Offaly GAA Stars To Participate In Homelessness Sleep-Out

A group of over 400 current and former inter-county football, hurling and camogie players who are passionate about making a difference have united under the umbrella of ‘Gaelic Voices for Change’. The new player-led social movement is made up of volunteers from the four provinces who have been meeting weekly for the past two months.

 

The group, which is supported by the GPA and WGPA, feel strongly that the GAA is based on community values and that they want to use their voice to support the most vulnerable in society. They have identified the housing and homeless crisis as a priority area to focus on but are also keen to look at areas such as mental health, gambling and racism.

On Saturday 16th December, they are holding a solidarity sleep-out’ from 6pm to 6am that is designed to draw attention to the homelessness crisis, raise funds, and call for action.

 

Already over 400 county players and past players have signed up for the sleep-out which will take place in 12 towns and cities including Dublin, Boston, Galway, Cork, Limerick, Belfast, New York, Portlaoise, Naas, Sligo, Wexford and Carlow. New Dublin hurling manager Pat Gilroy will also join his squad for the sleep-out, as will the Clare hurling squad who will join the Limerick event.

Already the group have raised over 70,000euro for homeless charities north and south including the Peter McVerry Trust, DePaul, the Simon Communities, Focus Ireland and the Capuchin Day Centre, Cope Galway, Thomand House and Novas in Limerick, and the Welcome Organisation in Belfast.  People can also support by donating online at www.gaelicvoicesforchange.com.

 

During their research the group met with leading experts in the area of homelessness. They are alarmed by ISPCC reports that Ireland now has the highest child homelessness rate in Europe and that, according to Focus Ireland, there has been a 24% increase in homelessness in the past year. In the north 20,000 people and families asked the housing executive for help dealing with homelessness last year. More than 50 people declare themselves homeless each day. Between January-March 2017, there were 1,500 more cases (39.7%) of homelessness reported in N.I compared to same period in the previous year. Almost 12,000 people in the north were accepted as being ‘statutorily homeless’ over the last year. 

 

The group are on Twitter and Instagram @GaelicVoices4Ch and on Facebook at ‘Gaelic Voices For Change’. 

 

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