WATCH: Hardy souls brave sleep-out in Limerick

Nick Rabbitts

Reporter:

Nick Rabbitts

Email:

nick@limerickleader.ie

HARDY souls from across Limerick braved freezing cold temperatures to raise vital funds for a homelessness charity last night.

For the fourth year in a row, Novas held its annual Christmas sleep-out, with the aim of raising awareness of Ireland’s homeless crisis, as well as vital funds for the charity.

Camp was set up outside Brown Thomas in O’Connell Street, with some locally well known faces taking part including Limerick hurler William O’Donoghue and local councillor John Costelloe.

Singer Emma Langford and Patrick Sheehy from the band Walking on Cars also popped down to show their support.

Julie McKenna, who manages the Novas respite house in Newport, said it’s the charity’s most important fundraiser of the year.

She said: “It’s really important this goes well. It keeps our essential services ticking over throughout the year. It covers things that our mainstream fundraising doesn’t cover like kids’ activities, stuff we would do with families in hubs, hotels and bed-and-breakfasts. I work in the treatment services, so some of the funds goes to getting people ready for treatment.”

“We had a fantastic night. We had 28 people sleep for the night, and it was a really positive response here in Limerick city. One thing I will say about the Mid-West is that people really work well together. Limerick is fabulous. All the great community spirit we have here, and we are really overwhelmed by it,” she added.

William came to the O’Connell Street sleep-out direct from the LIT Gaelic Grounds, where he helped Limerick’s hurlers open their season with victory over Tipperary.

So far, his friends, teammates and colleagues helped him raise almost €6,000 for the charity.

He said: “It’s a lovely thing to be involved with, and when you hear the list of things that the money goes to, anyone would like to align themselves or help in any way they can. I only do one night a year, I don’t do all the great work these people do. But I’m delighted to do this, and give a small bit of publicity to Novas.”