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Focus Ireland and Bord Gáis Energy call on businesses across Wicklow to sleep out and ‘Shine A Light’ on homelessness

Focus Ireland and Bord Gáis Energy are calling on members of the public, business leaders and companies in Wicklow to sleep out for one night on Friday October 15th – to help raise funds for vital homelessness services.

Recent figures from Focus Ireland report that 7,991 people are currently without a home in Ireland, with this year’s virtual sleep out in homes, gardens, school grounds, university campuses and at outdoor workspaces more important than ever.

In 2021, Focus Ireland’s Shine a Light Night campaign, which has been supported by Bord Gáis Energy since 2019, is aiming to raise €1.5 million, with Ireland’s business community helping to raise the vast majority of this.

For the second year, members of the public can also get involved in the initiative within their homes and gardens by hosting their own sleep outs to Shine a Light on homelessness in Ireland.

Since the event began in 2012, Shine A Light Night has raised over €7.1m for people experiencing homelessness in Ireland.

Focus Ireland has said the support from Bord Gáis Energy is highly important as demand for its services has increased over the past year since the Covid-19 outbreak. This demand is expected to grow further as the economic impact of the virus continues to hit the country and impact the 7,991 people currently homeless in Ireland, including 2,148 children and 928 families in emergency accommodation.

Bord Gáis Energy has said it remains committed to its continued partnership with Focus Ireland, sponsoring the annual fundraising initiative, Shine A Light Night, for a third year.

In line with Covid-19 guidelines, Focus Ireland and Bord Gáis Energy are exploring the feasibility of running in-person events with the hope of business leaders sleeping out in both Cork and Dublin. Event organisers are currently carrying out risk assessments at venues in both cities and will continue to monitor the Covid-19 situation with participants safety a priority.

To register for a sleep out or for more information please visit Shine A Light 2021 (focusireland.ie)

Pat Dennigan, CEO Focus Ireland said: “Shine a Light Night is our most important fundraising initiative each year and we have always been strongly supported by the business community in Ireland. We are truly grateful for their involvement and support in driving funds to ensure our vital services can continue to help those who are homeless in Wicklow and across the country.

“We hope to reintroduce our schedule of outdoor corporate sleepouts this year, restrictions and guidelines permitting, but will also be encouraging members of the public, work places, schools and universities to get involved in our ‘virtual’ sleep outs or on their own premisses if it is safe to do so.

“We’re relying on the support from businesses and members of the public to reach our fundraising goal of €1.5 million so we can continue to support those experiencing homelessness in communities nationwide.”

Managing Director of Bord Gáis Energy, Dave Kirwan said: “The past year has been incredibly challenging for many; however, we know those impacted by homelessness are particularly vulnerable and need our collective support and fundraising efforts.

“Everyone at Bord Gáis Energy is as committed as ever to supporting the crucial work of Focus Ireland in addressing the causes of this devastating social issue and increasing support for those who are at risk of losing their home. Last year’s virtual sleep out was hugely successful, showing the strong support of the Irish public to this worthy cause and I’d encourage individuals, families and businesses across the country to consider joining or supporting the campaign this year, giving one night to shine a light on homelessness.”

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