Focus Ireland and Bord Gáis Energy are calling on business leaders, companies, employees and individuals across Cork to sleep out for one night on Friday October 15th – to help raise funds for vital homelessness services. Recent figures from the Department of Housing report that 413 people are currently without a home in Cork. The historic Spike Island has also been confirmed as a venue for Business Leaders sleep out for the first time since 2019 with a virtual option also available to everyone to sleep on their sofas or back gardens.
CBA's Vice President, Kevin Herlihy has volunteered to take part in the Spike Island Business Leaders Sleepout.
Corporate support for Shine a Light Night is so important, as demand for Focus Ireland’s services has increased over the past year since the Covid-19 outbreak. This demand is expected to grow further as the economic impact of the virus continues to hit the country and impact the 8,132 people currently homeless in Ireland, including 2,129 children and 930 families in emergency accommodation. Bord Gáis Energy remains committed to its continued partnership with Focus Ireland, sponsoring the annual fundraising initiative – Shine A Light Night - for a third year; with both Focus Ireland and Bord Gáis Energy hoping that the virtual sleep-out options will make this year’s Shine a Light Night safe and accessible to as many people as possible.
In line with Covid-19 guidelines, Focus Ireland and Bord Gáis Energy will stage in-person events with business leaders sleeping out in Cork, Limerick and Dublin. Event organisers are currently carrying out risk assessments at all venues and will continue to monitor the Covid-19 situation with participants safety a priority.
In 2021, Focus Ireland’s Shine a Light Night campaign, which has been supported by Bord Gáis Energy since 2019, is aiming to raise €1.5 million, with Ireland’s business community helping to raise the vast majority of this. For the second year, members of the public can also get involved in the initiative within their homes and gardens by hosting their own sleep outs to Shine a Light on homelessness in Ireland. Since the event began in 2012, Shine A Light Night has raised over €7.1m for people experiencing homelessness in Ireland.Ger Spillane, head of Focus Ireland services for the Mid and South West region said: “Shine a Light Night is our most important fundraising initiative each year and we have always been strongly supported by the business community in Cork. We are truly grateful for their involvement and support in driving funds to ensure our vital services can continue to help those who are homeless across the country. We are delighted to be back at Spike Island this year, restrictions and guidelines permitting, but will also be encouraging members of the public, work places, schools and universities to get involved in our ‘virtual’ sleep outs or on their own premisses if it is safe to do so. We’re relying on the support from businesses and members of the public to reach our fundraising goal of €1.5 million so we can continue to support those experiencing homelessness in communities nationwide.”
Managing Director of Bord Gáis Energy, Dave Kirwan said, “The past year has been incredibly challenging for many; however, we know those impacted by homelessness are particularly vulnerable and need our collective support and fundraising efforts. Everyone at Bord Gáis Energy is as committed as ever to supporting the crucial work of Focus Ireland in addressing the causes of this devastating social issue and increasing support for those who are at risk of losing their home. Last year’s virtual sleep out was hugely successful, showing the strong support of the Irish public to this worthy cause and I’d encourage individuals, families and businesses across the country to consider joining or supporting the campaign this year, giving one night to shine a light on homelessness.”
To register to take part in a sleep out and for more information please visit Shine A Light 2021 (focusireland.ie)
Picture: Michael O'Sullivan /OSM PHOTO