Frequently Asked Questions

General Information

Who can nominate a child?
What are the eligibility criteria?
What ages are the children who attend the Sunshine House?

Information for Children

What are the rules in the Sunshine House?
What will I be doing every day?
What time do I have to get up?
What should I do if I am being bullied while I am in the Sunshine House?

Information for Volunteers

Why should I volunteer for the Sunshine Fund?
How can I apply to be a volunteer with the Sunshine Fund?
What am I volunteering to do?
Do I need to have any experience with children?
Are volunteers paid?
Is there a trial period?
Is there a Code of Conduct?

Information for Parents/Guardians

Who else will my child go with?
What if my child is bullied?
Do I have to pay for the holiday?
Can I volunteer as a leader on the same week as my child?
Where do I meet the bus?
Can I ring or visit my child on the holiday?
What will my child need to bring with them?

General Information

Who can nominate children for a Sunshine holiday?

We accept nominations from:

  • Any member of a visitation conference of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul
  • Representatives from other agencies
  • Social workers
  • Teachers in DEIS schools

Please note that we do not accept nominations directly from parents or children.

What are the eligibility criteria?

There are only two. That a child will benefit from a holiday at Sunshine House, and that the child’s date of birth is within our age range.

What ages are the children who attend the Sunshine House?

We accept children aged between 7 and 11 years of age. We find older children quickly become bored with the activities at Sunshine House; children of a younger age are very demanding on resources.
On occasion, we cater for children marginally outside the age bracket specified, where family circumstances dictate.

Information for Children

What are the rules in the Sunshine House?

Our rules are:

  1. No bullying- we are all friends and we don’t hurt each other.
  2. We never go off on our own- so we don’t get lost.
  3. We don’t break things.
  4. No boyfriends or girlfriends- we all get along and play together.
  5. We all take part in activities.

What will I be doing every day?

Every day is different, but normally looks like this:

Time Activity
08:30 Children get up
09:45 Breakfast
10:30 Choice of activities (includes football leagues, basketball, arts and crafts, marathon…)
12:00 Beach time! (daily competitions, swimming)
13:45 Lunch
14:45 Afternoon activity (shopping, treasure hunt, crab/shell collecting…)
17:45 Dinner
18:30 Choice of activities (football, face painting, leadership games, obstacle course, long jump…)
20:00 Supper
20:15 Disco, followed by evening activities (talent, musical chairs, generation game, prize-giving, film)
22:00 Bedtime

You can learn more about what it is like to visit the Sunshine House, by reading our Information for Children webpage.

What time do I have to get up?

In the Sunshine House we get up at 8.30am to have breakfast and begin the day.

What should I do if I am being bullied while I am in the Sunshine House?

If you are being bullied by another child, tell one of the volunteers. They are here to make sure that you are safe and happy during your stay in the Sunshine House.

Information for Volunteers

Why should I volunteer for the Sunshine Fund?

The Sunshine Fund has been providing holidays to children from areas of disadvantage for over 75 years. For every volunteer that joins us, we can take 8 more children on holiday. Learn more about the history of the Sunshine Fund and learn about the difference The Sunshine Fund has made to both children and parents:

How can I apply to be a volunteer with the Sunshine Fund?

To apply to be a volunteer, you will need to:

  1. Fill out an application form
  2. Provide references
  3. Clear the Garda vetting process
  4. Attend an interview
  5. Attend child protection training

Learn more about how to apply to be a volunteer in the Sunshine Fund in our volunteering section.

What am I volunteering to do?

You will work alongside other volunteers to provide a top quality holiday for boys and girls at Sunshine House. The boys and girls are aged between 7 and 11 years. The main elements of work will involve organising and supervising games, play and fun activities.

Do I need to have any experience with children?

Previous experience is not necessary, you will be provided with a full induction into your role and responsibilities as a volunteer in the Sunshine House and we will also provide training in child protection.

Are volunteers paid?

Volunteers do not get paid nor are they given pocket money. Transport costs to and from Balbriggan and the costs of accommodation are covered.

Is there a trial period?

We do not have a formal trial period. All our volunteers are closely observed and supported, with particular supports for volunteers engaged on their first and second periods of service on the holiday programme. However, all volunteers at any stage may be considered to be ‘on trial,’ to ensure that we continue to provide the highest standards of care on every holiday.”

Is there a code of conduct?

Volunteers are expected to abide by our Code of Conduct for all volunteers and employees. The Code helps us to keep Sunshine House a safe and happy place for children.

The Society of Saint Vincent de Paul and Sunshine House value and respect the children who come on holiday – we do this by:

  • Listening to children
  • Valuing and respecting children as individuals
  • Involving children in decision making, as appropriate
  • Encouraging children and supporting positive behaviour

Read more about your roles and responsibilities here.

Information for Parents/Guardians

Who else will my child go with?

Children from the same area. If one area is very large, we may put the children onto two different weeks. We also mix a few different areas together every week, but a child will always go with some friends.

What if my child is bullied?

In Sunshine House we are very strict on bullies: we send them home. If we don’t do that, they will ruin other children’s holidays. We try and stop bullying before it happens, but please tell your child that if s/he is homesick or being bullied in Sunshine, s/he should let one of the volunteers know.

Do I have to pay for the holiday?

No! Each child’s holiday costs us approximately €250, but you don’t have to pay anything! All we ask you to do is to bring your child to the meeting point and give them €10 spending money. We look after everything else.

Can I volunteer as a leader on the same week as my child?

Unfortunately we don’t allow parents or guardians to volunteer on the same week as their child – to ensure both you and your child get the most value from the break. However, if you’d like to volunteer on another week during the summer, let us know.

Where do I meet the bus?

Your child’s yellow card will be posted out one week before his/her holiday is due to start. This will tell you where and when to meet our buses, what to bring, and includes lots more information about the holiday.

Can I ring or visit my child on the holiday?

We strongly recommend that you do not try to phone your children while they are at Sunshine House. We have found that hearing a parent’s or guardian’s voice can make them feel homesick, even if they were perfectly fine beforehand.

For the same reason, please do not visit your child at Sunshine House – it can be very disruptive for your child and other children from the same area.

However if you want to find out how your child is getting on, or you have an urgent message, contact details for the holiday centre will be sent with your holiday pack.

What will my child need to bring with them?

A jacket (with your child’s name on it), 2 pairs of runners, 5 T-shirts, 3 sweatshirts, a few tracksuit bottoms and shorts, and enough underwear and socks for a week; old clothes are more suitable. Don’t forget €10 spending money.

If required, please bring inhalers and enough medicine to last the eight days your child will be at Sunshine.

We provide toothpaste, towels, soap/shower gel and swimming togs, so there is no need to bring them.

Please do not bring jewellery, football boots, games or mobile phones.