Westport to host Solstice Sleep Out to support homelessness

The Solstice Sleep Out for Simon will take place on the longest day of the year, Friday, June 21, where participants will experience for one night what many people in Ireland face every day, to help raise awareness and funds to tackle homelessness.

A community fire will be held to mark the end of the Sleep Out in an act of solidarity with those experiencing homelessness and will be held at sunrise at Bertra Strand.

Urging people to get involved, Lisa Gallagher of Be Yew, a local Mayo business which focuses on energy and sound healing, outlined the idea behind the Solstice Sleep Out.

"The Solstice has been celebrated in Ireland since ancient times. It is a time of awareness, contemplation, community and an astronomical indication to prepare for the longer nights and colder months ahead. In modern times, it is so easy to get caught up in our own lives that we often lose sight of the importance of community and supporting one another, especially offering support to those most vulnerable."

She continued: "At the moment in Ireland, homelessness is a major issue, reaching crisis point across the country. Therefore, it feels like a natural step to organise the Solstice Sleepout for Simon to raise awareness and the necessary funds for those in our community who will struggle the most through the cold weather and long nights. We will do this by sleeping out in Westport on June 21 to raise money for the Galway Simon Journey Home Fund which aims to fit out houses and apartments to create new homes for individuals and children who would otherwise be without a home. The event will then be brought to a close at Bertra Strand with a community fire at Sunrise (6am ) to invite in warmth and light for the whole community."

All proceeds raised from the sleep out will go to Galway Simon Community who provide support and accommodation services to those facing homelessness. So far this year, the charity has supported 421 households, 130 of which have been provided with accommodation. If you would like to make a donation to support the Solstice Sleep Out please visit www.justgiving.com/fundraisin/solsticesleepoutforsimon To register for the sleep out, or for more information, visit www.galwaysimon.ie or www.yewelementals.com

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