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Community groups come together to support most vulnerable in our society this Christmas

“Together for Christmas,” a campaign launched today, will support people in direct provision centres and those affected by domestic violence and homelessness.

Five organisations have come together to partner on the community initiative – Dublin City Volunteer Centre (DCVC), Serve the City, CRiTiCALL, Jesuit Refugee Service Ireland and Third Space Smithfield.

As Covid-19 continues to impact daily lives, the Christmas season poses additional challenges for many in difficult circumstances. Volunteers are invited to help spread some festive spirit by; Donating, Writing or Making something.

Edwina Dewart, DCVC Manager commented on the launch:

“This year has been extra tough for those we are seeking to support through the Campaign and we want to make things a little lighter this Christmas.

“Volunteers across Dublin have already shown incredible kindness through their time and resources all year and we know they will come through again for this campaign.

“We’re delighted to be launching the Together for Christmas campaign today with several community partners, in addition to support from Dublin City Council, Lord Mayor Hazel Chu and all on the Community Response Forum.”

The public is invited to donate items to meet some specific needs; a warm winter jacket, toiletries and books, as well as activities for children.

Christmas jumpers are also on the list, to enable a child in direct provision or a refuge to join in the fun of Christmas jumper day with their school classmates.

A resident of Balseskin Direct Provision Centre said:

“We did not have this tradition in my home country.

“My kids were sad that they may have to go to school with no XMAS jumper, but luckily, I saved on transport and bought them each one from Penneys.

“They were so happy.”

There is the option of sending a greeting card or letter with good wishes, people are encouraged to share a personal story or memory they associate with Christmas or their favourite national or public holiday.

For those who are creative and good with their hands, there is a need for knitting or crocheting winter warmers (hats, scarves, and mittens), making festive cotton face masks or items such as jewellery or handmade toys, that would make a nice present.

Items can be sent to Third Space Café in Smithfield.

Currently limited to takeaway service under Covid-19 restrictions, they offered their unused cafe space as a drop-off point for donations from the public.

Seán Mullan from Third Space says of their involvement:

“We are delighted to help resource this great community initiative.

“It’s a time for all of us, individuals, community organisations and businesses, to work together to meet needs, help each other out and get a kick out of doing it!”

Donations received will be allocated to where they are most needed, distributed to men, women and children living in direct provision centres, domestic violence refuges and homeless hostels.

According to Kelley Bermingham of CRiTiCALL:

“A report published by Safe Ireland this week says 3,450 women and 589 children sought support and safety from abuse between March and August this year.

“An average of 184 helpline calls were received every day, an increase of 25% on 2018.

“2020 has been a tough year for everyone but it’s harder for some. We want to show a little kindness by coming together to share warmth and festive cheer in the run up to Christmas.”

The ways people can help can be viewed here: bit.ly/3nj84uP or email for information: info@volunteerdublincity.ie

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