CORK secondary school students are sourcing sleeping bags for the homeless in Ireland as part of their mini-company project. Through their project they are hoping to create more awareness of the social issue.
Fourth-year students from Coláiste an Spioraid Naoimh, Bishopstown, are aiming to provide sleeping bags that can be specially adapted for very rough conditions for the homeless nationwide. They intend to supply a variety of organisations with sleeping bags that include the Cork Simon Community, Cork Penny Dinners, and the Capuchins in Dublin.
A total of 10 students comprise the Alpha Mini Company who chose to tackle this social issue as a means of giving back to those less fortunate in the community.
Transition Year student Georgin Sajosh said they saw there was a need for more sleeping bags after they reached out to local organisations.
“We are focusing on this social issue, as we believe this is the most prominent social crisis in Ireland in current times.
“Homelessness is a big problem. We saw the homeless crisis in Ireland and we wanted to help people out in the community. We rang Cork Simon and Cork Penny Dinners and we found there was a need for more sleeping bags,” he said.
Ray Snapes the CEO of their mini-company said their order is currently being manufactured in China and the 50 sleeping bags should arrive by the start of March.
“There was a lot of work to get to this stage. We developed the specifications. We decided what materials were to be used and we designed the product. We couldn’t find any manufacturer making sleeping bags in Ireland, so we ordered the sample and it is currently being manufactured in China. It should be here at the start of March.
“We have ordered 50 sleeping bags so far. If these are taken up we might order more. We are going to donate the sleeping bags to various agencies around the country. It is nice to give back and help people who are less fortunate,” he added.
Luke Cremin the sales manager said they are reliant on donations for funding.
“We are a not-for-profit organisation. We contacted lots of sponsors in Ireland and abroad. We hope to get more in the future. We rely on donations for funding. We are actually planning to run a few fundraisers.
“We are hoping to organise a coffee morning or a cake sale in the school. We also have a GoFundMe page which has got a good few donations.”
Ross McCarthy said Cork soccer player John Egan who is a past pupil of Coláiste an Spioraid Naoimh is also due to endorse their project via his online platforms which will be a big ‘publicity boost’ for their campaign.
“He is going to make a video for us which will promote our campaign. This will be a great publicity boost and endorsement.”
Tom Kingston added that their project is getting lots of positive feedback from within the school and the local community.
Anthony Malone who is the mini-company coordinator praised the students for their social conscience and for striving to help homeless people in Ireland.
“It is a social enterprise as the lads are aiming to help people in need. A lot of students from mini companies choose commercial concepts but these guys had an idea for helping people. It is very ambitious and hugely desirable.
“They have taken on a very challenging task which is to help the homeless and to help those with critical accommodation needs.
“They are trying to raise funds, buy the bags and then distribute the bags.
“They are also trying to increase awareness around this social problem and of the housing issues.”
The proud school teacher said the members of the mini-company group have tapped into the charitable ethos so prevalent in the Cork secondary school.
“Their energy, enthusiasm, and creativity are really great. I really admire them. They have taken this on and stuck with it. They have met a lot of challenges, but they kept working together and problem-solving as a group.
“We are very proud of them. They are very socially aware. There are lots of charity activities in this school that are organised by students. There is a great spirit of helping people within the school and these students are tapping into this,” he added.