The People in Need Trust was established in May 1988 with the purpose of raising and distributing money to charitable organisations throughout Ireland.
There is a special emphasis on helping smaller, lesser known charities who, for whatever reason, are not in a position to raise sufficient funds themselves. The primary focus is on voluntary social service organisations. The main source of funds is the highly successful RTÉ People in Need Telethon which is supported by Eircom.
Eight Telethons have been held to date and over ¤35 Million has been distributed in grants ranging from ¤150 to ¤50,000 to a variety of Irish charities that are most in need of financial assistance. Grant applications are assessed by advisory committees in each region before final approval by the Board of Directors of the People in Need Trust. A key condition is that the money raised in a particular county must go back in grants to organisations in that county - in this way, the money raised always stays locally. The organisations who benefit are not only spread widely throughout the country but they represent a wide spectrum of social need in Ireland - organisations providing services for the disabled, the homeless, deprived children and other disadvantaged groups. The support of the People in Need Trust enables many of these organisations to further develop and extend the invaluable work that they carry out in our communities.
In 1989 The People in Need Trust joined forces with RTÉ and Eircom and the Telethon was born. With an emphasis on fun and community spirit the Telethon concept was an overnight success and continues to bring communities, schools, parents and children together almost twenty years later.