Mediacontact.ie are organising a MediaDive. They're getting brave souls to go up in a plane and do a tandem skydive from 13,000 feet. That's just off four kilometers. Apparently it's the distance from Dublin city centre to UCD Village.
Let's look at that on Google Maps. It's what me father would call a good walk. I'd get the number 10.
The idea behind it is to get people who work in the media to jump out of a plane. You know, journalists, PR, advertising, design, and marketing consultants. There are also a number of charities signed up, who see it as a chance to raise funds. Some have nominated a journalist to dive on their behalf and raise awareness that way.
Damien Mulley was asked to do it recently - you know, to step out into the big blue yonder, strapped to someone and fly to the ground praying the equipment will work, hoping you won't wet yourself in terror or excitement and somehow praying that you'll enjoy the whole thing. I'm the same at Funderland. On the waltzers.
Mulley politely declined, but decided to spice up the proceedings...
Yeah, thanks Damien. Even after I attempted a clarification on why he'd subject me to something like that, he came back with
Rick O' Shea, every helpful in these matters wanted to know:
And while the lovely Sinéad Cochrane was rosemantic
Red Mum was less gentle
While Mulley, ever the commercial head, thought about the opportunity
Jack from MediaContact was on to me...
and I started for a while to consider it. Two big things stood in my way though - one, the date, Saturday 30 May, slap bang in the middle of my volunteering with the Cat Laughs Festival in Kilkenny and two, I don't like heights.
Seriously, while I'm not phobic, but I like having my feet on the ground (and head in the clouds).
The cost for the event is €260, a 20% discount on the €320, subsidised by MediaContact. While it's a great idea, I don't have that money to hand and I'm rubbish at fundraising and it's next week and ... well, I found my own excuses not to apply.
Enter the lovely Hilda Carroll from Carelocal.ie, a Dublin based voluntary organisation that has been befriending older people living alone in Dublin since 1974.
Carelocal recruits, trains and matches volunteers with an older person living in their area. Following the initial introduction, the volunteer then visits the older person in their home over a year and real and lasting friendships are formed.
The priority of Carelocal is to identify frail and housebound older people who are experiencing social isolation, as these are one of the most invisible and neglected groups of vulnerable people in our community.I'd never heard of them. That in itself is hardly surprising - the smaller organisations with limited resources and budgets can't afford the advertising that is needed to raise profile. Limited budgets too mean the social networking savvy people often can't be hired. It's a vicious circle.
As well as the one-to-one visitation in the person's home, they provide day trips and social outings, live musical entertainment in Community centres and residential homes and information and advocacy.
Hilda and I are twitter contacts. She knows I like to tell people about charities and events. She knows too that thanks to some pretty awful jokes - I started a parachute course then I fell out with my instructor - there are people who, like Rick and Damien to pay to throw me out of a plane. And to live tweet it.
The last Carelocal outing was in December. The outings cost €3,000 and CareLocal simply don't have the funding to host one. Linda Desmond, CEO of Carelocal says "All fund raised will go towards the next day trip. For the last two years we were able to provide five outings a year thanks to a grant. However we do not currently have fundings for outings and we haven't organised a day out since Christmas. We have been receiving enquiries from older people as to when the next trip will be and we're hoping that this event will raise the funds to cover at least one trip over the summer."
So, following Hilda's request and that news, I'm going to do it. I'm going to jump from the plane.
Yes, from 4KM in the air, I'm going to raise awareness for Carelocal (who are sponsoring my jump in return for the awareness)
I'm not promising to raise money for them. Instead, I'm taking this opportunity to raise awareness for them, to tell people about the work that they do and to use this blog and my presence on twitter to give their need to fundraise a shout.
Not that I'd refuse your money, mind. To that end, I've set up a MyCharity page at
to allow people who wish to donate to do so. I'll be doing the jump anyway - it would be great though if you could spread the word about Carelocal's need in a blog post, a tweet or on Facebook - every little helps and will help some of the most vulnerable and deserving people in Dublin to have a bit of fun.
I've never ever done something like this before. Never looked for sponsorship, never contemplated being brave enough. Good god, I'm nervous.
Last year I did the Spencer Tunick thing because of blog comments. This year I jump from a plane because of twitter. Start laying the bets folks, next time should be epic. Space walk perhaps?