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Firms urged to 'sponsor a star' for charity

Firms urged to 'sponsor a star' for charity

Homelessness charity Focus aims to raise €400,000 for homeless services by asking firms to sponsor stars on its giant Christmas Tree in Dublin’s Grafton Street.

The annual Focus Ireland Sponsor a Star appeal has attracted €2.5m over the past six years, with €365,000 raised in 2007.

The charity, which works in Dublin, Limerick, Waterford, Cork, Sligo and Kilkenny, supported more than 6,000 people through its services last year. Focus Ireland said more people face the risk of becoming homeless due to the economic downturn, and therefore support from firms is more important than ever this Christmas.

Focus Ireland chief executive Joyce Loughnan urged firms to sponsor a star this year instead of spending money on Christmas cards or presents for clients.

Sponsoring a star on the tree ranges in price from €1,000 to €20,000.

Focus raised €6 million from voluntary sources in 2007, up from €5.2 million in 2006. Corporate fundraising represented 19 percent of funds raised.

Paul Artherton has a BA (Hons) Degree from Queen’s University and a MA Degree in Journalism from Pennsylvania State University. He has worked in PR and fundraising for over 27 years. Previously assistant director for fundraising and public relations at the Simon Community Northern Ireland for seven years, for the last 17 years he has run his own fundraising consultancy business specialising in fundraising, sponsorship, public relations and recruitment. His clients have included charities, private sector and public bodies. Examples include the Ulster Cancer Foundation, Simon Communities of Ireland, NI Hospice, North and West Belfast Health and Social Services Trust, Aiken Promotions, the Industrial Development Board and the Ulster Museum. He has lectured on voluntary sector management at Queens University Belfast Institute for Continuing Education. Since 2010 Paul has been a lay member of the NI Charity Tribunal.

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