the UL Arena.
“We are looking forward to seeing the return of these popular stalls as they are a great attraction for many of our supporters and were badly missed last year.
“Sometimes we forget how popular everyday goods such as books and household items can be and of course it’s a way of freeing your home of once new and loved items, whilst making room for new purchases at the Fair.”
This year the Fair will open to the public from 11am to 4pm, with free admission and plenty of free parking around the Arena.
While the kids are occupied, adults will find plenty to interest them – both indoor and outdoor - with an impressive array of stalls such as books, plants, cakes, a vintage car display and the wheel of fortune.
The event organisers are still accepting good quality items for the stalls ahead of the day, everything from fancy goods, toys, groceries and plants and any other items that people will find attractive.
The items are being accepted until Thursday, August 11, at Milford Care Centre.
If you are interested in volunteering at this year’s Harvest Fair see www.milfordcarecentre.ie, contact 061 485859/485860, or email firstname.lastname@example.org