Cork Simon will be helping those who need it in Cork on Christmas Day. Photo: Yves Alarie

‘Volunteers are at the heart of everything we do’

Cork Simon is one of the many Cork organisations which will be helping people on Christmas Day.

Cork Simon’s campaigns and communications manager, Paul Sheehan explained: “Christmas Day brings its own challenges and can be particularly difficult for people availing of our services.”

With this in mind, the volunteers and full-time staff members ensure there is a “a full complement of staff on duty” to keep every service running. The people of Cork have really shown their true colours, as almost all of the Christmas volunteer spots are full. “We are seeing a lot of people who might have a bit of time on their hands, who want to give something back. Something that they might not be able to do in the normal run of events.”

But volunteering is not the only way to give a helping hand to this vital community: “When people support Cork Simon it really is more than a gift and offers people who are homeless, the chance of a new beginning and maybe a pathway out of homelessness. We always welcome donations. We wouldn’t be able to do anything that we do without the support and generosity of people of cork and they’ve ben fantastic over the last 51 years.

“On any given night we would have around 75 people staying in our emergency beds and that’s the highest has ever been,” said Paul.

There is no typical day for Cork Simon staff, the services range from outreach, which is staff on the street meeting rough sleepers, a day service for rough sleepers to get in for the morning and an emergency shelter that’s open around the clock every day of the week.

Cork Simon’s got apartments around the city, people who were previously homeless are on their way to leaving homelessness behind, and support workers visit them so they can maintain their tenancies. “None of our services are fully funded by the state, so it is voluntary donations that help to keep our doors open every night of the year,” added Paul.

Donations can be made at