SVP South-West reveals unprecedented pressure on core services of food, shelter and education
Up to 1000 people across Cork and Kerry made calls to St Vincent De Paul (SVP) South-West every week during the month of October seeking assistance from the charity in the run-up to Christmas.
The charity says that families have reported struggling with paying essential utility bills such as gas, electricity and fuel due to price increases in recent months.
SVP South-West have said callers also reported being in significant arrears with utility suppliers after an embargo that was imposed to prevent people from being cut off during the pandemic was lifted by the Government.
The Society has also revealed that the staggering number of calls from people seeking assistance has come at a time when they are facing unprecedented pressure across all of their core services as COVID-19 once again led to the cancellation of the majority of fundraising events for this year.
80% of SVP’s core fundraising is now conducted during the October to December period, with traditional church collections only permitted to resume recently.
A key part of SVP South-West Fundraising is the Annual Car Draw which has, for the first time, been extended to Kerry, and funds generated there will be used to support people in need in Kerry.
Speaking ahead of the launch of the SVP South-West Annual Car Draw Appeal, Regional President Paddy O’Flynn said that this year fundraising is critically important.
He said: “The public have always been extremely generous to us. Last year, we were blown away by the support we received during such a difficult time. However, we are deeply concerned that there is a perception that the difficulty and challenges that we faced last year have somewhat diminished with the re-opening of society.
“Unfortunately, if anything, our need for support from the public this year is greater as we face further pressure and demands on the core services we provide– food, shelter and education. Poverty affects people in different ways, and we have received calls from all walks of life seeking our help as the cold winter months draw in.”
He continued: “Embargos on evictions and cutting off electricity and gas supplies during the pandemic have been lifted and we are receiving calls daily from people in dire need of assistance. Providing coal and fuel support during the winter months to families is a huge part of our work and while we are not a homeless charity, we do a lot of work behind the scenes to prevent people from losing their homes.
“This has been another exceptionally challenging year for SVP South-West but particularly for the families and individuals we support. We depend on the generosity of our many donors and we’re asking them to support us once again, if at all possible, in the coming weeks.
“Our fundraising needs remain consistently high, and we are once again turning to online appeals. We are extremely grateful for any support that we receive. Each and every donation will make a difference and we want to take this opportunity to thank the people of Cork and Kerry for all of their support this year to date,” Mr O’Flynn concluded.
In addition to supporting families, in the run up to and throughout the festive period, the charity continues to provide up to 4,530 homes across Cork and Kerry with regular coal deliveries throughout the winter and are delivering approx. 350 food hampers every week to families in need through the SVP Cork and Kerry Hamper Projects.
Last year, over 8,400 families and individuals were contacted and supported by SVP volunteers in Cork and Kerry and Mary Frances Behan, South-West Regional Vice President and Area President for North County Kerry echoed Mr O’Flynn’s comments.
She said: “Since March 2019, when this pandemic hit, we have continued to find new ways to contact and help families and individuals we assist, but we couldn’t have done this without the support of the public, and we really do appreciate it. It has been another tough year, but we are committed to ensuring that all families and individuals who need our help will be supported irrespective of the challenges that we face.”
The Annual SVP South-West Car Draw 2021 will be a key fundraising event for the region this year, with tickets and free post return envelopes delivered to every household in Cork and Kerry and the added option of buying tickets online. Donations are also welcome through both channels.
Tickets for the raffle cost €5 each and can be returned in the Freepost SVP envelope or dropped into the SVP Regional Office at Ozanam House, 2 Tuckey Street, Cork or Unit 2 Monavalley Business Park, Tralee, Co Kerry.
You can also purchase tickets online at the following link:
First prize will be a brand-new Ford Focus, kindly donated by CAB Motor Company. In addition to this there will be six other cash prizes.
The final date for entries will be 12 noon on Friday January 7th 2022.
The draw will take on Wednesday, January 12th 2022 at CAB Motor Company showrooms, with the Lord Mayor in attendance, where the winners will be announced.
Details of the winners will be published on www.SVP.ie and in the Irish Examiner with the event streamed later on social media.