£2,400 raised by young people to help prevent homelessness

Eileen Best, Director of Operations First Housing, and Gerry Burns, Manager of Damien House, pictured along with Jackson Gallagher, Jack Gallagher and Owen McGeehan from St. Joseph's Boys' School.
Eileen Best, Director of Operations First Housing, and Gerry Burns, Manager of Damien House, pictured along with Jackson Gallagher, Jack Gallagher and Owen McGeehan from St. Joseph's Boys' School.

Cheques for £600 were recently presented to representatives of each of the four charities who benefited from funds raised by 70 young people from across the Derry Diocese who participated in the recent ‘Sleep Out’ event.

The event was organised to raise awareness of, and money to prevent, homelessness in Derry.

Darren McPartland, De Paul Foyle Haven, pictured with Erin Houston, Eimear Devine and Owen McGeehan, all of whom participated in the Sleep Out/Stay Awake.

Darren McPartland, De Paul Foyle Haven, pictured with Erin Houston, Eimear Devine and Owen McGeehan, all of whom participated in the Sleep Out/Stay Awake.

The Stay Awake/Sleep Out was held in St. Eugene’s Cathedral on Friday March 8 from 8pm until 8am the following morning.

Young people from across the diocese slept out to replicate the conditions homeless people face.

They also listened to a series of talks by representatives from Saint Vincent de Paul, De Paul Ireland, the Simon Community and Damien House.

Faith was at the centre of the event, with young people having the opportunity to pray the Rosary at midnight at the grotto.

Amanda Scott, Simon Community, pictured with Hannah Park and Erin Houston, St. Cecilia's College.

Amanda Scott, Simon Community, pictured with Hannah Park and Erin Houston, St. Cecilia's College.

Youth co-ordinator for the Derry Diocese, Padraig Delargy said: “The event was a fantastic opportunity for the young people to put their faith into action.

“As a diocese, we would like to take this opportunity to thank all the young people who took part and who continue make such a substantial difference to their schools, parishes and communities.

“We would also like to thank our team of volunteers who assisted on the night, as well as the representatives of charities who spoke to the young people.

“We would like to thank in a special way Fr. Patrick Lagan and Fr. Malachy Gallagher who heard confessions during the night and Fr. Lagan for celebrating his morning Mass.”

Dominic Burke, from St. Vincent de Paul, pictured along with Carla McDermott and Eimear Devine from St. Mary's College

Dominic Burke, from St. Vincent de Paul, pictured along with Carla McDermott and Eimear Devine from St. Mary's College

Despite heavy showers and cold conditions on the night, dozens of young students from Derry, Donegal and Tyrone turned up to take part in the ‘Sleep Out Stay Awake’ event at the cathedral.

The event came about during discussions with local young people undertaking the Pope John Paul II Award within the Derry Diocese.

So far this year, over 540 young people from across the Derry Diocese have finished the Pope John Paul II Award with a further 840 enrolled for next year.