Senior Director Methods & Change
Focus Ireland Fundraising
Focus Ireland believes that everyone has a right to a place they can call home. One of their core areas of work is preventing families and individuals becoming homeless in the first place. My fundraising efforts commenced in early September, with a target set of €3,000 of much needed funds to support Focus Ireland’s drive to heighten awareness of homelessness in Ireland today. With the fantastic support of my McKesson colleagues, family and friends my fund came in at €3,665.16.
As the date of October 18th approached, I must admit to becoming a little apprehensive, as the weather was getting much wetter and colder. On the day, I drove to Cobh, where I completed my registration at the Cobh Tourist board and joined approx. 100 people to take the ferry across to Spike Island, arriving at 7.00pm. We made our way to Fort Mitchell where we were greeted and provided with a health and safety briefing along with our supplies for the night, which included a cardboard box and plastic sheeting. I decided to join one of the tours of the Spike Island site, which was very interesting, and where we got to enter into the cell blocks which was quite eerie, no electricity just some candles along the corridors.
At approx. 10pm we were served a cup of soup and some sandwiches and it was off to settle down for the night. Our sleeping area was out in the open in the exercise yard outside of the cell blocks, where we set up our cardboard boxes and sleeping bags. I have a fear of vermin (particularly those of the larger kind- i.e. rats), so I kept well away from the walls, as I heard one of the organizers mention to stay out from the walls as the rats tend to run along there. It was a long cold night, but I was so grateful it stayed dry. I considered myself very lucky in knowing that I would be in a warm bed the following night. I didn’t sleep at all during the night, as there was a lot of noise (and snoring).
It Could Be Any One Of Us
The whole experience really heightened my awareness about homelessness in Ireland. What hit me most is that it can happen to anyone, and is no longer a problem for those who may be suffering from an addiction of some sort. Over 10,000 people are homeless in Ireland every night, of which 4,000 are children. This is not acceptable, and it is up to us all to push for changes in our housing policies. I am very grateful for having this opportunity to walk in the shoes of those less fortunate than me. And boy did I enjoy my sleep in my warm bed the following night. It was pure bliss.