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Cork Simon has been stretched dangerously thin

Thursday, 18th June, 2020 10:06am

Homeless service Cork Simon is calling on the public to donate urgently-needed funds as it struggles to keep its doors open during the Covid-19 crisis.

Already overcrowded in the lead-up to the outbreak of Covid-19, Cork Simon now faces additional financial challenges with many of its traditional fundraising methods now made impossible.

In normal circumstances, the service relies on sponsored events such as cake sales and coffee mornings throughout the year to raise funds.

The added costs of additional staffing, personal protection equipment (PPE), deep cleaning and social distancing, has put a significant strain on the service’s financial resources.

Speaking to the Cork Independent, Campaigns and Communications Manager for Cork Simon, Paul Sheehan, said that when the Covid-19 outbreak reached Ireland there were fears that the service would struggle to meet demand.

Mr Sheehan said: “We were packed to capacity, in many cases with two people to a room. We had mattresses on the floor of our day service centre every night to cater for the additional needs. We were very concerned that our emergency services wouldn't be able to facilitate social distancing.”

Working closely with the HSE Social Inclusion Office and Cork City Council, Mr Sheehan said that they were able to ensure that all rooms were restricted to a single occupant. In line with restrictions, the service was forced to change its daily soup run into a takeaway only service.

“Our soup run is quite often the only social interaction of people’s day. But we had to put a focus on the use of PPE and reinforcing all measures needed to keep people safe. While we were able to maintain these services, it has posed many challenges,” said Mr Sheehan.

According to Mr Sheehan, although many organisations donated PPE to Cork Simon, it was not enough to cover their needs.

Thanks to donations made since March, Cork Simon has been able to maintain its core services, however, its need for further financial support is now at a critical point.

“All of our services with a bed are continuing. That was our top priority, and thankfully today, we can still do that. But we couldn't have done it without the support of people across Cork. Everybody really did recognise the challenge we were facing and stepped up to the plate.

“All of that support has got us through the worst part of this, but it’s certainly not over yet,” said Mr Sheehan.

To make a donation to Cork Simon visit corksimon.ie/donate or call 021-4929410.

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