Cork Simon Community launches 'More Than a Gift' Christmas campaign

The campaign was launched at the Cameo Cinema in the Montenotte Hotel
Cork Simon Community launches 'More Than a Gift' Christmas campaign

Jonathan Healy, Rachel Stevenson, and Paul Sheehan at yesterday’s launch of Cork Simon’s ‘More than a Gift’ Christmas 2022 campaign at the Montenotte Hotel in Cork. The campaign features moving testimony from a man who was helped by Simon after he ended up homeless following childhood trauma. Picture: David Creedon

CORK Simon Community has launched a Christmas campaign to highlight how the public’s support helps “to change lives and save lives”.

The ‘More Than a Gift’ campaign aims to highlight how people’s support of the charity has a long-lasting, positive impact on the lives of men and women experiencing homelessness in Cork.

The campaign was launched yesterday evening at the Cameo Cinema in the Montenotte Hotel.

“Everything we do depends on the generosity and participation of the wider community here in Cork,” said Cork Simon Community head of fundraising Rachel Stevenson.

“No matter how people support us — be it donating, sponsoring a room, organising or participating in a fundraiser — every act of kindness helps to change lives and save lives.

“It’s much more than a gift,” she said.

The campaign draws on the real-life experience of Ruairí [name changed for privacy], who was eventually pushed into homelessness following a traumatic childhood experience.

His own words, “No one wants their child to grow up to be homeless on Christmas Day” were the inspiration for the campaign.

“Ruairí’s story, in his own words, will be dropping into every household in Cork in the coming weeks,” Ms Stevenson said.

Jonathan Healy 1 at the launch for Cork Simon 'More than a Gift Christmas 2022 campaign that was hel at the Montenotte Hotel, Cork. Picture: David Creedon
Jonathan Healy 1 at the launch for Cork Simon 'More than a Gift Christmas 2022 campaign that was hel at the Montenotte Hotel, Cork. Picture: David Creedon

“He talks of his loving Cork family, of a traumatic experience outside the family home at just 10 years of age that was the root of his homelessness, and of his struggles to keep body and soul together.

“No one wants that future for their child — on Christmas day or at any time.”

Ruairí recalls reaching “rock bottom” three days before Christmas not knowing how to deal with sleeping rough.

But he says he “started to heal” when he got his own bed, his own room, and a support worker at Cork Simon to help him deal with the root cause of his homelessness.

Speaking of the generosity of people in Cork, Ruairí said that it “can lift the burden of decades of pain”.

Cork Simon’s ‘More Than a Gift’ campaign is asking people throughout Cork to give the gift of hope and a new start for the men and women it is supporting right now.

They can do this by donating, sponsoring a room, or organising a fundraiser such as a Cork Simon Christmas Jumper Day.

For more details, visit www.corksimon.ie.

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