Sleepover in Laois GAA Portlaoise HQ helps Laois Simon raises thousands for homeless

Sleep over in Portlaoise was a big success

Leinster Express Reporter

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Laois Friends of Simon harnessed community support to tackle homelessness in Laois with a big sleepover in Laois GAA's HQ last year.

And, on Tuesday, June 13, the Laois Friends of Simon donated €60,000 towards Midlands Simon Community`s work in Mulhalls Restaurant Portlaoise. 

Volunteers and supporters reflected on the last twelve months and acknowledged the massive achievement in raising these much needed funds.

Speaking at the event, Mr Michael Martin (Chairperson of Laois Friends of Simon) thanked the volunteers and communities throughout Laois, for their heroic efforts over the last twelve months.

In particular, Mr Martin thanked the Laois GAA and the Irish Prison Service for their support with the Sleep Out in October of last year. Also in attendance at the event was Mr Mark Cooney (voluntary Chairperson of the Board of Midlands Simon Community). Mr Cooney praised the efforts of the Laois Friends of Simon and their long standing volunteers and supporters, such as Mr Cormac Lally. Mr Cooney concluded by saying that it would be impossible for the Midlands Simon Community to continue its work without the support of the Laois Friends of Simon.

Mr Tony O'Riordan (CEO of Midlands Simon Community), who explained that the Midlands Simon Community, at any one time, was working with over 27 cases in the county, which included individuals, couples and families. 

Midlands Simon Community also operates 12 emergency beds for people in need of emergency accommodation in the Midlands region. 

Mr O'Riordan concluded by saying that the positive partnership with Laois County Council meant that Midlands Simon has maximised the scarce resources available. He said Laois and the other midlands counties needed more funding from national government, as only 1.5% of the total government spend on homelessness is in the midlands counties.

Photographer Denis Byrne took photographs at the presentation of the cheque in Portlaoise.