Heart of Gold Day

Family Carers Ireland is seeking the support of the nation on Friday 7th October as we hold our new national fundraising and awareness day, Heart of Gold – Caring for our Family Carers. 

To make an online donation today, please click here.

Who are family carers?

In Ireland, over 500,000 family carers provide unpaid care in the home for loved ones such as children or adults with additional needs, physical or intellectual disabilities, frail older people, those with palliative care needs or those living with chronic illnesses, mental health challenges or addiction. Their work often goes unrecognised and their own health, educational and social needs can be affected, as the family carer puts the needs of their loved ones first. Family carers save the state €20bn per annum and provide an astonishing 19 million hours of care each week. They are mums, dads, sons, daughters, siblings, relatives, friends and colleagues. By 2030, 1 in 5 of us will be in a family caring role. We believe no one should have to care alone.


“As a family carer for 7 years to a warrior boy who fought from the day he was born, I was at home 24/7, isolated, struggling and feeling helpless in my battle for supports. From the first time I reached out to Family Carers Ireland, they acknowledged and understood my situation. In addition to limitless moral support on the phone and in-person, they helped me have the courage to speak out on behalf of my incredible son and to advocate for his needs.  They provided respite breaks when I was exhausted, counselling when I was on the verge of breaking down and, when Fionn’s therapies were withdrawn due to Covid, they assisted in the purchase of a therapeutic bath which Fionn just adored and which eased his muscle spasms so much. I was drowning, I truly was. And Family Carers Ireland rescued me and my little family and I will be forever grateful.”

Brenda O’Connell-Barry, Mum and family carer 

Fionn lost his battle at just 7 years of age and gained his angel wings on September 10th 2021. Brenda continues to advocate on behalf of family carers all over Ireland.

What is Heart of Gold?

Heart of Gold is our annual awareness and fundraising campaign, which sees our staff, volunteers and family carers out in force on Friday 7th October in towns and cities across the country selling €2 gold heart pins to raise vital funds to support family carers and increase awareness and recognition of those caring for loved ones at home.

Monies raised from this appeal will help fund our supports to family carers for the remainder of the year and help them to access free supports and services to make caring less isolating, difficult and frightening.

Our national wraparound supports range from counselling, emergency care planning, advocacy, learning and education, peer support groups and guidance on rights and entitlements to emergency respite, assisting family carers who wish to return to paid work or study and supporting those who juggle caring and employment and a young carers programme. We also have Carer Support Teams across the country who are available to advise you on any challenges or issues you are experiencing.

How you can help

In addition to welcomed donations, we also need the help of the public in terms of volunteering and boots on the ground! If you could spare just one hour of your day on the 7th, we'd be hugely grateful. If you, your family and friends could lend a hand on what will be our first national collection day since 2019 and would like to volunteer, please make contact with your local Support Centre today.

Corporate support

If you are in a company (no matter what your size) and would like to have a Heart of Gold Day, we would be delighted for you to support us this way! You can download our poster that has a donations QR code to make life simple for donating or, if you would like to make a donation by electronic transfer, you can email Sue at sogrady@familycarers.ie and we’ll send you our bank details by email! You can always make an online donation here too – whatever works best for you. You could have a heart cupcake sale, or you could host a coffee morning as 1 in 9 people are working and caring at home, so you most likely work with someone who may have a child with a disability, a partner with a long-term illness or an elderly parent with dementia. Supporting family carers means you are caring for a forgotten frontline of people and for that, we thank you.

As always, thank you for your generous support.