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Christmas shoppers on Cork City’s Patrick’s Street were treated to a series of surprise events by UCC students on Saturday afternoon, helping to raise awareness of people who are homeless and to mark Cork Simon Community’s 40th anniversary.
Termed the ‘The Cork Simon Street Mash Up’, the impromptu events consisting of dance, rock and choir performances brought together up to 60 students from five different University College Cork clubs and societies.
The host of activities were created by volunteers from UCC’s Live Music Society, Choral Society, Art Society, Management and Marketing Society and the UCC Simon Community Society. Speaking about the intention behind the performance, Elaine Doyle, PhD student in the Department of Management and Marketing and member of UCC’s Management and Marketing Society, said “these events have been created by a diverse group of people around one core belief: we all believe in people. We believe that homelessness can happen to anyone and wanted to celebrate Cork Simon who have been caring for people in our community for over 40 years. These events were also designed to spark a conversation with those not directly involved with the events and provide a channel through which they could express their support for Cork Simon Community”.
Following 40 minutes of music, singing and dance, performers lit candles and joined together at the Winthrop Street junction of Partick Street creating a sea of light representing the many who have experienced homelessness. Following three more carols, the entire group dispersed silently and randomly in trails of candle light to demonstrate how those who experience homelessness are amongst us, with us and just like us.
Thanking the UCC students for volunteering their time and energy, Cork Simon CEO Dermot Kavangh, said, “It’s wonderful to see young people giving freely of their time . By coming together and showing their solidarity and support for people who are less fortunate, less able to cope with the complexities of life, these students are showing they believe in people and are helping to keep hope alive for the most marginalised and isolated people in society”.
‘The Cork Simon Street Mash Up’ also had a big online presence. Brightly coloured signs were held up by performers calling for passers by to “join in the conversation online” and displayed the Cork Simon facebook and twitter online identities to spur engagement. The prompts spurred members of the public to tweet Cork Simon, retweet and post pictures of the event helping to spread the message. Both the online and offline dimensions showcased people’s willingness to come together in Cork and beyond in support of people experiencing homelessness.
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