SleepOut Funds needed more than ever, says COPE

Last year’s participants in the Cope Galway Business Sleepout

Last year’s participants in the Cope Galway Business Sleepout

Twenty-eight men and women from Galway’s business community will take part in COPE Galway’s biggest fundraising event of the year tomorrow night (Friday, 6th December ) to raise awareness and essential funds for COPE Galway’s Homeless Services.

COPE Galway is currently accommodating more people than ever before through its Homeless Services for men, women and children in Galway. The local organisation’s most recent quarterly one-day census (conducted on Nov 20-21 ) has detailed that there were 510 people in emergency and transitional accommodation provided by the organisation on the night of November 20 2019.

This comprised a total of 263 adults and 247 children. In addition to this, the organisation identified 24 people as sleeping rough in Galway City on the same night. COPE Galway continues to rely on the generosity of the Galway people to help them help those in our community in most need of assistance and who rely on their service.

COPE Galway’s annual Business Sleep Out is now in its eighth year. There is an obvious frustration in the community that the problem of homelessness is not going away and that the funds for services are needed more than ever. Founding participant, Hannah Kiely said in advance of Friday’s fundraising event that she is frustrated that it still necessary.

“It makes me angry that we are still doing the Business Sleep Out eight years after it was first set up. The homeless situation hasn’t changed in Ireland and we have no choice but to keep going. We are always so encouraged by the support of the Galway Business Leaders and wider community, year after year,” she said.

First-time participant, Joseph Joyce, Solutions Engineer at SmartBear, said homelessness is a serious social issue in Ireland at the moment.

“I work in Galway city – seeing many people sleeping on the streets is something I notice every day. It’s easy to feel helpless faced with such a huge problem. I wanted to do something to advocate for people who are homeless and to help with funding in a small way. Taking part in the Business Sleep Out for COPE Galway is one way for me to contribute.”

“The idea of having a safe warm home is very important – something that we can take for granted. I know that staying out on the street for one night is not what it is like to be homeless, where you face the cold every night, but I felt I had to do something to play my part in tackling homelessness in Galway,” says Peter Fergus, Hotel Manager of The Lodge at Ashford Castle, another first-time participant.

Should not be homeless

“We have a strong economy at the moment with very low unemployment so there shouldn’t be people without a home to call their own in Galway. I’ve become very aware of the work that COPE Galway does over the past year and wanted to do something to support their work and to help others,” he said.

In 2018, COPE Galway supported 949 adults and 457 children who were homeless or at risk of homelessness within our community.

“As the homeless crisis in Galway shows little sign of abating, we use the essential funds raised from the Sleep Out to support people experiencing homelessness locally in Galway,” says Sharon Fitzpatrick, COPE Galway Head of Development.

The funds raised by this year’s Business Leader Participants are earmarked to fund:

Street outreach service supporting rough sleepers

Practical and emotional supports for families living in emergency accommodation including counselling services, recreational activities and funding towards the cost of education

Funds to support individuals to access detox and treatment services and to support education and training opportunities

Ms Fitzpatrick continued — “With housing availability at an all-time low, our staff place a greater emphasis on supporting clients to develop important skills to help them become independent and confident while staying in emergency and transitional accommodation, offering a real and significant improvement in their lives in the midst of a crisis. An event like the Sleep Out is all the more essential in helping us make a constructive and affirmative difference to people’s lives.”

Since 2012, the Business Sleep Out has seen 163 local members of the Galway Business Community raise €681,500 in total. With another 28 participants signed up for tomorrow’s 2019 Sleep Out, COPE Galway values the ongoing relationship it has with the local business community.

“Each participant is asked to raise €3,000 to take part, with some business leaders in a position to raise more, thanks to the generosity of the Galway Community. The funds raised by our Business Leader Participants over the past seven years have contributed to real progress and made a positive difference for people experiencing homelessness in Galway. Many business people and organisations offer further support throughout the year through initiatives, both financial and in kind. We couldn’t do the work we do without this support,” said Sharon Fitzpatrick.

Hannah Kiely said that the growth in success of the Business Sleep Out, from five participants in 2012 raising €7,000 to 32 participants last year raising €154,500, shows the level of awareness and commitment among the Galway business community.

“It is really important that we continue to provide as much support in our community as possible. I want to thank each and every one who has participated in and supported the Business Sleep Out over the past 8 years.”

If you know one of the 28 Business Leaders taking part in this year’s COPE Galway Business Leaders’ Sleep Out please support them – visit webpage below for the list of participants. COPE Galway is encouraging members of the public who are out and about in Galway city on Friday night to come and show their support for the Business Sleep Out participants. You can also donate online at https://www.copegalway.ie/get-involved/events/business-sleep-out/

To access emergency beds during the Cold Weather Response for rough sleepers (open now and running until April 22, 2019 ), phone COPE Galway on 085 8009641 / 085 8009709

 

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