Focus Ireland and Bord Gáis Energy are calling on business leaders, companies, employees, and individuals to give up just one night and sleep out on October 14th to raise funds for Focus Ireland.

According to the latest government figures, 10,492 people have been recorded to be in emergency accommodation in June 2022, making this year’s sleep-out more important than ever.

The demand for Focus Ireland’s services continues to increase. This makes corporate support even more essential for Focus Ireland so that they can continue to provide services to those in need.

Since 2015, Bord Gáis Energy has been working with Focus Ireland to drive awareness of family homelessness and has sponsored Shine a Light Night since 2019. Bord Gáis Energy has announced that it will extend its sponsorship of Shine a Light Night through 2026. Through the partnership, Focus Ireland and Bord Gáis Energy have been able to grow participation in Shine a Light Night, increase donations and help tackle family homelessness in Ireland.

People across Ireland can get involved in Shine a Light Night by signing up to sleep out at home on 14th October on shinealight.focusireland.ie. On the same night, business leaders will be invited to sleep out at socially distanced events taking place across the country at the Law Society of Ireland, Blackhall Place, Dublin, in Limerick at King John’s Castle and at Cork’s historic Spike Island. Companies can also sign up to support the initiative by pledging to fundraise and sleep out at their workplace.

Shine a Light Night was launched in October 2012 when a total of 55 Irish business leaders participated and supported the launch campaign by raising over €350,000 for Focus Ireland’s prevention services. This year, Focus Ireland and Bord Gáis Energy aim to raise €1.5m during the fundraising campaign and surpass last year’s funds raised of approximately €1.25m, which will go directly towards services preventing families in Ireland from becoming homeless, whilst creating sustainable, long-term solutions to homelessness in Ireland.

To date, Bord Gáis Energy’s partnership with Focus Ireland has supported over 7,000 families and directly prevented 458 vulnerable families from experiencing homelessness; this is largely due to the support of businesses over the years.

To register to take part in a sleep-out and for more information please visit shinealight.focusireland.ie.

Emma Burrows, Director of Legal, Regulation and Corporate Affairs at Bord Gáis Energy: “Bord Gáis Energy has a long-standing partnership with Focus Ireland and we’re committed to supporting its vital work to end family homelessness in Ireland. Shine a Light Night has gone from strength to strength since we partnered in 2019 and we’re delighted to extend our sponsorship of this event into 2026. Each year our Bord Gáis Energy colleagues turn out to sleep out in solidarity with those experiencing homelessness and we’re calling on business leaders, individuals, and families across the country to join the campaign and to give up just one night and get involved.”

Ciara Carty, Director of Services with Focus Ireland, said: “With homelessness numbers continuing to rise, and Shine a Light Night being our most important fundraising initiative each year, we call on business to continue their support of our homelessness services and take part. The business community in Ireland has always been a strong supporter of the vital homelessness services we provide, which we are truly grateful for. To reach our goal of €1.5 million, we are relying on the support of our corporate community.”

Newstalk’s Clare McKenna, an ambassador for this year’s campaign, said: “I recently hosted a podcast for Focus Ireland, and throughout the interviews I was struck at how much the stereotype of what it means to be homeless is so wrong. Anyone of us could become homeless, which is a scary but a very real possibility. On the positive side, there is so much that can be done to help people, so much more than people realise. The works that Focus Ireland and Bord Gáis Energy do around Shine a Light Night goes far beyond housing people, and I’m honoured to be part of the campaign and to be part of the sleep-out on October 14th.”

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