The original idea for Rosie’s Trust was born in 2015 when our founder, Bronagh O’Neill (pictured here with her dog, Rosie), who was a nurse at the time, learned first-hand from a friend of hers the impact that cancer had had on his ability to look after his beloved dog. He lived alone and described how he could no longer care for his “very special friend”.
Through subsequent research and discussions with organisations such as Marie Curie, Macmillan Cancer Support, Age NI and local Health and Social Care Trusts, Bronagh also learned that large numbers of people were having to surrender their pets at a time when they needed them most because they were too weak to care properly for them themselves.
Bronagh’s findings demonstrated to her the pressing need for a charity such as Rosie’s Trust in Northern Ireland.
Since its establishment, Rosie’s Trust has worked with an increasing number of individuals and organisations (statutory, corporate as well as community and voluntary sector) to ensure we are continuing to provide the care and support that is required.
I was delighted to be appointed as the Chairperson of Rosie’s Trust in June 2023. I am focussed on building great relationships with my fellow Trustees and all involved in Rosie’s Trust. Beyond this, I hope to help lead Rosie’s Trust into a period of growth and expansion where more and more beneficiaries can be helped.
I became a trustee in January 2021.I have always shared my life with furry friends and have experienced the sheer joy of canine friendship, being both the giver and receiver of unconditional love.
I was drawn to Rosie’s Trust because I wanted to be part of a team of like-minded people, who wish to maintain the unique bond between owner and beloved pet. Wet noses, waggy tails and sloppy kisses make our hearts sing and lift our spirits. I am privileged and humbled to work in a charitable organisation with such dedicated staff and volunteers who work tirelessly to support our most vulnerable.
I have been a trustee with Rosie’s Trust over the last 7 years. It has been a joy to see the charity develop from the beginning, though the vision and efforts of Bronagh O’Neill to the current time under our wonderful operations team. It is great to see the impact of the charity in preserving the bond between our beneficiaries and their pets. I have found my time with Rosie’s Trust very rewarding and look forward to the growth of the charity over time to reach more people and pets in need.
I have been a Trustee since January 2021. As an animal lover I really wanted to get involved with Rosie’s Trust as I understand how important our pets are to us, never more so than when we are going through difficult times in life. To play a small part in helping to maintain that bond between someone and their little companion is so rewarding.
I became a member of the trustee board in September 2021. I have worked in the Voluntary sector for more than 25 years in a range of charities of different sizes and levels of development. This has given me a good understanding of what works for a successful charity – and what doesn’t. Aside from charity management experience my expertise covers the areas of income generation, communications, campaigning and public affairs.
As a dog owner and someone living alone, I understand the concerns for a pet’s welfare when life isn’t going as it should or as was planned. I hope to bring my practical experience and personal motivation together to help Rosie’s Trust continue to grow and develop and to be there for all the 4 and 2 legged beneficiaries who need our support.
Helping people keep their pets at a time when they need them most struck a cord with me.
I have always been an animal lover and I can’t imagine life without pets, so when I discovered the opportunity to join the Board of Rosie’s Trust early in 2023, I knew this was the charity for me!
With a background in Marketing and Communications, I look forward to supporting the great work of an enthusiastic team and dedicated volunteers.
I joined the Board of Trustees at Rosie’s Trust in March 2023 and have been welcomed by an incredible group of people who work and volunteer with the charity.
I read about the amazing work the charity was doing and was keen to get involved and bring my skills and experience to such a worthwhile organisation.
As a dog lover and owner, I believe the work of Rosie’s Trust is invaluable in providing support for beneficiaries and their beloved pets.
I was delighted to be appointed to the Board of Rosie’s Trust in February 2023, having followed with interest the amazing work of the charity since its establishment in 2015.
To say that I love dogs is probably a huge understatement!
I also have a keen interest in animal welfare. I have worked in the public sector for over 20 years, most recently in mental health policy but also in the areas of governance, project management and Fund management.
I have been so impressed by the commitment and dedication of all those who work for, volunteer with and support Rosie’s Trust and am both privileged and excited to be a part of it now, and going forward.
I joined Rosies Trust as a trustee, 2023 since joining I have seen first hand the work and the impact on the lives of people the charity supports
I know how important the bond is between a person and their pet and I am extremely lucky to be part of this unique charity who changes people’s lives more than they know.
Rosie’s Trust offers peace of mind for our beneficiaries as they know Rosie’s Trust will support them in the care of their companion pet for as long as they need us and our resources permit.
Our service is for people who are anxious about the adverse effect of their illness or disability on the welfare of their companion pet and who depend on their companion pet for emotional support.
We undertake a very thorough assessment process of each of our beneficiaries and their pets. This enables us to develop tailored action plans, which take into account and address all the risks we have identified, and ensure the best match for the beneficiary with our volunteers. We also have robust safeguarding policies in place to protect our beneficiaries and our volunteers.
Rosie’s Trust makes a huge difference to the lives of both our human and our pet beneficiaires. As one beneficiary told us, “I simply wouldn’t have been able to keep my cat without Rosie’s Trust,” or another who stated, “Snowy is my reason to keep going. While he’s here, I’ll be here and I can promise him that, thanks to the volunteers from Rosie’s Trust.”
We allocate an average of three volunteers to each beneficiary. We are concerned not only for the welfare of our human beneficiaries but also, of course, that of their animals. Our volunteers provide help and support in all aspects of pet care, including feeding, grooming, exercising, play and stimulation, and vet visits.
We provide fostering services when our beneficiaries need to spend a period of time in hospital or in hospice care. And, if our beneficiaries so wish, we find new homes for their pets when they are no longer able to care for them, including when they die.
When someone is faced with a cancer diagnosis, disability or terminal illness, their whole world changes. They have so much to worry about, so much to deal with and the one thing they need - especially those living alone – is the emotional support that their companion pet provides.
They are no longer able to provide their dog or cat with the same level of care they once could and their anxiety about the welfare of their beloved companion only serves to compound their distress.
At the most stressful time of their lives, they may be forced to give up their companion pet and, in so doing, experience tremendous loss, isolation and feelings of guilt.
Some people have reported that they considered delaying or even refusing treatment because they had no one to look after their pet.
Rosie’s Trust prevents them from having to make such terrible choices.
We also offer a pet bereavement service, providing emotional support to beneficiaries when their companion pet predeceases them.
Rosie’s Trust plays an important role in addressing loneliness, and alleviating anxiety and stress among our beneficiaries.
Our volunteers ensure when they visit that our beneficiaries are as well as can be and they provide welcome social contact for many. As one volunteer commented: “It’s so important for the beneficiaries to see someone every day, including Christmas Day, as they are totally on their own.”
Our volunteers also work closely with social workers and carers as a result of our daily visits to vulnerable members of the community. We alert the relevant social worker and/or care team whenever we have a concern about the beneficiary’s welfare. We keep details of all our beneficiaries’ next of kin.
No other charity or organisation in Northern Ireland is dedicated to helping people who are unable to look after their companion pets independently. Since our establishment in 2015 Rosie’s Trust has helped 180 people to hold on to their pets at a time when they need them most... and the numbers are continuing to grow…
Macmillan Cancer Support estimates that the number of people living with cancer in Northern Ireland will increase by 40% by 2030.
Northern Ireland’s ageing population will also inevitably have a significant impact on demand for our services.
Our work has been made possible thanks to core funding from the National Lottery Community Fund. However, this funding is of course only available for a limited period.
We provide our services free of charge, 365 days of the year. We depend on donations to cover our service costs, and every penny gifted to us is carefully used.