Lyit, Civic & Community Engagement, and North West Simon

by Grainne Blaney

LYIT, Civic Engagement & North West Simon

Co-ordinator: Grainne Blaney

North West Simon Co-ordinators: Claire Mc Tiernan, Collette Ferguson

A great end to 2013 for Lyit Civic Engagement Students and North West Simon.

Homelessness in Ireland is at the forefront of media coverage this December and the focus has been on homelessness in small towns and rural areas due to an increase in this area.

Wednesday 4th and Thursday the 5th of December saw the Civic and Community Engagement class end the semester with their North West Simon Awareness campaign, The Many Faces of Homelessness.

The students, which included International Erasmus students from Germany along with Marketing, Management and Administrative Management Lyit Students, worked closely throughout the semester with Claire Mc Tiernan and Collette Ferguson from North West Simon.

They have been given the opportunity for both personal development and skills development, through this module and this was their second awareness day of the semester.

They volunteered with the organisation, and talks and workshops were organised with both service users and service providers from Simon.

The class group, while organising the Awareness Day, developed a marketing campaign for North West Simon with the use of their

“The Many Faces of Homelessness” campaign.

This came about through discussing ways of raising awareness of rural homelessness, within the Lyit student population and after a lot of debate and reflection the students decided to dress in a variety of guises – business people, nurses, army personnel, farmers, sportspeople, students – all wearing a white mask to indicate that when it comes to being homeless, we are all vulnerable no matter what our state in life.

From this discussion came a new poster which Simon North West has sent into the Communications and Campaigns Officer in National Office with the recommendation that it be used for their future campaigns.

The masks had quite an eerie look and were a fantastic way of getting noticed in the college.

We are delighted with the outcome and it really opened our eyes to what you can do while in college to influence what is going on in the outside world. It was the simplicity of the idea that really worked and which amazed us all.

Students found the experience of working and using the skills that they are developing in their courses, of great help and were able to see their hard work and skills rewarded, by the number of people which they influenced on the Awareness Day and by the amount of much needed funds which were raised, €475.00. All are extremely proud of the fact that North West Simon are interested in “The Many Faces of Homelessness” campaign for the future.

As Laura, one of the students said “It was hard work, but definitely worth it. If anyone has a chance to do it take it. It opens your eyes to the problems in your society.”

Thanks to all in the college who helped make it a Simon Awareness Day to remember.

Discipline: Business
Institution: Letterkenny Institute of Technology
Activity: Volunteering