Rotary Club Dublin raises €35,000 for Salvation Army homeless centre

Salvation Army Fundraiser

Rotary Club Dublin has raised a staggering €35,000 to help the most vulnerable homeless people in the capital.  

The organisation donated the proceeds from its annual President’s Dinner at Dublin Castle on Saturday (Feb 24) to The Salvation Army.

The Christian church and charity will use the funds to renovate and provide specially adapted accommodation for people with disabilities living at its Granby Lifehouse on Granby Row.

More than 150 guests attended the gala event to support the charity – one of the biggest providers of homeless services in Dublin.

Colonel Neil Webb, Divisional Commander of The Salvation Army in Ireland, praised Rotary’s ‘incredible generosity’ at the event.

“Over the past 30 years, we have witnessed a new phenomenon in Ireland with growing numbers of families presenting as homeless,” he said.

“Increased rents and a dire shortage of housing supply has forced many families into homelessness. 

“There are currently over 13,500 people, including 4,000 children, in emergency accommodation. That’s an increase of 15% year on year.”

Colonel Webb told the function that the past two decades of housing policy has led to a severe lack of appropriate housing and major systemic change is needed to confront this. 

The Granby Centre opened in 1994 and every night, provides a specialised service for almost 100 men and women who have a mix of long-term supported housing and supported accommodation needs. 

“Many of them actually stay with us for a considerable time – partly due to the lack of available independent living accommodation that they can move to, so a large proportion of them become like family members,” said Colonel Webb.

“In the last two years we have improved our medical provision within the centre, to try to mitigate some of those circumstances and make the time staying at the Granby a time of healing and restoration.”  

Rotary Club Dublin President, Dr Delma Sweeney, said that as homelessness is one of the most significant community problems facing Ireland, helping the Salvation Army in the renovation of accommodation for those who have a disability and are homeless “fits entirely with our club’s values and focus”.

“When we live in comfort, with plenty, imagining what it is like to live as a homeless person can be difficult,” she said.

“Yet your response to this fundraiser shows that this charitable cause has touched many hearts. Thank you.”

During the gala dinner, an auction of items was also held to boost the fundraising drive – and members were able to make one-off donations.  

The event also included a three-course meal, raffle and entertainment by lyric soprano Jade Phoenix.

Pictured: David Stafford, left, Granby Lifehouse Programme Manager, with Erene Williamson, Regional Manager, Homeless Services, and Babatunde Olapade, Nurse Manager, Granby Centre, at the Rotary Club’s fundraiser for the Granby Lifehouse. Pic: Gareth Chaney.

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