This is about directly supporting the people on the ground, the children and their families living with serious illness and disability, whose critical needs are just not being met, Keith Duffy says of his latest new charity initiative, the Keith Duffy Foundation.
The Foundation, one of the first charities to be registered compliant with the new Charities Regulatory Authority, this week signed up convenience store group Costcutter as its first corporate partner.
“We want to go direct to the people in need, helping individuals, families and schools, in particular, so that funds raised make a real and immediate difference. Our aim is to be efficient fundraisers, not a bureaucratic organisation”, Keith Duffy told the Costcutter retail group.
Jim Barry, managing director of Barry Group which services the independent Costcutter stores, says that practical local support for good causes appeals greatly to the local store owners.
“Costcutter is the locally owned store at the heart of communities and, as such, can tap into the generosity of people who want to contribute locally to good causes. We’re delighted to partner with the Keith Duffy foundation, the foundation shares the same values as Costcutter at a local level, so we believe it will be a very strong fundraising channel and it will provide some much needed help to those in need”, the retail boss said.
Speaking at the charity partnership launch at a Costcutter conference in Athlone, Keith Duffy said that his 14 years’ experience fundraising for autism was being put to very good use with the new Foundation, aimed at providing practical support and financial assistance to chosen children’s charities across the country.
One of the first fundraisers under the Costcutter banner will be a Father & Son Run in both Cork and Dublin this coming June, with Costcutter owners and staff taking part alongside the public and collection boxes in all stores.
Over €8 million was raised for Irish Autism Action during Keith Duffy’s time as the organisation’s patron, through a variety of events including The Keith Duffy Ball, Blue Nose Day, Keith Duffy 5k in the Phoenix Park, and the Connemarathon.
Autism is among the causes Keith Duffy Foundation supports; a charity of choice for the celebrity and his wife Lisa, since their daughter Mia was first diagnosed with the disorder at 18 months old.
Critically ill children and young people, and those with disability or learning difficulties, are the focus of the new charity foundation, which will host a number of high-profile annual events. These include the Keith Duffy Ball and Golf Classic, as well as smaller events, including promoting local fundraisers for chosen charities around Ireland.
Sponsors of TV3’s award-winning Red Rock series, Costcutter is one of Ireland’s fastest growing retail groups of recent years. There are now over 130 locally owned stores in communities countrywide.
Jim Barry also congratulated Keith Duffy on his tireless charity work, saying that the Barry Group had supported many of the star’s Irish Autism Action fundraisers and never failed to be impressed by his professionalism.
A presenter, actor and musician, Keith Duffy is best known for his music career as part of boy-band Boyzone and acting roles on Coronation Street, The Clinic and Fair City.
He has been awarded an Honorary Fellowship from the RCSI (Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland) Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery, in recognition of his work as a campaigner for children with autism, and was also named Philanthropist of the Year in 2013.
The Barry Group has been in the food and drinks wholesale business for over 60 years, supplying around 1,000 retail customers, including the independently owned retail franchises Costcutter, Carry Out, and Quik Pick, which are owned and operated by the Mallow-based Group.