Last Saturday saw the culmination of months of hard work come to fruition for the UCC Simon Society and many of Cork’s most esteemed poets, spoken word artists, rappers and musicians. Poems For The Homeless, an initiative of UCC Simon Society’s chairperson, Étáin Collins, local artists Stanley Notte and Ciarán MacCartain and myself, Matthew Moynihan, was set up with the aim of highlighting the housing crisis and the challenges faced by Ireland’s homeless population through the creative arts, in order to raise vital funds for Cork Simon’s Employment and Training section.
Local journalists PJ Coogan and Pearse McCarthy of 96fm plugged the event in the run-up to the weekend, with Pearse McCarthy covering the event for his weekend show, The Arts House on C103.
It was a pleasure to help organise and emcee such a diverse event, with heartwarming renditions from the likes of Cara Kursh, Bubba Shakespeare, Cormac Lally, Stan Notte and Spekulativ Fiktion attracting huge crowds outside Brown Thomas on St. Patrick’s St, as the people of Cork emphasised once more their altruistic nature, donating thousands of euro to help improve the lives of Ireland’s most vulnerable citizens.
Cork Simon provides emergency accommodation, healthcare services, addiction services and long-term housing to Cork’s growing homeless population. According to the Irish Examiner, a total of 1,403 people turned to the charity for help last year — an 18% increase in 12 months and the highest figure in the charity’s 46-year history.
The marathon busk ran from 10am-5.30pm on Cork’s main thoroughfare and would not have been possible without the willingness on behalf of Cork’s artists to collaborate and cooperate for the greater good. A total of 26 artists performed, including UCC’s very own Dr. Graham Allen, who read from his witty and political poetry collections. As the day grew darker the yellow buckets provided by a grateful Cork Simon grew heavier.
Despite the bleak weather facing the collective, they performed with exuberance and vibrance to a responsive leeside audience, with a humble acknowledgement that their temporary disposition in a rainy rebel city paled in insignificance compared the conditions facing Cork’s rough sleepers on a nightly basis. The day was a huge success and raised over €1,500, a huge sum of money that will make a huge difference to the homeless across Cork.
This event, showed yet again, how small actions on behalf of the few can transform the lives of the many; all funds raised will now be used to help people in emergency accommodation to find jobs and academic courses in the Cork area, and to provide our most vulnerable citizens with the springboard they need to attain brighter futures.
If you would like to donate to Cork Simon you can do so here: https://www.corksimon.ie/donate/