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Tune up for charity

“Sing for Simon” returns to raise funds and spirits for homeless in Dublin

‘Sing for Simon’ carolathon will take place in Grafton Street  Photograph by William Murphy

In the run up to Christmas many charities are doing that little bit extra to help those less fortunate. One such charity is the Simon Community who will be running a ‘Sing for Simon’ fundraiser, writes Sinead Makk.

Sing for Simon’ is an annual event, which sees many different carol singing activities take place across the capital around Christmas time.

Founded in 2008, the fundraiser brings together over 100 groups and choirs, who sing Christmas carols across various shopping centres and other locations in Dublin, Wicklow and Kildare.

Speaking about the campaign, Aoife Mulhall, Campaigns and Media Coordinator for the charity said, “‘Sing for Simon’ began in 2008 and is a critical fundraising campaign and a fantastic opportunity to bring us together to support people who are homeless or at risk.”

The Simon Community itself was founded in 1969 by a group of Trinity and UCD students, who started giving soup and sandwiches to those who were sleeping rough. Since then the charity aims to help those dealing with homelessness across the country in areas such as Cork, Dublin, Dundalk, Galway, the Midlands, the Mid-West, the North West and the South East.

According to Mulhall, each year the community helps around 4,500-5,000 people who are dealing with homelessness or who are at risk of becoming homeless.

“Simon tackles the root causes, promotes innovative responses and urges the government to fulfill their commitments,” added Mulhall.

Each year the problem of homelessness continues to grow, particularly in the city centre where there are a high number of rough sleepers.The Official Rough Sleeper Count in Dublin, which includes Dublin city and county and the four Dublin Local Authority areas, has shown an increase in those sleeping rough over the past year.

According to their statistics, homelessness was up nearly 30 per cent in April 2013, with 94 people counted sleeping rough compared with 73 counted in April 2012.

The Dublin Simon Community also conducts their own weekly street counts of those who are sleeping rough.

According to these counts Dublin is “experiencing significant growth in the numbers bedded down in the inner city centre, between Jervis Street, Amien Street and Harcourt Street. There has been a 66 per cent increase in the first half of the year”.

As part of ‘Sing for Simon’ there are numerous events taking place in the coming months, including the standard ‘Sing for Simon’, ‘Christmas Volunteering’ and the biggest event of all, the ‘Simon 24-Hour Carolathon’.

The ‘Simon 24-Hour Carolathon’, which is considered the biggest event of the fundraising campaign, will take place between the 20th and 21st of December this year on Grafton Street. Speaking about the event, Mulhall said “The 24 hours of singing through the night highlights our support for those who are sleeping rough this Christmas.”

In addition to the Carolathon, Liberties residents will have a chance to get into the Christmas buzz by catching the carol singing events at various locations across the city centre, including College Green, Clerys, the GPO, O’Connell Street, Point Village Christmas Market and Grafton Street; all only a stone’s throw away from the heart of the Liberties.

Throughout December there will also be numerous bucket shakers collecting money as part of ‘Sing for Simon’.

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