Longford Leader gallery: Battle to end homelessness intensifies as crowds line out at Sleep out for Simon event

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People gathered on what was a beautiful Good Friday evening, April 19, for the annual Sleep out for Simon event at Connolly Barracks in Longford town.

The initiative, which was first started in 2015, has raised in excess of €60,000 for the charity to date. Their efforts have allowed them to develop a 10 apartment building on Earl Street, which acts as emergency accommodation for those affected by homelessness.

“It was a very successful night from a fundraising point of view. Our approach this year was slightly different in that we asked a lot more people to take sponsorship cards.” Noel Greene of Longford Midlands Simon explained.

“The crowd on the night were small enough, but we have a large quantity of sponsorship cards out, so financially we would have done very well on it. We are expecting the results to be very good. We should have a final figure by the end of the week.”

The event kicked off at 9pm with a welcome address from Tony O’Riordan, chief executive officer with Midlands Simon Community.

“There was a good few people in and out on the night. Some people came in and gave a contribution at the entrance. The people that took part collected anything between €300 and €1000 each, which was exceptionally good.”

Participants were entertained on the night with some music performed by Des and Colin Galligan. Participants were then treated to some grub courtesy of Herterich’s artisan butchers.

Noel remarked: “It was a fun night. Dessie Rynn supplied the music and Colin Galligan was there as a participant in the sleep out, but he also entertained as well.

“It was probably one of the best nights weather-wise that we ever had. The majority of people slept out in the open air on the night, which was great.”

Noel says the team will go bigger and better again next year and thanked the people of Longford for their continued support.

“I would like to thank everyone who took part and to those who sold sponsorship cards as well. We are extremely grateful. All money raised goes to the homeless service here in Longford.” he said.

“We will go at it again next year, because it is such a successful event for us now. The numbers of people may have been small on the night, but the number of people who collected and gave sponsorship was very encouraging.” Noel concluded.