Shine a Light 2018 – Sleeping rough to raise funds for the homeless families in Ireland

Centrus Communities

On the 12th October 2018, Jason Murphy and Mark Taheny,  members of the Centrus Dublin team participated in the ‘Shine A Light’ fundraising event which took place at The Law Society, Blackhall Place to raise much needed funds for Focus Ireland. This was Jason Murphy’s, MD for Centrus in Ireland, second year taking part in this moving event. Focus Ireland are a non-profit organisation that provide homeless services to the people of Ireland. The aim of ‘Shine a Light’ Night is to bring the business community together for one night to raise awareness and crucial funds and to stand in solidarity and ‘shine a light’ on those experiencing homelessness in Ireland today.

In Ireland, Family homelessness has reached historic numbers with over 3,800 children currently living in emergency accommodation, often unable to get to school and rarely getting a home cooked meal.

Shine A Light took place the evening after Ireland was hit by a severe storm, so rain continued to fall in buckets with our team members settled in for the night equipped only with pieces of cardboard and sleeping bags. Jason and Mark share their thoughts on the experience.

“This is my second year participating  in the Shine a Light event.  My motivations remain the same, which is

a) raise awareness of the family homelessness issue in Ireland,

b) raise funding for this issue and

c) shine a light in particular on the volume of children in Ireland who are homeless.

In my professional capacity I am already fortunate enough to work with some amazing  housing charities who have helped many families find a home.  Through this work I have a good knowledge of the housing sector and the issues being faced by all stakeholders and I have had the opportunity to use my skills to assist these excellent charities to deliver on their objectives of providing more homes for those who are in most in need.  My participation in Shine a Light has always been more focused on raising awareness (as opposed to just fundraising)with other business leaders in our community so that they can use their respective skill sets to come together to make a real impact on a very complex issue.

I mentioned in my story that every child should be able to come home and put down their schoolbag in the security of knowing they can put it down in the same place tomorrow.  For many children (over 3,800 in Ireland today) this is not the case.  I am so grateful to all those who have donated to the campaign (in particular to those who have donated for a second year) to help us exceed our target and also to all those who have engaged with us on the journey.  I hope I am inspiring others to either take part or ask the question “how can we help?”.   This year’s sleepout has continued to give me further motivation to raise awareness of the family homelessness issue in our country and I continue with my pledge to sleep out every year until I see a material resolution of this problem in Ireland” – Jason Murphy

“2018 has been a year of firsts for me – my first year with Centrus, my first time working with Approved Housing Bodies and my first year sleeping out as part of the Shine a Light campaign. I wasn’t sure what to expect on arrival (despite all I had read about previous years), but what I experienced was very different to anything I could have imagined. It was an eye-opening experience, where business leaders come together in a low profile setting to educate themselves on the current issues in homelessness, hear peoples first hand experiences, to discuss some of the highly practical ways in which we can all make a difference and to sleep out for one night to better understand how difficult it really is.

As a first timer, two things really stood out to me:

  • My own naivety around the current crisis, the root causes of homelessness and what it is going to take to really make a difference.
  • The amazing work that is being done by every volunteer, social worker and fund raiser.

I may not have gotten a wink of sleep that night, partly due to the hard ground, heavy rain and cold air, but, once it was over, I got to go home. I realise now that it is everyone’s responsibility in the country to fix this homelessness crisis and none of us are really ever that far from being homeless ourselves. One or two unfortunate events could leave any of us in dire need of the essential services provided by charities like Focus Ireland. Sincere thanks to all those that supported myself and Jason this year and we hope to have your continued support in futures as we try to play a relatively small part in the solution to this crisis”. – Mark Taheny

Jason and Mark set themselves a target of €10,000 to raise for the event. With the kind donations and match-funding from Centrus Communities, they exceeded this and €10,029.74 was raised for Focus Ireland. Collectively, all participants in the event has raised to date €762,198. All that was asked of these willing individuals was to ‘give one night to change a lifetime’. This one night gave Jason and Mark an opportunity to help.  Hopefully, by sharing their experiences they will have informed others of how much we need to help organisations like Focus Ireland.

We look forward to taking part in ‘Shine A Light’ 2019 and we would encourage other business leaders to do so until this issue for our country is materially resolved! Huge thanks to everyone who donated, every euro makes a difference and your contributions were really appreciated!! Focus Ireland are still taking donations from this event if you wish to help us even further!!!