Serving Dublin, Kildare, Wicklow, Meath, Louth, Cavan and Monaghan
Welcome to the Dublin Simon Community Summer Newsletter. The newsletter will update on recent changes and developments in our services.
This year we are marking 50 years since Dublin Simon Community first began. What motivated our first volunteers still continues to be the driving energy of our experienced and trained volunteers and staff working across our services today. Learn more about the early days of Simon below.
Today, June 21st marks the longest day of the year. Our #LongestDay campaign, now in its fourth year, encourages the public to take some time out of their busy day, to remember those facing homelessness and help raise vital funds, all while enjoying some time with family and friends.
Fifty years ago we offered a kind face and a warm cup of soup, but ultimately the priceless gifts of respect and hope. In the years ahead, people like you will ensure that our community will be by people’s side at every step of their journey home.
We always love hearing from our community of kindness. As a valued supporter, if you ever have any questions or would like to learn more about our services or how you can get involved please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
From all of us at Simon, thank you for anything that you can do to help.
Aoife Mulhall On behalf of the Simon Team
Fifty Years Rebuilding Lives - The Early Days of Simon
In February 1969, a small number of volunteers made up of students from University College Dublin and Trinity College, packed up their flasks of soup and sandwiches and set out on the streets of Dublin to provide food and support to people experiencing homelessness. Find out about the early days of Dublin Simon Community through stories from volunteers, clients and reports in the media.
“When days were dark, chaos was everywhere, the pressure was intense, the work was never done and the urge to quit was mighty, it was the people who kept me going, great people at all levels in Simon – all people of generosity and commitment.”
Our Simon Charity Shops have two important purposes – to raise much needed funds for our homeless services and to provide a working environment for our clients to receive training as a potential pathway to out of homelessness and to employment. Dublin Simon Community have two charity shops on Camden Street and Thomas Street.
Our Shops were delighted to have been recently awarded with the ReMark ReUse Quality Standard of Excellence at a ceremony in their Camden Street Shop in Dublin.
A pilot programme run by the Community Reuse Network of Ireland (CRNI) and funded by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Dublin Simon Community is the second organisation to receive the accreditation for their charity shops.
Since we began in 1969 we have focused on supporting people to develop the skills needed to rebuild their lives. By providing classes and workshops, our Participation and Development teams encourage active participation and greater social interaction.
We believe meaningful activities are central to providing structure, purpose, wellbeing, intellectual stimulation, self-esteem and independence for people like Julie as they move through their journey out of homelessness.
“I think art is one of the ways you can change the world, especially your own world. You become the creator and you are no longer a victim.
“I became homeless in 2016 after losing my job. It was a nightmare but I’m lucky that I was never on the streets. I found a place to sleep every night and I now live in an emergency accommodation service. I first went along to the Simon Community’s Soup Run and then little by little I got involved in their Social Club.
“I love the Social Club. I still go every Monday and Wednesday. Through the Social Club I got to join the Simon Dance group and art classes and then became involved in the Client Action Group.
“What I like about Simon is they use art as way of therapy. You provide people the space so that people can choose what they want to do, like writing and creative writing. I got the opportunity to become a volunteer with Simon’s Health and Wellbeing service and I was with them almost for a year. I want to work as a healthcare assistant so in the meantime Simon supported me in doing the courses I needed.
“When I finished my training I wanted to start to look for work so my keyworker linked me in with Simon’s Community Employment Scheme. I’m looking forward to starting back working. My next focus is finding permanent accommodation and I have a couple of people in Simon helping me with that. Right now it’s all in process but it does take time.
“Simon give you the support to become who you are and decide what they want to do next. That way you don’t feel like you’re on the outside. You have to provide the space for the people to learn for themselves how to not be the victims but become the subjects of their own lives. That’s what we are all trying to do.”
*Julie’s name has been changed and a stock image used to protect her identity.
Today, June 21st, marks the longest day of the year, a day of possibility and activity. People take time to enjoy the longer day with friends and family; doing simple and everyday things that some may take for granted.The Dublin Simon Community’s #LongestDay is an annual day of action.
Throughout the #LongestDay Dublin Simon Community will have a day of online activity, where we will share testimonials from clients on Facebook,Twitter and Instagram to illustrate the lonely and isolating nature of being homeless or at risk. Each quote will be shared with the hashtag #LongestDay. Please support the campaign by liking our content online and sharing it with your friends and family!
Simon Volunteers Graduate
Our full-time Simon Community Volunteers celebrated on 9th May as they graduated with a CPD Certificate in Volunteering from TU Dublin. The course covers mental health, homelessness, addiction, boundaries, personal development and self-care.
Volunteers in Dublin Simon Community play a key part in the organisation and the partnership with TU Dublin adds quality to service delivery and the positive experiences of volunteers and Simon Community clients.
A total of 72 volunteers completed the Certificate in Volunteering between September 2018 and February 2019. The Certificate in Volunteering has been running since 2010 and there have been 410 Graduates to date including the most recent graduates.
At the core of any community are its people. Our volunteers and staff deliver the vital services that we provide to tackle the multifaceted issues of homelessness. We work with some of the most isolated and vulnerable people in our society and we do it with dignity, respect and pride. Working in teams of committed, innovative, and passionate people who are determined to tackle the challenges of homelessness and change the footprint of society.
Our community is growing and we are looking for people who share our work ethic and our mission. We welcome applications from graduates and professionals who are in search of meaningful, impactful, and life changing work. We believe in empowering our employees and volunteers as much as we do empowering the people who access our services. If this sounds like the type of Community that you would like to be part of we would love to hear from you.