Co-operation Ireland #45in45 – Welcome Organisation key ring

Co-operation Ireland #45in45 – Welcome Organisation key ring

Wed 07 Feb 2024 by Co-operation Ireland

As we continue to mark our 45th anniversary In 2024 by exploring our history through 45 meaningful items, the latest item is the Welcome Organisation Key Ring.

This key ring was presented to 20 young people on the Co-operation Ireland Future Leaders Programme who braved the elements on Friday evening in Belfast and Cork (February 2) to raise aware of homelessness.

Co-operation Ireland teamed up with Lagmore Youth Club for the event organised as part of their Future Leaders Social Action module. Before climbing into their sleeping bags the participants heard from Kieran Hughes from The Welcome Organisation on the impact homelessness has on society and the work they do to support people who find themselves without shelter or accommodation.

In the run up to the event the young people had raised money and collected clothes donations which were presented to Kieran on the night.

The young people are all participants in the Co-operation Ireland Future Leaders Programme, an all-island programme designed to nurture potential by providing training and accredited qualifications to those taking part.

Kieran Hughes from The Welcome Organisation said; “Homelessness is on the rise across Ireland – in Northern Ireland alone, 16,264 households presented as homeless to the Housing Executive between October 2022 to September 2023 – an increase of 4.4 per cent on the same period the year before.

“That is why it is so important to raise awareness of the homelessness crisis. Initiatives like this social action project by Co-operation Ireland’s Future Leaders programme do exactly that.

“We were delighted to be invited to the sleepout to speak to the young people about homelessness in Northern Ireland and about the work of The Welcome Organisation.

“We’d like to say a huge thanks to everyone who took part. The food, clothes and toiletries collected will be distributed directly to people affected by homelessness across our services. These include our Drop-in Centre, Street Outreach service, Annsgate and Catherine House female accommodation services and our Floating Support service.”

Colm Fanning from Lagmore Youth Project Ireland said; “Lagmore Youth Project are delighted to have this opportunity to work alongside Co-operation Ireland is supporting the learning of our young people in social justice issues.

“Over the course of the past year out young people have greatly benefitted from the development opportunities through their involvement in the CI Future Leaders programming with young people across Ireland.

“This overnight not only provided the opportunity to hear and learn the issues affecting our homeless population for the Future Leaders but our wider youth club and the wider “Lagmore and Colin area and we were delighted to have the Welcome Organisation in to hear of their fantastic work and have our young people raise vital funds to support their continued work with the homeless.”

Ian Jeffers, Co-operation Ireland CEO said; “I am immensely proud of our Co-operation Ireland Future Leaders who planned and carried out the event from start to finish. The social action part of the programme is critical to the progress of the participants and the sleep out shows that they are engaged with societal issues such as homelessness.”

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