independent

Thursday 21 November 2019

Sleep-out at Wexford Park Shines a Light on homelessness crisis

Sean Donovan, Barry Murphy, Rachel Byrne, Rachel Ennis, Sheena long and Catherine Ryan from Wexford
Sean Donovan, Barry Murphy, Rachel Byrne, Rachel Ennis, Sheena long and Catherine Ryan from Wexford

Pádraig Byrne

While there was a fun atmosphere at Innovate Wexford Park as a group of over 50 people bedded down for the night, there was a serious message behind the event.

According to Focus Ireland, 66 people are currently homeless in Co Wexford and it's to help people like these that they once again hosted their 'Shine A Light' sleep out in the park.

'We had a great response this year,' said Cathryn O'Leary of Focus Ireland. 'Our numbers are up by 50% on last year. The support from local businesses this year was fantastic and we had a number of new ones come on board. We don't know just yet the extent of how much money was raised, but we're expecting that it will be well up on last year.'

Sleep outs took place at several locations across the county as different people and groups rowed in behind the cause. In Wexford Park, people arrived from 7pm and before rolling out the sleeping bags, they chatted with Focus Ireland staff about the work they do and watched 'Rosie' a frightening depiction of the homelessness crisis.

In Wexford, Focus Ireland has grown from one member of staff six years ago to 8 now. Wexford GAA were very supportive of the initiative too and among those taking part were All-Ireland winner Tom Dempsey and Eanna Martin. Cathryn thanked everyone who got involved and an announcement is due in the coming weeks on money raised.

Gorey Guardian

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