On Friday, October 2nd, over 200 people took the challenge of virtually sleeping out in a bid to raise essential funds and awareness for those facing homelessness in Galway. This was the first year Galway Simon Community’s annual event went virtual and it proved to be a huge success, raising over €115,000 to date for their vital Homelessness Prevention Services.
Going virtual meant that this year’s Sleep Out was more inclusive than ever before with people of all ages taking part; from Montessori Groups to Secondary Schools; Choirs to Scout Groups; Sports Clubs to Youth Councils, along with Businesses and Enterprises of all sizes. Galway Simon was also thrilled to have Galway GAA back the event this year, with GAA Clubs and Players from across the County participating. The event was more widespread than ever before with families, friends, colleagues, and teammates taking part in communities right across the West, as well as in places as far away as Shanghai, Vancouver, and Seoul!
Participants took the challenge of giving up their bed for one night, to sleep in their back gardens, on their doorsteps, trampolines, garden sheds, living room forts, and office carparks; coming together in solidarity with those facing homelessness during this critical time of need.
One participant, Regina King bravely slept out in her tent on top of Croagh Patrick. Speaking about taking this incredible challenge, she said
“I climbed one mountain for one night with three of my dogs to raise funds for those facing many mountains. As it stands myself and my Collies have raised €2,500 for the Galway Simon Community. The people that made donations are going to make a difference to the lives of those facing Homelessness.” Regina said.
Although they took part from a distance, participants were entertained and connected online by tuning into a live-stream throughout the night. There was huge collaboration from local businesses, communities, musicians, artists and entertainers, all of whom made the success of the event possible.
Karen Golden, CEO of Galway Simon commented on the importance of funds raised through the Virtual Sleep Out, saying:
“Our Homelessness Prevention Services are stretched more than ever before, and given that we are experiencing an unprecedented pandemic we are anticipating an even bigger increase in the demand for our services over the coming months. The Sleep Out for Simon is our biggest fundraiser of the year and is vital in keeping our Prevention Services running in Galway. I would like to extend a warm heartfelt thanks to everyone who supported the event this year, from those who participated on the night to those who made a donation and the many people who gave of their time and expertise – a huge thank you from all of us at Galway Simon.” Karen said.
Galway Simon Community would like to extend their sincere thanks to everyone who supported the Virtual Sleep Out this year. The charity is still receiving donations and sponsorship from the event and the total funds raised will be announced in the coming weeks.