independent

Friday 17 August 2018

Doves released as sign of hope for homeless

Doves are released at the awareness day event outside the WHAG charity shop on North Main Street
Doves are released at the awareness day event outside the WHAG charity shop on North Main Street

Anna Hayes

An uplifting awareness day was held at the Wexford Homeless Housing Action Group's (WHAG) charity shop on North Main Street and a flock of trained doves were released as a symbol of hope.

The event was aimed raising awareness of, and garnering support for Wexford's homeless community. There was live music and face painting before the white doves were released to mark the occasion. All were invited to come along and show their solidarity.

Along with releasing the doves, Mick and Ann Ryan from Bunclody highlighted the link between mental health and homelessness by giving green ribbon teddies to those who wished to take one for their car.

Organiser Doreen Fitzmaurice-Ryan explained that the group raised around €200 from donation buckets placed alongside the participating buskers and the face-painters at the front of the shop. Quite a few people, she said, also donated food and one young homeless man benefitted from that donation by receiving some food food while passing by.

'The main thing was to raise awareness of what we do and to highlight just how complex the homeless situation is,' said Ms Fitzmaurice-Ryan, pointing out that in a lot of cases they were assisting the 'new homeless', people who were in houses but were in arrears and were in danger of becoming homeless.

She said that the group offered guidance to people but also was seeking new volunteers, particularly in the area of running the shop.

The Wexford Homeless Housing Action group has been in existence since 2015 when its work was funded by a stall at the Wexford Indoor market.

The small charity shop was opened in 2017 and has provided tents, sleeping bags and food from that premises to those who contact them seeking assistance. The group also provides food parcels to people. They are also currently running a raffle with a great selection of prizes, to raise funds for their work.

The shop, which is run by volunteers, is open Monday to Saturady from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Wexford People

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