The public are being urged to support a sleep-out to help fund services for homeless people in Galway.
COPE Galway is holding this, the second such event, to raise awareness and vital funds for its work with homeless men and women in Galway
Transition year students from both the Jesuit secondary school at Sea Road and Calasanctius College in Oranmore will be joined by staff, volunteers and supporters of COPE Galway in sleeping out.
“This is such a great way to bring home to people, in some small way, the reality of what life is like if you are experiencing homelessness in Galway,” said Fintan Maher of COPE Galway.
“Each student who participates will have done some research on homelessness and will also have raised vital funds for COPE Galway. So this will be both an educational and character building experience.”
He is appealing to people to support the fundraiser. “We are asking the people of Galway to make a donation to sleep in their own beds on December 18. They can make a donation to sleep in their own beds either directly to COPE Galway by logging onto to www.copegalway.ie and click on Donate Now or by texting the word SLEEP to 57599 (cost €2.50 ) or by phoning 1518 999 996 (cost €3 ).
Meanwhile as part of its activities highlighting homelessness in Galway COPE is organising an event at the Augustinian Church on Tuesday December 21 at 7pm.
Entitled “Sounds and Stories - Personal Views of Homelessness” it will tell what it is really like to be homeless. The stories on the night are the experiences of men and women who have experienced homelessness, told in their own words. The music on the night has been chosen by them. Rev Patrick Towers will MC the free event which is open to the public.
“In organising an event to highlight the issues of homelessness we wanted it to be reflective of people’s real experiences,” explains Fintan Maher.
“We are delighted that past and present service users were willing to tell their own stories. We hope that in telling their stories it will help to dispel some of the misconceptions people have about homelessness and it will make the invisible elements of homelessness visible.”
COPE Galway operates a number of services in the city supporting people experiencing homelessness. These include: the Fairgreen Hostel for men, Osterley Lodge Hostel for women, a day centre on Seamus Quirke Road, and Ruislip Manor and Resettlement Service which support people returning to independent living. For more information on the work of COPE Galway log onto www.copegalway.ie or telephone (091 ) 778750.