2019 Rainbow Club
The Rainbow Club Cork opened its doors in June 2015. The club’s aim is to help and support children and families living with autism. The Rainbow Club Cork now runs at full capacity with over 402 children attending the club and using the services. The rainbow Club now has a waiting list of over 128 families waiting to join the Rainbow Club. To facilitate these numbers, the Rainbow Club requires a bigger premises.
Every year, the Cork International Hotel nominates a ‘Charity of the Year’. Our internally nominated charity team work voluntarily to create events to raise money for the charity. In 2017 and 2018, the Charity of the Year was Bumbleance and the team raised over €36K in two years through a combination of several events as well as our annual Cork International Car Show, which kickstarts our fundraising calendar in March every year. In 2020, our Charity of the Year was The Rainbow Club for Children with Autism, but as our hotels closed in March and the world came to a halt, we were distressed to know that all our fundraising initiatives would be cancelled, and we might not have any chance to fundraise for this deserving charity. Just before we re-opened, we came up with the idea to raffle off our hotel for a weekend to one lucky family (whilst adhering to regulations). With no budget and limited staff and resources, we managed a fully digital campaign led by our volunteers to mange this campaign with an ambitious fundraising goal, as our target for every 2-year partnership is €30,000 and to that date we had not raised any money.
The club is an entirely voluntary organisation, which gets no government funding at all. We chose to dedicate all funds raised from our annual Cork International CHarity Car Show to the Rainbow Club, to help them plan their services and activities and to contribute to their The Rainbow Club is hoping to raise €2 million to fund a new facility in Little Island.
Through a variety of subsequent initiatives, we beat our fundraising targets for the Rainbow Club, which not only enabled them to re-open after lockdown, but also to invest in their services.
In addition to the money raised, the press release which featured quotes from the Founder of the Charity and images of the founder was shared on over 50 online media outlets including the Independent, Irish Times and Irish Examiner – generating much needed brand awareness for the charity. The coverage had a value of €54,000, in addition to the money raised and reached over 2.3 million people. This was valuable national online advertising that the charity itself could never have afforded. This just goes to prove the power a little creativity can have when paired with digital tools available.
At Cork International Hotel we strive to continue all our collaborations to generate a symbiotic relationship that makes us a more sustainable business longterm. We have invested in and continue to invest in training for our team to become autism-friendly staff members. These team members receive trainig for the Rainbow Club to etter understand the needs of our customers and provide tailored supports to children and families with Autism. These staff members can be easily identified by guests as they wear a rainbow club coloured lapel badge.
Our Family Concierge has continued to work with the charity and local tourism attractions such as Spike Island, to develop digital visual aids or ‘photostories’, videos and other online resources which we store on our website, or send via email to guests with children with autism ahead of their stay for the children to use Visual supports can be used to communicate with people on the autism spectrum. They are adaptable, portable and can be used in most situations. we have developed digital assets for guests to download and use them, or make their own. We alos offer sensory boxes at reception and sunflower lanyards are available for guests who wish to use them to convey that they have a hidden disability and may need extra assistance.
We now also have a fully functioning resource centre on our website and hope that more attractions will come on board and more Cork companies will follow suit, in collaboration with the Rainbow Club for Children with Autism. We also look forward to continuing to work with the charity on a dedicated sensory bedroom for families and children with autism.