Support sought as number sleeping rough doubles

Cork Simon, experiencing a doubling of numbers sleeping rough in the city, has issued a special appeal for support ahead of its biggest annual fundraiser.

Concerns are mounting the organisation will not be able to meet demands on services.

Its director, Dermot Kavanagh, said the city is still witnessing homelessness and housing crises.

“The number of people sleeping rough at present is double what it had been just 12 months ago,” he said.

“We’ve seen significant increases in the number of people turning to us for help and we are very concerned for the future.

“Cork Simon needs to raise €2.7 million a year to keep our doors open so that we can be there for everyone who needs us, 24 hours a day, 365 days per year.”

He was speaking yesterday as organising volunteers and supporters of the annual Cork Simon Ball for the last 15 years were honoured for their efforts.

The event has raised a staggering €875,000 in that time.

Volunteers Phil Vaughan, Mary Wilson and Rose Donnery organised the first Cork Simon Fundraising Ball in 2000 which raised £21,000 — which was at the time the largest amount of money any Cork Simon fundraising event had raised.

Ms Vaughan said she felt she had to do something to help after visiting the charity’s emergency shelter.

“It has been a pleasure to fundraise for such a wonderful organisation,” she said.

“It is very rewarding that what we started 15 years ago continues to day and has become bigger and better.

“The generosity of Cork businesses and companies has been outstanding and I have seen that their support has only grown over the years.”

Last year, volunteers from the corporate sector helped raise around €90,000 for Cork Simon.

Paschal McCarthy, the managing director of GE Healthcare, joined the Cork Simon Ball Committee three years ago and is chairing the group this year.

“It’s been a wonderful opportunity to give something back to society,” he said.

“Considering the dramatic bust this country experienced after the fall of the Celtic Tiger, it could have been any one of us who needed to turn to Cork Simon for help.”

Mr Kavanagh thanked all involved in organising the ball, and those who support it every year.

“We’re most fortunate to have CEOs, managing directors, barristers and consultants lending us their particular skills and experience as volunteers,” he said.

Up to 50 Cork companies support the ball each year through sponsorship, donations and items for auction.

This year’s sold-out event, one of the highlights of the city’s social calendar, takes place in the Fota Island Resort on March 27.

It is sponsored by Heineken Ireland, MSL Cork, Bon Secours Hospital Cork, Dunnes Stores, E&Y and SolarWinds.

www.corksimon.ie/ cork-simon-ball-2015/


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