Our Director, Dermot Kavanagh identifies the sheer number of people turning to us for support as our biggest challenges in 2015 and highlights some immediate measures for addressing the housing crisis.
Our Chair, Eoin MacCuirc reflects on his experience as a volunteer ‘on the ground’ with Cork Simon and as a volunteer on the Board of Directors. Eoin talks about our future direction and identifies some of the key challenges that lie ahead.
Life is coming back on track for *Emma and her son. They’re settling into safe and secure private rented accommodation for the first time in years. Emma recounts her experience of becoming homeless in Cork, her struggle to find housing and what helped her to finally leave homelessness behind.*not her real name
A hot chocolate and a gentle stroll in FitzGerald’s Park can do a lot for body and mind. Our Activities Team organises a range of therapeutic activities designed to help residents relax and feel better about themselves, spent time outside of homeless services and begin to see options for themselves that they may not have considered before.
We are very fortunate to have support from across the community and across the generations. Castlegregory Youth Council’s Sleep Out was one of 124 events organised by kind-hearted members of the public in 2015 in aid of Cork Simon. Thank you all so much for your support.
Our Training and Employment programme offers a wide variety of personal, educational and employment focused courses. Horticulture was one of 31 courses on offer in 2015. Classes such as these encourage participants to learn new skills and develop new interests, which in turn builds confidence and encourages hope for a brighter future.
Our staff and volunteers support vulnerable people, often in poor health. A variety of skills are needed for this work and through regular training we make sure our care staff have the skills, and the confidence, to take action in medical emergencies and to save lives.
We were delighted to welcome Dr Sam Tsemberis, founder of the Housing First philosophy, to speak at our seminar 'Ending Homelessness in Cork'. Housing First is based on the simple idea of providing permanent housing to people who are homeless, without preconditions, and then providing the necessary supports so people can sustain their housing. Our 2015 research found that our Housing Support team, working to a Housing First model, has achieved an 89% housing retention rate.
At our third annual Awards Ceremony during Simon Week, we recognised the hard work and commitment of 185 people who together completed 250 educational courses and classes. Always a proud and happy day, the 2015 Awards Ceremony was made extra special with the awarding of certificates for the first time to two students who passed their Leaving Certificate exams. Certificates were awarded by Ms. Ger Canning, Adult Education Officer with the Education and Training Board.
Dawn and Mary worked together on one of the eight giant canvasses that made up ‘In It Together’ – an exhibition at the Quay Co-Op Restaurant of artwork created by Cork Simon residents and facilitated by a team of dedicated volunteers. With projects like these, the encouragement, support and belief in people offered by volunteers like Dawn is as important as the therapeutic value of making art.
A group of Training and Employment participants showed their creativity, skill and determination when they took on a Boat Building course at Meitheal Mara. During the 6 week course they built a 15-foot canoe! Projects like these support people to build not just boats, but also confidence, focus and perseverance.
The amount of people who support Cork Simon, in so many different ways, is truly inspiring. We could not provide the level of service we do without this support. Pictured here is Eve Jones in rehearsal for O Holy Night - a sold out Christmas concert which brought together over 50 singers and musicians in aid of Cork Simon.
With the decorations hung and a sumptuous dinner ready, residents, staff and volunteers came together to enjoy the annual Christmas Party in the Shelter. Marking the end of a challenging year when the we saw more people than ever before come through the doors of the Shelter, the festivities also marked the start of a new year, and with it renewed hope and optimism.
We’re so fortunate to have the support of kind and caring people from across the community who are so keen to play their part in tackling homelessness. Our third annual Christmas Jumper Day highlighted this support and goodwill with over 200 schools and businesses taking part and having fun, while helping to save lives.
With our Emergency Shelter not just full but overflowing and 345 people sleeping rough in Cork during 2015 – a nine fold increase since 2011 - our Outreach Team were on the streets whatever the weather throughout 2015 doing all they could to support the people they met.
No board meeting in August