05 Jul 2022

Search begins to find charity to take over Ben and Jake house

Search begins to find charity to take over Ben and Jake house

The Ben and Jake Connolly Trust house with inset: the late Jake and Ben Connolly.

After the heartbreak of the death of brothers Ben and Jake Connolly from Mountmellick, the search has begun to find a charity to take over the medically adapted home that the community had built for them.

Ben and Jake had both suffered with the life limiting rare condition Allan Herndon Dudley Syndrome. The harsh condition left them gradually more unable to use any muscles, requiring daily medication, peg feeds and 24 hour care by their parents Nicolette and Terence with the help of professional carers. 

Their plight spurred on the community of Mountmellick, Portarlington, Kildare and the whole of Ireland to raise over €250,000 to build a special wheelchair accessible home for their complex medical needs. Countless more money was saved in the build by professionals giving their time free and companies donating free materials. 

Tragically little Jake died aged 2 in 2016 before it was completed, and Ben died aged 11 in July 2020, just months after moving in to the special house, which includes a therapy room and hoists throughout.

The Ben and Jake Connolly Trust, led by local volunteer Trustees PJ Dempsey and Joe McEvoy, have given an update on the future use of the large house, which is situated off the N80 Mountmellick Tullamore road in Laois.

"We hope you are all keeping well and looking forward to the return to normal. Over the past several months, we have been busy in the background, moving along to the next phase of our project. Please note that we are now officially no longer taking donations. Your generosity to date has ensured that we are now in the position to pay your kindness forward.

"When we lost Ben, the whole purpose of the house evaporated for a while," they said.

After a period of mourning in respect of Ben's family, the trust began the search for a suitable registered charity to take over the house and continue its intended mission, to use it for other children or young adults. However no charity has as yet agreed and so the trust is now inviting any registered charity to contact them.

"We have not been able to find one that meets the criteria. The fundraising activities of charities have been severely impacted by Covid-19 restrictions. Many of them are focused on the short term, as opposed to long term capital projects such as what we propose. We wish them all well with their endeavours. For the Ben and Jake Connolly Trust, we now have to spread our net wider in our search.

"We are reaching out to say that this medically adapted, 5 bedroom facility is now available for immediate takeover, subject to some terms and conditions. We would ask that if any registered charity is interested, please contact us. We would be more than happy to discuss further details."

Email the Trustees PJ Dempseyand Joe McEvoy at Call PJ on 087 1301330 or Joe on 087 2911440

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