August 11 In the Press

Is it too early to talk about Santa? Not for iCare as staff plan Christmas spectacle

By Eleanor McGillie

Staff at Homecare Independent Living are gearing up for their biggest fundraising event of the year and are calling on people in the community to come and volunteer with them.

The leading home care provider, which employs 1,200 people and has offices in Armagh, Belfast, Magherafelt, Ballymena, Sligo, Dundalk and Dublin, set up its own charity, iCare, which empowers communities to create a better world through acts of kindness.

iCare is run by a committee of Homecare Independent Living employees and aims to  improve the lives of older people, eliminate social isolation as much as possible, use the power of business to create a better world and also to put life back into old buildings by encouraging community participation.

Every year, the volunteers plan Santa’s Gatelodge – a Christmas spectacle which attracts 4,000 people.  It’s one of Northern Ireland’s largest Christmas events and involves over 230 volunteers of all ages who help create the magical event. Set in the grounds of Manor House in Milford, Armagh, people can visit Mrs Claus in her kitchen, the Fairy Godmother in her story room, the Elf School and of course Santa in Santa’s House.

Janine Smalls, an iCare committee member, says the charity plays a vital role in helping build communities. She said: “It’s a fantastic achievement. We have the all important Christmas characters including reindeers and we have a special train to take people to Santa’s House.

The entire area is covered in Christmas lights. It is so much fun and people travel from all over to get here. “We are proud to say that 100 per cent of proceeds are used by the charity to grant iCare Wishes to people in the community.” Tickets for this year’s event can be booked online from September 22 at but if you would like to volunteer, please contact Janine on

The latest round of nominations for iCare Wishes is now open. The general public can nominate by calling 028 3751 1333, or by writing to us at iCare Committee, Milford Gatelodge, Ballyards Road, Milford or by filling out our online application on


  • Two-year-old Avah McGinty is a bright and bubbly toddler who lives every day with Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus. Avah’s granny’s friend Vivienne nominated her and her family for an iCare Wish which was a holiday break for the family. The iCare committee is delighted to be able to book a holiday home for one week in Portstewart where Avah, her three-year-old brother Caleb and mum Emma and dad Darren can have a relaxing week away from their home.
  • Donal Parsons is a 7-year-old boy who was diagnosed with Stage 4 Neuroblastoma and is currently undergoing 18 months of aggressive treatment at Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital in Crumlin, Dublin. Donal is from Sligo so during the official opening of Homecare’s Sligo office, Chief Executive, Mairead Mackle, presented Donal’s mum Jane with a cheque for £500 for the Donal Parsons Trust.


  ENDS: Notes To Editor:

  • Homecare Independent Living is a national leader in homecare provision offering services to clients enabling them to live independently. Services include domiciliary care, peripatetic and floating support services, nursing and continuing care services and housing services. The company employs 1,200 people and has offices in Armagh, Belfast, Magherafelt, Ballymena, Sligo, Dundalk and Dublin. The company has its own charity, iCare, which uses the power of its people to create a better world.
  • For further information contact Eleanor McGillie of MGMPR Ltd on 028 3756 9569 | 07709805379 | | Healthcare PR | Public Relations Northern Ireland | Public Relations UK | Brand Journalism Northern Ireland | Brand Journalism UK | Brand Journalism Experts |


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