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29 Jan 2022

Thousands raised for homeless community at Longford sleep-out fundraiser

Volunteers all across the Midlands helped raise thousands of euro recently as part of the Simon Community's annual 'Sleep Out' fundraiser.

The event was held at Longford Rugby Club on Friday, December 10 to raise funds for the charity and promote understanding of the hardships homeless people face every day.

Organiser Noel Greene said, “It went very well. The rugby club was an ideal venue for it, there was great space and great facilities.”

Although it was a success, fewer people slept out this year, which Noel believes may have been due to Covid-19 restrictions.

“We didn't have any music as we had in the past. We just asked people to come in and bring their sponsorship cards and facilitated those who wanted to sleep out for the night.”

He estimates between twenty and thirty people slept in alcoves and shelters around the clubhouse during the event, and said, “People were very happy with it. A lot of people like to experience just for one night what it's like for a homeless person every night. Some people have been doing it every year with us since we started and [there were] some new people as well.”

One couple who participated reportedly travelled all the way from Laois to take part. He said, “That was their first experience of it.”

The event usually goes ahead on Good Friday every year, with Noel saying it was “a new experience” to have it in the lead-up to Christmas.

He said they were “very happy” with the fundraising results, with sponsorship cards still being delivered after the event ended.

“I expect it will end up probably somewhere in the region of twelve to fifteen thousand euros, which is excellent.”

He extended his thanks to all the people who “braved the elements” and came out to show support on the night.

He said, “At the end of the day that's what it's all about, to try and get the sponsorship in. In the lead-up to it, it was dicey enough if we would get going ahead with it or not because of the Covid-19 restrictions. We decided we would go ahead with a scaled down version of what we normally do and thankfully people came in and supported it.”

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