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.
Within a few short months the volunteers had set up a base on Winetavern Street, in a house owned by the Franciscans. They later moved onto Sarsfield Quay by the Liffey. This marked the beginning of Dublin Simon Community and this year we are commemorating 50 years of helping people to rebuild their lives.
Simon offered a different kind of service for those experiencing homelessness which demonstrated a more caring side to society. Simon was a community, offering a radical alternative to institutional care. The Simon Community was named after Simon of Cyrene, a figure from the New Testament who helped Jesus carry his cross. The “Simon” ethos was to be non-judgemental, to accept people as we found them and offer unconditional help – a community in it for each other.
Over the past 50 years, Simon has served people fighting for survival, robbed of humanity and dignity. They were homeless, roofless and isolated and needed nourishment, shelter, acceptance and respect. Because of the commitment of staff, volunteers and supporters like you, in the months, years and decades that passed, thousands of shattered lives have been rebuilt and saved. People are depending on us and it is because of your work that we can encourage people to get back on their feet, with Simon by their side.
Many thanks, your work is appreciated.