With Christmas fast approaching, and children around the country eagerly anticipating Santa’s arrival on Christmas Eve, a Cork charity is asking people to please spare a thought for families who will be homeless in Cork this Christmas.
Children currently living in accommodation provided by Good Shepherd Cork at Edel House on Liberty Street (an emergency shelter for women and children), the Redclyffe family hub on Western Road, and those supported in B&Bs, may worry that Santa won’t know where to find them if they don’t have a place to call home.
At the end of September there were over 150 children, from 62 families, in emergency accommodation in Cork and Kerry. Many of the Cork families were supported by services provided by Good Shepherd Cork, during a year which has been extremely difficult due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Against this challenging backdrop, the team at Good Shepherd Cork is determined to make this a memorable and magical Christmas for all the children in their services.
Allison Aldred, CEO, Good Shepherd Cork, said: “This year we are all anxious about whether we will be able to visit family and friends over the Christmas season. Families in homeless services have the additional challenges of meeting family and friends, and making Christmas special, when home is a small room in a crowded emergency shelter or, worse still, a B&B.
“When you add the social distancing requirements in a shared facility, the requirement to wear masks at all times in communal areas and the vigorous cleaning regimes required in shared kitchens and bathrooms, making Christmas magical for children is very difficult indeed.
“Every Christmas we are delighted and amazed by the generosity of people who call into Edel House with presents for the women and children in our services, with Christmas treats, food items for our annual Christmas dinners, together with donations which are essential to us being able to provide the range of supports our service users need,” concluded Ms Aldred.
The team at Good Shepherd Cork is hoping to continue many of its Christmas traditions this year. This includes decking out the services with festive decorations, the much-anticipated visit from the Lord Mayor on Christmas Eve, children placing the baby Jesus in the Crib, Santa dropping in and enjoying delicious Christmas dinners.
The ‘elves on the shelves’ will be keeping a watchful eye on all the preparations and will make sure that Santa knows where to find the children who are homeless this year.
If you would like to help make Christmas 2020 magical for families who are homeless, you can make a donation at www.goodshepherdcork.ie, or by post to Edel House, Grattan Street, Cork. Donations can be made in person, but please contact the team in advance at firstname.lastname@example.org or make contact with Claire at 086 604 5241 so that the team can manage social distancing requirements.
About Good Shepherd Cork
Good Shepherd Cork (GSC) is an independent, Cork-based charity providing services for women, children and families who are homeless or vulnerable to homelessness.
GSC runs Edel House, emergency shelter for women and children, Redclyffe family hub, B&B outreach services, Riverview (a residential centre for teenage girls who are out of home), Bruac (an education project for young women who are out of school), long-term supported housing at Baile and Aoire and, through its Support & Advocacy service, supports vulnerable women and families in the community.
In 2019, Good Shepherd Cork worked with over 950 women and children. This figure includes more than 400 women and children who stayed in Good Shepherd accommodation and over 130 families that the organisation supported in B&Bs and other private emergency accommodation.