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Business leader sleepout at Dublin's Christ Church Cathedral targets homelessness

Posted on: July 6, 2015 11:17 AM
(left to right) CEO of Focus Ireland Ashley Balbirnie; The Dean of Christ Church Cathedral, the Very Revd Dermot Dunne; Newstalk’s Bobby Kerr
Photo Credit: Photocall Ireland
Related Categories: Advocacy, Dublin, homeless, Ireland

[Church of Ireland] Focus Ireland has launched its Shine A Light Night Business Leader Sleepout and is calling on business leaders to sleep out for one night to help raise vital funds for its services working to prevent and combat family homelessness.

Newstalk’s Bobby Kerr, CEO of Focus Ireland Ashley Balbirnie, The Dean of Christ Church Cathedral the Very Revd Dermot Dunne and Paul Dunn from Merrion Fleet Management, (sponsor of this year’s business leaders sleepout) officially launched Shine A Light Night 2015 at Christ Church this week.

The event takes place in Christ Church Cathedral in Dublin and in Munster in Cork’s historic city Gaol, on the 16th of October and is part of a wider campaign to shine a light on the issue of homelessness as well as shine a light of hope for those who are experiencing homelessness right now in Ireland.

The charity is calling on business leaders to join their peers across the country and to sleepout for one night to raise awareness of the issue of homelessness in Ireland and to raise crucial funds for Focus Ireland’s services.

The night is Focus Ireland’s flagship corporate event and since 2012 over 1 million euro has been raised from Shine A Light Night with over 200 business leaders taking part in the sleepout to date. These funds have been vital to ensure Focus Ireland services have been able to cope with a 43.75% rise in the numbers seeking support since 2012. In 2014 alone, Focus Ireland helped over 11,500 people compared to 8,000 in 2012 who were either homeless or at risk.

Newstalk’s Bobby Kerr and The Dean of Christ Church Dermot Dunne are among this year’s participants along with top business leaders from Google and PayPal. Business leaders participate in a series of critical issue think–tanks on the night, before they swap their executive chairs for sleeping bags and offer solidarity to those who have no place to call home and live in unstable, unsuitable and insecure accommodation, and who have to go through the trauma of losing their homes.

The charity is now urging more of Ireland’s top business men and women to come together and sign up for the event. Focus Ireland says they need the support of the Irish business community now more than ever. The appeal comes as the number of families becoming homeless has nearly doubled since last year and one in four of those in emergency accommodation is a child.

Currently, more than one family goes through the trauma of losing their family home every single day in Ireland. Focus Ireland lifeline services are working hard to support these families and to prevent others from losing their homes in the first place by providing advice and information. The charity is proud to say that 89 cent out of every euro received goes directly towards ending homelessness in Ireland. 

This year Newstalk have been announced as the official media partner for Shine A Light Night and Editor in Chief at the station, Garrett Harte, says they are delighted to support this unique event, ‘this is a real opportunity for corporate Ireland to make an impact on homelessness in Ireland. We have been supporting Shine A Light Night since its inception in 2012 and we are delighted to be Focus Ireland’s Media Partner for this year’s event. We hope our listeners get behind this great initiative.’

To learn more about Shine A Light Night, past participants and how to get involved visit the Focus Ireland website.