Leinster Rugby | Leinster and Children in Hospital Ireland announce partnership

Leinster Rugby has announced Children in Hospital Ireland (CIH) as its latest charity partner for the month of September as part of the Charity Affiliate Programme.

Since 1970, CIH’s team of staff, supporters and volunteers have been playing a major role in initiating and furthering changes in how children are cared for in Irish hospitals.

Each year in Ireland there are, on average, over 325,000 hospital visits by children and for over 10,000 of those, this means an average of a three-night stay.

Volunteers from all backgrounds, ages, and experiences give two hours a week to support children and their families through providing play in their local hospitals.

CIH vets, trains, and provides ongoing support for hundreds of volunteers in 14 paediatric units in Ireland every year.

Across Leinster, 145 volunteers are currently back in the major Dublin hospitals, Kilkenny and Drogheda. However, teams are eagerly growing again as new volunteers are recruited following long pauses during COVID restrictions.

Community support means so much to families at a time filled with stress and anxiety.

“Our son Freddie was born in June 2021. He is a twin to Theo, but Freddie had a hard start due to some medical complexities and spent his first year of life in Crumlin. With a twin and older sibling at home there were times we couldn’t always be with Freddie and so the volunteers in Crumlin were a massive support to us with this,” say Tracy and Andrew Holmes.

“We used their services a lot in that year and we could not be more grateful to them, it would have made our hospital journey much harder without their support.”

In attendance at the launch in Leinster Rugby head office in UCD were a number of Leinster Rugby players, as well as representatives from CIH.

Welcoming the news of the partnership, Anna Gunning, CEO of CIH said:

“We are thrilled to have been selected as charity partner for Leinster Rugby for September. This provides us with an opportunity to highlight the work of Children in Hospital Ireland and bring it to new audiences.

“We hope to attract new volunteers, supporters and partners which will help to develop our services and therefore support more children in hospital and their families. Thank you to all the team in Leinster Rugby for affording us this opportunity.”

Speaking on behalf of Leinster Rugby, Marcus Ó Buachalla, who manages the charity partnerships, said, “It was great to meet the team from Children in Hospital Ireland here this morning, but more so, to meet some of their volunteers and some of the parents and the children that have come to rely on them over the last few years.

“Chatting to them and hearing the impact that the charity has had on them and their lives while in hospital was eye opening and hopefully we can highlight over the month ahead the great work that they do.”


Leinster Rugby also confirmed that Bank of Ireland would continue to support the charity partner scheme again this season and that its player of the month award donation will now be made to the monthly charity affiliate, rather than the player in question, a move that is also supported by the Leinster Rugby players.

Like all the charities selected, Children in Hospital Ireland was selected by Leinster Rugby after a consultation process involving the leadership group of the men, women’s and Academy teams and consultation with the premium sponsors and partners and the OLSC.

For more information on Children in Hospital Ireland, please visit their website.

Further information about the Leinster Rugby Charity Affiliate Programme:

The charities supported by Leinster Rugby as part of this initiative, include;

2020/21 Season: Women’s Aid (November), Debra Ireland (December), numerous local causes supported by Bank of Ireland (January), ALONE (February), Pieta (March), AsIAm (April), LauraLynn (May), the Gavin Glynn Foundation (June), Irish Heart Foundation (August) and CRY (September)

2021/22 Season: Alzheimer Society of Ireland (November), Peter McVerry Trust (December), numerous local causes supported by Bank of Ireland such as Outcomers, Citywise Means Business, New Horizon and Purple House (January), the RNLI (February), Irish Cancer Society (March), Irish Community Air Ambulance (April), CRY (May) and Belong To (June)

The selection process for all the charities includes the Leinster Rugby players, Leinster Rugby sponsors and partners and also the Official Leinster Supporters Club (OLSC).