Iarnród Éireann has teamed up with Focus Ireland for the third successive year to launch a new campaign to raise vital funds to help more people to make it #HomeForChristmas.
The #HomeForChristmas campaign comes as there is now a record number of nearly 10,400 people homeless and nearly 4,000 of these are children.
The campaign will see Iarnród Éireann support the charity in a number of ways including providing an innovative online option for the tens of thousands of people a week to donate €4 to Focus Ireland with the purchase of a rail ticket. Iarnród Éireann will also provide free advertising at a number of stations nationwide for Focus Ireland along with welcoming Christmas choirs to fundraise for the charity.
The partnership was launched in Heuston station today November 21 by the Dublin Ukulele Collective who brought a bit of early festive cheer to commuters. The members of Dublin Ukulele Collective performed under a new Focus Ireland billboard in the station which states the shocking fact that “Children are now being born into homelessness.”
Iarnród Éireann Corporate Communications Manager Barry Kenny said: “We are committed to getting our customers home this Christmas, but with 10,397 people homeless across Ireland we know there are men, women and children who do not have a place to call home. Focus Ireland prevents people from entering into homelessness, and helps those impacted. We are delighted to help Focus Ireland and its customers. Iarnród Éireann is proud to be supporting Focus Ireland’s work and we hope this campaign will help the charity’s work to support more families to make the journey home.”
This #homeforchristmas initiative will raise vital funds to help in the successful delivery of frontline services and housing for people experiencing homelessness, as well as helping to build further public awareness on this issue and support for the work of Focus Ireland. During December, choirs, musicians and volunteers will be in Dublin Heuston, Dublin Connolly and Dublin Pearse Stations, Cork Kent Station to raise funds and awareness and we are asking if commuters have any spare change while passing through that they donate this.
Meanwhile, Focus Ireland CEO Pat Dennigan said:
“As over one million people a week head home on the train from a regular day at work or from shopping, they are making a journey home. This is something which is not possible for everyone across Ireland. Focus Ireland, with the generous support of Iarnród Éireann, are committed to changing this.”
“There are now nearly 10,400 people homeless and it is truly heart breaking to see that almost 4,000 of these are children. It is shocking that we are now seeing babies being born into homelessness, with many spending their first Christmas with their families in a cramped hotel or B&B room. We must always remember that behind these shocking statistics are real people that need our help to secure a place to call home. Over the next few weeks, I am asking rail users to please give what they can afford to support our urgent Christmas appeal. We really do depend on donations now more than ever to raise funds so our services can cope with the constantly rising demand.”
Meanwhile, the two Dublin teenagers Darragh Smith and Stephanie Sarpong – who recently made a big media splash when Iarnród Éireann shared a video of them singing together earlier this month – also supported the partnership with Focus Ireland as they returned to Connolly Station to perform a duet as part of the campaign.
Iarnród Éireann is generously providing Focus Ireland with:
• Advertising on DART’s, in train stations across the country via Iarnród Éireann directly and their outdoor advertising contractor Exterion Media Ireland.
• Advertisements on television screens in Dublin’s Connolly, Heuston, Pearse St Stations and Cork’s Kent Station
• Support through the Go Rail Publication, Iarnród Éireann website and social media.
• A donation option on irishrail.ie for ticket purchases
• Free tickets for families who are homeless on the Santa Steam train via Railway Preservation Society of Ireland – click here
• As part of this support, Focus Ireland choirs and bucket shakers will be on hand in stations, and branded wristbands will also be sold in stations across Ireland
Please go to https://www.focusireland.ie/donate/ and make a difference or call 1850 204 205. Let’s get people #homeforchristmas