Local charity, Galway Simon Community, have launched ‘Sleep Out for Simon’ which will see people in Galway and Mayo sleep rough on Friday 7th October to experience for one night what many people in Ireland face every day.

The sponsored sleep out will take place in four locations, with the largest group set to swap their beds for sleeping bags on Shop Street in Galway City from 8pm to 8am. The flagship event aims to raise awareness of homelessness in Ireland while also raising sponsorship which will go directly towards preventing and addressing the current crisis in Galway.

“You could be homeless for a day, a week or the biggest part of your life but it doesn’t make a difference; one night is too long”, says Galway man Michael Mackey speaking out about his experience of rough sleeping, “it was something I never dreamt of doing but I got myself into a horrible situation, not knowing where you’re going to sleep, not knowing if you’re going to wake up. I still think about it and I think about those who are in that situation at the minute, how are they going to survive today?.”

Right now, Galway Simon is working with over 200 people who are facing homelessness. In the first half of the year, 407 households, including single people and families, accessed their services. This is a 90% increase on the same period last year. Their work focuses on preventing people from becoming homeless as well as supporting those without a home.

The charity have held successful sleep outs in the past and they plan to turn ‘Sleep out for Simon’ into an annual event to continue raising awareness of the issue. They are urging local people and businesses to show solidarity with those who are experiencing homelessness by signing up to sleep out in their local area. Anyone interested in getting involved can contact Amy Lavelle, Community Partnerships Fundraiser at Galway Simon, by phoning 091381828 or emailing amy.lavelle@galwaysimon.ie.