Homelessness highlighted in first ever Simon Week

The Midlands Simon Community yesterday launched their programme of activities in the first ever ‘Simon Week’, a nationwide initiative designed to increase awareness and understanding of the issue of homelessness. The week will also celebrate the vital contribution made by volunteers to the work of Midlands Simon Community.

The ‘7 Days of Action against Homelessness’ begins this Saturday September 27 and will run until October 5. Throughout the week Midlands Simon will host a wide range of activities and events aiming to highlight the very real issue of homelessness in the Midlands region.

Chairperson of Midlands Simon Community, Cormac Lally, said that the aim is “that by the end of Simon Week we will have generated a much greater understanding of the issue of homelessness in the region and hopefully made people aware that we can all play a very important role in ending homelessness”.

Since the start of 2008, Midlands Simon Community has seen a significant increase in the numbers of people who require its services. This year to date the numbers of referrals received by Midlands Simon Community are over double those for the same period last year.

Just some of the activities taking place this week are: the ‘Race Against Homelessness’, which takes place in Athlone Institute of Technology on Saturday September 2 and is the opening event of the week. On Sunday October 28 Castledaly Foroige are very kindly hosting a coffee morning. Monday October 29 sees the launch by Ciaran Whyte of his latest CD. The launch will take place during the ‘Umbrella’ concert in the Greville Arms Hotel in Mullingar at 8pm. Ciaran is donating the proceeds from the CD to Midlands Simon. The week will also see the launch of the ‘Simon Society’ in Athlone IT and the first meeting of ‘Longford Friends of Simon’. One of the highlights of the week will be the ‘Thursday Night Live’ show with Ricey Scully, featuring music and chat with service users, volunteers, and staff on Midlands 103FM.The week will also see the presentation by Tullamore Lions Club of funds raised through their ‘House The Lions Built’ project. The final event of the Midlands Simon programme will be a ‘Flag Day’ collection in Athlone Towncentre on Saturday October 5.

Tony O Riordan, CEO, Midlands Simon Community said, “Through Simon Week we are aiming to highlight that everyone can play a role in the ending of homelessness. We can each make a real and lasting difference in the lives of some of the most vulnerable in our society...We are also delighted to have the opportunity to acknowledge the crucial role that all our volunteers play in Midlands Simon, from helping in our shop, or assisting with fundraising and campaigning, and also supporting our Service Users within the Regional Settlement Service.”

For more information please contact Cormac P Lally, Development Officer, Midlands Simon Community on (087 ) 9925083 or [email protected].

The race to end homelessness

The stars will line out this Saturday to take part in a relay race with a difference. Hosted by AIT, the ‘Race Against Homelessness’ will provide a totally unique way for people across the Midlands to show solidarity with some of the most vulnerable in our society and help end homelessness across the region, while having a great day out!

A number of high profile personalities will even be taking part on the day, including comedian Neil Delamere, Pete Casey, presenter of The Afternoon Drive on ShannonSide Radio; Pauline Curley, Irish Olympiad - Marathon, Beijing 2008; Westmeath footballer Dessie Dolan; Johnny Dooley, Westmeath hurling manager, former Offaly hurler, and GAA All-Star; Senan Connell, TV3 and Today FM GAA pundit and former Dublin footballer; RTE’s Ciaran Mullooly; Laois footballer Ross Munnelly; Professor Ciaran Ó Catháin, president, of AIT; Jim Smyth, presenter of RTÉ’s House Hunters in the Sun and teacher in Offaly School of Special Education; and Joe Whelan, chairperson of Westmeath County Council.

The “Race against Homelessness” will take place at AIT on Saturday 27 September at 3.30pm, on the newly developed Olympic-standard athletics track, which is to be the site of the Community Games 2009-2011.The event will be the first to be held at this fantastic new facility.

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