New Year Message

Francis House CEO David Ireland looks back on 2023 and ahead to 2024

David Ireland sat at a table wearing a shirt and tie

Revd David Ireland

It is normal for CEOs to write a New Year’s message extolling all of the highlights and successes of the last twelve months, and setting out hopes and aspirations for the coming year.

It would be easy for me to fall into the same pattern because Francis House never stands still.  The last twelve months has seen so much happening:

  • the opening and rapid establishment of no 92 our residential facility for young adults with extremely complex needs
  • our new psychotherapy unit now properly established in their own suite of offices,
  • we are developing Homecare, Shining Stars and Seasons with group support for teenagers, a keeping in contact group Shooting Stars and a Mother and Baby group.

All of this whilst we continue to expand and develop our services to meet the ever changing needs of new families.

We are only able to do this because of the hard work and generosity of our many committed supporters who raise the funds to allow us to accomplish so much for the six hundred families using our services.

Our group of Trustees changed during 2023 with the retirement of Mr Martin Lochery and Mr Chris Roberts who have been with us from the very beginning.  This has meant the appointment of a new chair, Mrs Jane Kempler and Dr Eamonn O’Neal as Trustee, they will help guide us into a new part of our history.

So much to be thankful for, but a special note of thanks to all of our staff, Care Team, Maintenance, Kitchen and Domestic, Admin, Accounts and Fundraising staff.  Their tireless work for the families, their professionalism and dedication make Francis House, and our residential facilities 463 and 92 what they are.

But whilst we ‘pat’ ourselves on the back we must not forget the families for whom this Christmas was the first one without their son or daughter.  Whilst Francis House is all about living life to the fullest we have to remember that there are many sad times when we support families through what are the most difficult of life’s experiences.  We need them to know that they are not forgotten and that Francis House will be there whenever they need us in the future.

What will the New Year bring?  Hopefully lots of fundraising opportunities, economic renewal in the country and a general election which might affect our grant funding.

New opportunities for service to families whom we are yet to meet, families who will come through the doors in trepidation and sadness; not knowing what referral to a hospice means for them and their child.  Hopefully they will find, like many others before, a place of love and support which welcomes them into a new family, the Francis House Family.

Who knows what 2024 will bring, who knows what I will be saying next New Year, one thing I do know is that Francis House is a divinely inspired organisation and this chief executive’s faith makes the New Year a chance for exciting opportunities and not for concern.

So can I wish you all a very Happy New Year, keep Francis House in your thoughts and prayers (whatever your religious background) and with your help we will be able to continue to provide support to every family who comes to us to ask for help.

Thank you everyone and have a good year.


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