Presentation Secondary School Waterford

SVP Sleep in Event

TY's Sleep in Event held on the 21st of April to raise awareness on homelessness.
SVP Sleep in Event

n recent months, our Young SVP committee in Presentation Secondary School has noticed the rising numbers of homelessness in our local community, with Waterford having the highest rate of homelessness in the Southeast Region. In Ireland 11,742 people accessed emergency accommodation in just February 2023 alone. In the Southeast region, there are 17 families (35 people) who have accessed emergency accommodation. 221 adults are without a home, with 151 being men and 70 being women.

During the start of the school, Transition year students attended SVP workshops facilitated by Debbie, who is the Youth Development Officer in the Southeast region for SVP. After the workshops, the students are invited to volunteer for the young SVP committee, which is coordinated by Ms. Phelan. Once all members have been assigned, they vote for the committee presidents for the year (This year’s presidents are Katie Joubert and Angie Goma). The committee then works throughout the year organising fundraising, educational and social innovation events.

Each year the committee chooses a topic of focus during their time as members of Young SVP. This year the committee decided to shine more light on the homelessness crisis as they noticed the significant increase in numbers of people sleeping rough in Waterford city, as well as people in our local community who are coach surfing and sleeping in hotels/ B&B’s.

To raise awareness of homelessness, the girls decided to do a ‘Sleep in Event’ which took place from 7pm on Friday the 21st of April to 8am on Saturday the 22nd, in the school gym. This was chosen to give students a glimpse into what it's like to sleep rough, and to make it as realistic as possible, phones weren't allowed, the students were only allowed to have a sleeping bag, a light blanket and some cardboard underneath them, and the heating wouldn't be turned on. 17 Transition Year students took part in the event.

To prepare for the ‘Sleep in Event’, Amy and Samantha from Focus Ireland came in the Tuesday before the event to give all TY’s more information on the crisis and tell us just how bad homelessness has become (with the numbers of homeless only about to rise even more in the following months).

During the ‘Sleep in Event’ the students first attended a presentation on homelessness, describing how bad the crisis is and what we can do to make a difference. Some students even spoke about their own personal experiences. They then watched a documentary which is on RTE called ‘I Am Here’, which provided insight into the homelessness crisis in Dublin. To follow, they watched ‘The Pursuit of Happyness’, which is a film about a father who is just trying to make ends meet, so he and his son can finally have a stable home. To unwind for the night (and to get a few people tired) they did some yoga which was led by Mrs. Watson. The following morning, they were treated to tea/ coffee and some fresh fruit which was kindly donated by ‘Gerry Walsh Fruit and Veg’.

Other events undertaken by the Young SVP committee throughout their time in TY have included a teen talk box set up in the canteen, where girls are able to ask questions on pressing issues that they may be uncomfortable to ask, the collection of a huge amount of food for Waterford Food Bank for the ‘Fill the Bus’ campaign, and a donation of 500 euro to SVP on behalf of Sun Life Ireland.

We would like to thank all the students that came along to the event, the young SVP committee for putting it together, Ms. Phelan and all staff helping on the night and ‘Gerry Walsh Fruit and Veg’ for the delicious fruit!

Written by Aleyna Bozkurt TY Student

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