Focus Ireland & Bord Gáis Energy call on Ireland’s transport community to join virtual sleep-outs

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Focus Ireland Shine a Light Night 2020 Picture Conor McCabe Photography.

 ………. and support the fight against homelessness 

Annual Shine a Light Night returns for 2020 with appeal to business leaders, companies, and employees to join virtual sleep-outs across the country 

Focus Ireland and Bord Gáis Energy are calling on business leaders and companies across the country to participate in Shine a Light Night 2020 on October 16th – giving one night to help raise much needed funds for vital homelessness services. Due to Covid 19 restrictions, Ireland’s transport community has the option to host virtual sleep-outs in their own homes, gardens and safe private spaces in line with government restrictions surrounding Covid-19.

Corporate support for Shine a Light Night is more important this year than ever due to an increase in demand for Focus Ireland’s services in recent months since the Covid-19 outbreak. This demand is expected to continue growing as the economic impact of the virus hits the country and impacts on the 8,728 people currently homeless in Ireland, including 2,651 children and 1,142 families in emergency accommodation. As a result, Focus Ireland supported by Bord Gáis Energy hope that the virtual sleep-out option will make Shine a Light Night safe and accessible to as many businesses and employees as possible.

In 2020, Focus Ireland’s Shine a Light campaign, which is proudly supported by Bord Gáis Energy, is aiming to raise €1.3 million on Shine a Light Night, with Ireland’s business community helping to raise the vast majority of this. This year however, members of the public can also get involved in the initiative within their homes and host 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 €5.3m for people experiencing homelessness in Ireland. In 2019, the support of Bord Gáis Energy as sponsors enabled Focus Ireland to help over 14,200 people.

For further information on Shine A Light Night 2020  and to register for a virtual sleep-out visit www.focusireland.ie/shinealight.

Calling on business leaders to get involved, 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 across  Ireland. As a result of Covid-19 and arising government restrictions, we have made the unfortunate but necessary decision to cancel our schedule of outdoor corporate sleepouts across the country. Instead, we hope that Ireland’s business leaders and companies will continue to show their support for Shine a Light Night and take part ‘virtually’ by sleeping out safely in their own homes, gardens, or private safe spaces.” 

“Covid-19 is also having an impact on the demand for our services which has increased in recent months. Hitting our fundraising goal of €1.3 million will be more important this year than ever if we are to continue to support those experiencing homelessness in communities nationwide.”

Managing Director of Bord Gáis Energy, Dave Kirwan said, “Ireland has faced many challenges in the past six months, with those without homes particularly vulnerable. As we all know, having a safe, warm home is something everyone should be able to enjoy; along with the safety and security this affords. We’re proud of our partnership with Focus Ireland and are committed to supporting its great work in addressing the issue of homelessness and helping those at risk of losing their home. 

We’re delighted to yet again support the Shine a Light Night sleep out and want to make this year’s event bigger than ever. The team and I in Bord Gáis Energy will be participating this year and we are asking businesses to join us in giving just one night to sleep out in solidarity with Ireland’s homeless community.