I’m very excited… and VERY nervous to reveal that I will soon be an inmate for a night at the Old Lifford Courthouse.

I’m one of thirteen brave souls volunteering for the Jailbreak Challenge this April 29th.

It’s the first time in over 100 years prisoners will return to the historic Lifford cells, but I’m determined to stay in the cell for three great local causes – The North West 10K charities: The No Barriers Foundation, Spina Bifida & Hydrocephalus Ireland Donegal Branch, the Donegal Diabetes Parents Support Group.

The aim of the game is to raise ‘bail money’ to escape the cells after a night locked up. You can help ease our fears early by donating at: https://www.idonate.ie/event/3551_jailbreak-2022.html

Smiling… before I knew what I was in for!

I’m in good company though! Participants include TV presenter Grainne Gallanagh, Highland Radio presenter John Breslin, boxer Jason Quigley, digital media guru April McManus, local singer songwriter Kenny Crawford, No Barriers founder Johnny Loughrey, sports manager Patsy McGonagle, Irish influencer Caoimhe Harkin, Donegal Coolest Place on the Planet host Erin McGinty and the Viking Dippers trio Paddy Browne, Bobby Roberts and Frank Power.

Pictured along with Gillian Graham and Patrick McHugh from Lifford Old Courthouse are in-mates (l-r) Johnny Loughrey, Bobby Roberts, Paddy Browne, Frank Power, Jason Quigley, April McManus, John Breslin, Rachel McLaughlin, Grainne Gallanagh and Kenny Crawford. Missing in-mates include Caoimhe Harkin, Erin McGinty and Patsy McGonagle. The event has been made possible under the ARISE Programme, an awareness raising campaign for social enterprises throughout Ireland. To find out more and donate see idonate.ie/jailbreak2022.

The other inmates’ chosen charities include Donegal Hospice, Cancer Care West, ALONE Donegal, No Barriers Foundation, Breast Cancer Research, Asthma Society of Ireland, Little Angels School, Ohana Zero Suicide Training and Rocco’s Road To Recovery.

Gillian Graham is the manager of Lifford Old Courthouse and she says Jailbreak is a great way for local businesses, charities and organisations to raise funds for their groups, schools or clubs: “Located in the heart of Lifford, Lifford Old Courthouse has been used widely by the community and local groups over the years, with all income reinvested back in to improve our facilities and create additional employment. We have also collaborated with local groups to provide services to the wider community such as Meals on Wheels. Our Jailbreak games have proven really popular with school groups, hens and stags, and other groups and we wanted to take it another step further with an overnight Jailbreak event that could be used as a novel way for charities and local organisations to fundraise. The upcoming event with the brave thirteen will hopefully spread the word about what we’re doing and how other groups and organisations can book.”

Gillian has been involved with social enterprises for over 25 years. “There are lots of great social enterprises throughout Donegal and we’re delighted to be able to raise awareness of what they do. It’s great to have representatives from other social enterprises like Johnny Loughrey from the No Barriers Foundation and Patsy McGonagle from Finn Valley AC. Alongside raising funds for charity, we really hope this event will also raise awareness of just how important social enterprises are for the local community and what a wide variety of work we do. The event has been made possible under the ARISE Programme, an awareness raising campaign for social enterprises throughout Ireland. A social enterprise is business that works primarily to improve the lives of people, reinvesting any profits into their core mission. Lifford Old Courthouse is one of the many social enterprises in Donegal and we are delighted to be able to show what is possible from community run groups.”

Looking forward to the event Patrick McHugh, Events Manager at Lifford Old Courthouse said:

“We are really excited about the first ever Jailbreak event on the 29 April and we cannot thank the participants enough for giving their time and support. The group will take part in various games to earn treats and rewards for the night and we’d like to thank local sponsors for their ongoing support. The group is raising money for some brilliant organisations and charities and I hope people can get behind them with their efforts. We’ll be releasing a series of videos online via our social media platforms, so be sure to check them out to find out more. You can donate online at www.idonate.ie/jailbreak2022.”

Established over 25 years ago, Lifford Old Courthouse has an overall objective of preserving the historic building, creating local employment and promoting arts, heritage, culture and community throughout Lifford and the surrounding areas. The east Donegal social enterprise employs ten staff.

The Jailbreak project was approved by Government with support from the Dormant Accounts Fund. For more information on Lifford Old Courthouse or to find out details to host your own Jailbreak charity event visit liffordoldcourthouse.com or call +353 (0) 74 91 41733. To donate see idonate.ie/jailbreak2022.