Fifty Galway business leaders have raised an incredible €253,814 from their participation in COPE Galway’s 10th annual Business Leaders’ Sleep Out over 12 hours on Shop Street last December.
In announcing the total raised at a virtual recognition event for participants held last Thursday (20 January), COPE Galway’s Homeless Service Manager, Sinead Carey remarked, “Seeing these 50 Business Leaders come together and witnessing the encouragement of their friends, colleagues and family, really brought home the commitment and unity of our community in supporting our work and our clients.”
Sinead, who also slept out on the night, echoed the shared experiences of the business leaders: As the night progressed and the weather worsened, things got tough; we began to feel weary and cold; we were looking forward to going home – it became an important moment of reflection on what it means to be homeless, to have to do this every night and not have your own home to return to. I was struck by a feeling of ‘much done, a lot more to do in addressing homelessness in Galway.
Galway’s homeless and housing crisis is not abating. In December 2021, 73 families with 200 children and 121 single people availed of COPE Galway’s homeless services. 37 children spent their second, and some their third Christmas in a row in emergency accommodation. The funds raised are vital to COPE Galway working to ensure that these children do not have to spend another Christmas homeless and to work to counter the damage they may experience at such a formative time in their lives due to the experience of homelessness.
Business Leaders at the recognition event also heard from Cliodhna Donohue, COPE Galway’s Child, Youth and Family Outreach Worker, who described the inevitable impact that living in confined settings such as B&Bs or hotel rooms has on children’s developmental goals and milestones and the work needed to support the 200 children and teenagers in homeless accommodations across Galway City and County.
The funds raised by the Business Sleep Out will allow the local charity to develop homeless supports and increase resources to support families and individuals while they remain for extended time in unsuitable accommodation. This will range from continuing to expand and develop community supported housing, increased tenancy support and preventative work for men, women and families so they avoid homelessness.
In thanking the business leaders for taking part, some of whom have participated over several years, COPE Galway CEO Michael Smyth spoke of the sense of togetherness, community and pride that was palpable at every touch point of this event. He concluded, “The money you have raised directly funds COPE Galway’s various projects to support individuals and families at risk of or currently experiencing homelessness – this work would not be possible without the incredible fundraising achieved through the generosity of Galway Business Leaders and the support of the community throughout the year.”
COPE Galway wishes to thank all business leaders, their supporters and the Galway community who supported the event.