Business Leaders return to Shop Street this Friday to Sleep Out and raise vital funds for COPE Galway

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Business Leaders return to Shop Street this Friday to Sleep Out and raise vital funds for COPE Galway

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Business Leaders return to Shop Street this Friday to Sleep Out and raise vital funds for COPE Galway as 86 Families with 199 children avail of Emergency Homeless Accommodation in Galway this Christmas.

This Friday, 2 December, forty business leaders will leave behind the comfort of their homes to sleep out in Galway’s cold winter weather with just a sleeping bag. They are raising vital funds for the local charity’s Homeless Service as they take part in COPE Galway’s 11th annual Business Leaders’ Sleep Out. This event comes on foot of the record numbers of homeless people nationally reported for October 2022 with 11,397, including 3,480 children living in emergency accommodation.

In the lead up to Christmas, COPE Galway is supporting 453 men, women and children in Galway who are availing of Emergency and Transitional Accommodation via the charity’s Homeless Service. This includes 86 families with 199 children and 134 single people. Some of these families are spending their second or third Christmas Eve waiting for Santa in emergency accommodation, many in a B&B room.

Martin O’Connor, COPE Galway’s Assistant CEO remarked, “Just this week we heard the announcement of a shocking and unprecedented number of people who don’t have a place to call home in Ireland. Here in Galway, this winter is proving extremely challenging for so many across our community due to the cost-of-living crisis. With asking rents for any available properties in Galway spiralling out of control, the challenge has never been greater for anyone without a home to find an affordable place to live. Meanwhile, our services at COPE Galway have never been under such pressure.”

The annual Business Leaders’ Sleep Out is COPE Galway’s largest fundraising event, raising over €1.25 million over the past ten years. One participant, Matt Carty of Zimmer Biomet noted, “There are a myriad of circumstances that can lead to anyone becoming homeless. It can be very difficult to find a way out of homelessness – COPE Galway supports people, including families and children, through each of the stages.” Donal Murphy of Intuity Technologies, reflected on his experience last year, “When it quietened down a bit, you could really feel the cold in your bones. It gave you a small taste of what people go through, of what [people who sleep rough] actually experience on a nightly basis.”  

Sinead Carey, COPE Galway’s Head of Homeless Service remarked, “The Business Leaders’ Sleep Out has given us space to be able to provide the things which are necessary but that aren’t available through statutory funding. Last year’s funds allowed us to create a more homely and pleasant living environment for clients who are staying in residential services for longer periods.”

“To experience childhood in a homeless setting is entirely unacceptable,” Sinead continued. “Parents feel as if they are denying their children a normal childhood, though the homelessness is of no fault of theirs. We support families with keeping as much a semblance of normality as possible while living in emergency accommodation. Thanks to these funds raised, we’ve also been able to support families to move on from homelessness into a home of their own in a timely manner when the opportunity arises.” 

COPE Galway supports people to secure accommodation, set up their homes and sustain independent living as well as provide skills development and befriending initiatives.  The funds raised through the Business Leaders’ Sleep Out have allowed the expansion of services and introduction of new initiatives such as community-based housing and outreach support for people sleeping rough.

“Everybody should have a safe and secure home. The housing and homeless crisis is now affecting every facet of society and the shortage of housing is felt on every level,” Sinead added. “Each number you see in the news represents a unique individual, with their own strengths and skills, challenges and traumas, families and friends. There has never been as high a need for our services by the people of Galway and it is unlikely we will see a change to the cost-of-living crisis anytime soon. So, it is vital for us to be able to continue to support people who need our assistance in 2023.”   

Support your Business Leader as they Sleep Out over 12 hours on Shop Street on Friday December 2. To donate, find their page at copegalwaysleepout.ie 

Follow #COPEGalwaySleepOut

ENDS

Contact: Sharon Fitzpatrick on 087 912 0853 or 091 778 750 Email sfitzpatrick@copegalway.ie

Background Information

In 2021, COPE Galway’s Homeless Service supported 1,316 people, including 119 families with 322 children – an increase of 10% on the numbers supported in 2020.

COPE Galway works with individuals and families from Galway City and County to provide homeless supports and accommodation. Services cover the spectrum from prevention, emergency accommodation and transitional accommodation through to resettlement and tenancy support.  

COPE Galway is a local Galway organisation whose vision is for a community where every person is valued, cared for and supported at every stage of life. COPE Galway has been delivering essential social services across Galway City and County for almost 50 years across its Homeless, Domestic Abuse and Senior Support Services.

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