As an unacceptable number of people continue to experience homelessness in Ireland, Bord Gáis Energy has committed to extend its partnership with Focus Ireland for five years to help tackle family homelessness.
The company has pledged a further €2 million to the cause, bringing the total commitment to €4.4m since Focus Ireland and Bord Gáis Energy joined forces in 2015.
The partnership has already directly supported over 7,000 families experiencing homelessness or at risk of losing their home. Over the next five years, working together Bord Gáis Energy and Focus Ireland will assist a further 10,000 families through advice, information, and support programmes, and directly prevent 1,000 families from ever entering homelessness.
Bord Gáis Energy will also sponsor a unique new initiative called the Lived Experience Ambassador Programme (LEAP) which will enable people who have lived experience of homelessness to share their stories and help raise awareness of the issue. This innovative model, the first of its kind in Ireland, will bring the voices of those who have experienced homelessness to the fore, and empower, support, and uplift them in making their voice and their lived experience heard.
Speaking about the partnership extension, Dave Kirwan, Managing Director, Bord Gáis Energy, said, “we’re proud to have been a partner of Focus Ireland since 2015, a time during which we have come to appreciate the critical work they do supporting people impacted by homelessness. Over the years all our colleagues have played their part and whilst we have seen the positive impact this partnership can have on people’s lives; we also believe there is more for us to do, together.“
“We welcome the Government’s recent commitment to end homelessness by 2030 and we’re committed to supporting this important goal. Every child needs a safe place they can call home, and we will work with Focus Ireland to do everything we can to make that happen.”
Pat Dennigan from Focus Ireland said, “the Focus Ireland partnership with Bord Gáis Energy has been fantastic. Our work together, supporting families and preventing homelessness has changed thousands of lives, and as we move into this new phase we will help thousands more. The support from Bord Gáis Energy is not just financial; they have embedded their organisation into ours, helping us with skills sharing, engagement with staff, and advocacy work. They are fantastic partners, and we look forward to working with them for the years ahead.”
Kelly Byrne, LEAP Ambassador said, “I’ve experienced first-hand the amazing work that Focus Ireland does in helping people who are impacted by homelessness. Focus Ireland supported me in moving my family to our forever home, which we absolutely cherish because we know what it’s like to go without the basic needs in order to live. We are not just surviving anymore we are all thriving.“
“Focus Ireland has given us the foundational tools needed in order to live happy, safe, and healthy lives and to all be a part of our community as one. When we work together, we can make homelessness a thing of the past.”
A key element of the partnership is the Bord Gáis Energy Empowerment Fund, which enables vulnerable children to have normal moments of childhood in the midst of the chaos of homelessness. From basic items like new school uniforms to family outings or more critical interventions such as medical assessments, the fund has already helped thousands of children and will be expanded in the next phase of the partnership.
To find out more information about the Focus Ireland LEAP programme visit LEAP Ambassadors – Donate – Focus Ireland.
Source: Bord Gáis Energy