Cork Penny Dinners’ new venture: Much-loved charity to open first housing project 

Cork Penny Dinners’ new venture: Much-loved charity to open first housing project 
Caitríona Twomey, Director, Cork Penny Dinners; Homeless campaigner, Father Peter McVerry; Dr Fiona Chambers Head of School of Education at UCC and Prof Pat Fitzpatrick, UCC pictured during their visit to Cork Penny Dinners kitchen facilities and new housing project. Pic Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision

CORK Penny Dinners has bought and renovated a house to accommodate homeless people.

The house in the city centre, close to Cork Penny Dinners, has been transformed into three two-bed apartments by the organisation, which will become home to six people.

The property is being shown this morning to homeless campaigner and social activist Fr Peter McVerry, during a visit by him to the organisation on Little Hanover St.

Dr Fiona Chambers Head of School of Education at UCC; Homeless campaigner, Father Peter McVerry and Caitríona Twomey, Director, Cork Penny Dinners pictured during their visit the Cork Penny Dinners kitchen facilities and new housing project. Pic Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision
Dr Fiona Chambers Head of School of Education at UCC; Homeless campaigner, Father Peter McVerry and Caitríona Twomey, Director, Cork Penny Dinners pictured during their visit the Cork Penny Dinners kitchen facilities and new housing project. Pic Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision

Director Caitríona Twomey said: “The accommodation will be for two years, while people are getting back on their feet.”

The six people who will move into the apartments next month have been selected by Cork Penny Dinners.

The project is the first venture by the Cork charity in providing housing for Cork’s homeless.

Fr McVerry, of the Peter McVerry Trust in Dublin, is also being shown other projects being run by Cork Penny Dinners, including Penny Works, run in conjunction with UCC.

Through that scheme, people who have been homeless on a long-term basis will be provided with employment on short-term projects by employers in Cork — with the aim of offering them a route out of homelessness.

The ultimate aim of the scheme is that employers will be happy to take on individuals for steady employment on a long-term basis.

The sectors being targeted for the project include farmers, cleaning companies, hotels, restaurants, gardeners and garden centres, local authorities, sports organisations and building contractors.

Ms Twomey said the aim of the project is to gain good employment for suitable candidates. The participants will be chosen by Ms Twomey and her team at Cork Penny Dinners.

The document outlining the project elaborates: “It is envisaged that there will be an element of training for all those involved in Penny Works, to be organised through UCC and the ETBs (Education and Training Board) and customers (employers) of the Penny Works service.”

Details on the venture are being outlined to Fr McVerry today by Dr Fiona Chambers, the head of UCC’s School of Education, who spearheads a research programme called WickED.

The programme aims to tackle homelessness, and the Penny Works scheme is part of the programme.

Prof Pat Fitzpatrick, UCC; Dr Fiona Chambers Head of School of Education at UCC; Caitríona Twomey, Director, Cork Penny Dinners and Homeless campaigner, Father Peter McVerry and pictured during their visit to Cork Penny Dinners kitchen facilities and new housing project.Pic Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision
Prof Pat Fitzpatrick, UCC; Dr Fiona Chambers Head of School of Education at UCC; Caitríona Twomey, Director, Cork Penny Dinners and Homeless campaigner, Father Peter McVerry and pictured during their visit to Cork Penny Dinners kitchen facilities and new housing project.Pic Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision

Ms Twomey said that a new warehouse which is currently under renovation for the organisation will also be shown to Fr McVerry.

“It will be used for storage and will also be used to roll out classes,” she said. “We currently run classes at Cork Penny Dinners in guitar, French, and mindfulness.

“We also have the High Hopes choir and a recovery night every Tuesday.”

The Cork Penny Dinners organisation serves up to 2,000 fresh meals per week and was formally established in 1888.

The organisation is open seven days a week, all year round, including Christmas Day, and volunteers offer their services to the charity to provide meals to those who attend the facility.

In March, the organisation opened up on a 24-hour basis to provide somewhere for homeless people to sleep.

Fr McVerry will be in UCC this afternoon to speak at a graduation ceremony.

Today’s visit to Cork Penny Dinners is his first one to the organisation’s premises on Little Hanover St.

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