The Community Knowledge Initiative (CKI) fosters community university partnerships that aim to promote the principles and practices of civic engagement and democracy.

Barretstown Gang Camp
Barretstown Gang Camp


Here, at our magical castle in the foothills of the Wicklow Mountains in Ireland, children with cancer and other serious illnesses come for some Serious Fun. The children and their families, from Ireland and 22 European countries, take part in a unique programme recognised by the medical world as playing an important part in their recovery from serious illness. Barretstown has developed a unique programme which has become internationally recognised as a profound and positive impact on the lives of children with serious illness and their families. The Barretstown staff and medical world call our programme "therapeutic recreation", but the kids know it as "Serious Fun". The spring and autumn programmes focus mainly on the family, providing Family Camps and Bereavement weekends. The ten and seven-day summer programmes cater for children and teens aged between seven and seventeen. In many cases the children have been denied the ordinary experiences of childhood by the random cruelty of illness. The psychosocial support Barretstown offers enables children to make real changes in their lives as they descover greater self-esteem, confidence, independence, trust, friendship and coping skills. Barretstown's programmes help children to discover the courage they need to undertake the difficult journey of their illness and its treatment, and to encourage them to take part more actively in their own recovery process. After taking part in one of our programmes, children go home with more confidence, self-esteem and more importantly, the reassurance that happiness is not just for health children. Barretstown also recognises the serious impact of serious illness on the rest of the family. That's why we run sessions for the whole family, for siblings and bereavement programmes. We require approximately 700 volunteers to run our programme each year. We could not run this programme without the support and dedication of our volunteers. Coming to Barretstown as a Volunteer Cara is like being a big brother or sister to the children and making sure they get the best out of there time here while partaking in an amazing experience yourself. All volunteer positions are residential so you are required to stay at camp. Food and accommodation is provided free of charge. We also recruit Activity Leaders who run our activities for the Spring, Summer and Autumn Programmes, Additionally for the summer period we require Summer Cara's who live in the cottages with the children and provide them with much needed support. These are paid positions. Some of the activites include: horse riding, high and low ropes, arts and crafts, zip line, fishing, drama and many other. For all volunteer opportunities please log onto the website where you will find an application for and all relevant information for volunteering in Barretstown or you can contact us in the Recruitment Office.


Please note:
New volunteering opportunities should be entered through the student volunteer website. You can still view your previously entered opportunities here.