Close to 50 business leaders have signed up to take part in COPE Galway’s Business Leaders’ Sleep Out, now in its 10th year. Each participant is running their own fundraising campaign and seeks your support to raise funds for COPE Galway’s homeless services.
Tom Walsh has taken part in the event for the last three years and thanks all who have supported his fundraising efforts over that time. Tom, from Walsh Waste, was eager to support this 10-year milestone event, especially when “this has been another tough year for a lot of people and there are always others less fortunate than you or me.”
Sinéad Carey who heads up COPE Galway’s Homeless Services is also taking part in the Sleep Out. Sinead sees first-hand the daily challenges that homelessness presents: “Homelessness isn’t limited to people we see sleeping on the street, in bus shelters, doorways and parks. Here in Galway, where a lack of affordable housing has pushed people into substandard accommodation, we regularly meet people who are living in cars and garages or surviving by couch surfing and living in extremely overcrowded conditions.”
COPE Galway supports people to move on from homelessness, secure accommodation, set up their homes and sustain independent living and provides skills development and befriending initiatives. As well as upgrading emergency accommodation environments, Sinéad would like to see some of the funds raised used for new initiatives including setting up peer to peer groups. “These would equip people experiencing poor mental health to develop skills and knowledge and to have greater confidence around how to access the services they need,” she said.
The funds raised through the Business Sleep Out have allowed the expansion of services and new initiatives such as community-based housing, outreach support for people sleeping rough and the swift adaptations to ensure continuity of service during the challenges of the pandemic.
In welcoming this year’s participants, Sharon Fitzpatrick, COPE Galway Head of Development said, “Past participants regularly tell us what an eye-opening experience it is to sleep out on Shop Street on a winter’s night, giving a tiny glimpse into the realities of homelessness. This event is a coming together of people who want to make a difference, while raising awareness and critical funds, which have helped us respond to the growing needs of the community through the years. We’re so grateful to everyone who has taken part and all who have supported the participants over the past 10 years.”
Visit www.copegalwaysleepout.ie to sponsor a participant or donate to the cause.
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. In 2020, COPE Galway’s homeless service supported 1,157 people, including 138 families with 350 children.