independent

Monday 26 February 2018

Funds helped furniture restoration project

Woodwork Teacher, Roisin Curtis, with Mel and Kenneth, who are taking part in the Furniture Restoration Project at Dundalk Simon Centre, Dundalk
Woodwork Teacher, Roisin Curtis, with Mel and Kenneth, who are taking part in the Furniture Restoration Project at Dundalk Simon Centre, Dundalk

The money raised from last year's Sleep Out went towards the furniture restoration project at the Simon Community's Day Centre in Seatown Place.

The tutor for the project is Roisin Curtis, who volunteered her services after helping her parents Maeve and Terry with their annual Sleep Out and bucket collection.

'I have to say that the people of this town and surrounding areas have been brilliant in supporting us, they are so good even though many are struggling themselves.'

As a woodwork and construction teacher at St Mary's School, Drogheda, Roisin said she wanted to get involved in voluntary work as she has extra time during the holidays.

'The Men's Shed project here in The Simon Community started a year and a half ago,' she recalls. 'From the money we got last year, we got a great new shed with electricity and heating, materials and tools.'

'The men restore furniture which has been left into The Simon Shop in Yorke Street and when it's done up it's sold in shop so they feel they are giving something back to the community which has supported them,' she says. 'They are also making bird houses and fairy doors which are also on sale in the shop.'

She finds that many of the men already have carpentry skills and found themselves homeless as a result of the recession.

'They say that the project is their therapy and it's giving them ownership and pride. They feel they are giving back to the community which is helping them,' continues Roisin. 'It's my therapy as well, as when I come here after school, I always get a smile from them. They look forward to the classes and it's great craic as well.'

The furniture restoration project gives the men a sense of purpose, something which is very important to the homeless, she says.

It has also allowed them to learn new skills or brush up old ones, preparing them to get their lives back on track.

One of the men started doing voluntary work in the Simon Day Centre and laid a new wooden floor.

'He's an absolute perfectionist and is now talking about working and is starting to see a future for himself. Another guy has started a FAS course using the tools and confidence he got here.'

Irish Independent

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