By Tuam Herald
A COROFIN woman slept in her back garden on a cold October night to raise much needed funds for the homeless charity, Galway Simon Community.
She felt so fulfilled that she decided to encourage more people in her circle to do likewise and since 2014 has raised €5,000. To achieve that she moved her Sleep Out from her own back garden to the grounds of the Corinthian Rugby Club last year.
This year Sharon Fitzmaurice is organising a group of participants in the rugby grounds again while another group will be sleeping under the stars in Shop Street giving them an idea of what it’s like to sleep in a shop doorway.
The Sleep Out for Simon event saw more than 70 people swapping their beds for sleeping bags last year and this year the Simon Community is hoping to increase the number of participants to show solidarity with those who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.
This year’s sleep out takes place on Friday, October 6 when over €30.000 is expected to be raised to help fund local services for up to 300 clients.
Monies raised will go towards the provision of counselling, chiropody and dental treatments as well as the development of a garden allotment project in the city, to promote mental health.
Amy Lavelle, Community Fundraiser at Galway Simon, said: “Providing homeless services is much more than just putting a roof over someone’s head. The investment in health-related supports is a vital contributor in helping people turn their lives round.
“There are a multitude of complex issues that can result in someone becoming homeless such as poor physical or mental health, traumatic life events. and lack of supportive networks. By addressing underlying risk factors and putting the right supports in place, someone facing such challenges can make a lasting progression out of homelessness to lead an independent life in our community.”
A number of their clients would have nowhere else to go to if it weren’t for Simon.
One client explains: “It’s not just about Simon saying ‘you don’t have a home and we’re here to help you’, it’s also the other services that Simon provides for you, like counselling or therapy, and if you want to do a course in education or something, they are there to help you with that. They help you with your physical fitness and your mental health.”
Galway Simon’s Health and Well-Being Team are dedicated to providing all clients with specialist support in areas including physical and mental heath, addiction, relapse prevention, life skills and access to training, education and employment.
Anyone interested in taking part in this year’s Sleep Out, either in the dedicated locations or an alternative location, can register on line by visiting www.galwaysimon.ie or by calling Amy on 091-381828.