Every year, the Galway Simon Community holds and annual Sleep Out that asks people of all stripes to give up their comfy beds for a night to help raise funds for their homelessness prevention services.
This is a major event that serves as one of the crucial fundraising activities for the Simon Community’s efforts to keep people off the streets.
This year, the Sleep Out can’t go ahead in its typical fashion, but people are still taking part in a virtual event by bedding down in their back garden, or living room floor, to show solidarity and raise funds at a time when charity’s like the Simon Community are in greater demand than ever before, but also are having a harder time fundraising due to COVID-19 restrictions.
This Friday, October 2 membber of the leadership team at the Connacht Hospitality Group, Peter Fitzgerald, Paul Fitzgerald, John Carmody, Wayne Neilon, Brian Lynch, Sarah Comer, Jacqueline O Dowd, Eveanna Ryan and Niall Beatty are giving up their usual comforts to spend the night in a sleeping out in solidarity with those facing homelessness during this critical time of need.
Wayne Neilon Group General Manager said that every walk of life has been affected by the pandemic, and it has hit the hospitality industry in particular.
“However as a family owned local business we believe that it is more important that ever to support local charities. The Simon Community provide a critical service throughout Galway and tonight is an opportunity to show solidarity with those faced with the blight of homelessness.”
“I would like to thank those who have donated to date and urge anyone in a position to contribute to please do,” he said.
For the Galway Simon Community it has been an immensely challenging time as they continue to work tirelessly to protect the most vulnerable individuals and families in our community from the risks of homelessness – and from Covid-19.
Before the pandemic, the services were already stretched more than ever in their 40-year history, and with an inevitable economic crisis looming, they are bracing themselves for an even bigger increase in the demand over the coming months.
All through this week, Simon Communities have been campaigning for the government to Stop Homelessness Before it Starts, with ring fenced funding for the 2021 budget, and a guarantee that half of all new social housing units are one and two bed units.
“In the West of Ireland and across the country, there has been hugely positive work going on throughout Covid-19 and we believe we have an opportunity now to build on this collaborative work,” said Galway Simon CEO Karen Golden.
“We must redouble our collective efforts to prevent more people from having to enter Emergency Accommodation over the Winter months, when the usual challenges relating to weather will be compounded by Covid-19.”
“Now more than ever, it is essential that people have somewhere to call home to ensure their safety and wellbeing.”
Donations to the Sleep Out event by the Connacht Hospitality Group can be made here.
100% of proceeds of this will go directly towards safeguarding Galway Simon’s essential Homelessness Prevention Services during this critical time of need.