“Cork Simon Community supports over 1,000 people every year. Our services operate 24 hours a day, every day of the year. We work to address some of the most challenging aspects of homelessness. Many of the people we support are among the most vulnerable, marginalised and disadvantaged people in our community. Our values guide and inform us in all that we do. At all times we strive to be accountable to the people who support us, to the people who work and volunteer with us and to the people that we support.”
Cork Simon Community is registered in Ireland as a company limited by guarantee, not having a share capital. The Community is owned by its members who elect a voluntary Board of Directors from among the membership. The Director of Cork Simon reports directly to the Board, which works to a governance policy manual and has signed-up to several voluntary codes and practices. The Board recently commissioned an independent report on governance at Cork Simon, the findings of which will be published here.
We employ qualified and skilled staff at all our services, many of which operate around the clock every day of the year. Our staff are highly trained to work in challenging and sensitive situations. They have to deal with the many complex issues relating to homelessness, such as poor mental and physical health, challenging behaviour, alcohol and drug addiction, family and relationship issues, difficulty accessing services, and more. Our emergency shelter and five high support houses are staffed 24 hours a day, every day of the year.
The Community responds to the changing needs of those who experience homelessness and those at risk of doing so by providing a range of empowering and supportive care for as long as people need it.
Cork Simon is a community of people who have experience of or are at risk of homelessness, and those concerned with ending homelessness, which promotes respect, equality, empowerment, solidarity and participation.
Cork Simon respects the uniqueness of all persons. Collectively we strive to meet the diverse needs and promote the rights of all individuals and groups affected by homelessness.
The Community strives to be accessible and inclusive, with a special commitment to those facing the most barriers.
Both volunteers and paid staff are central to the work of Cork Simon. The time and resources of volunteers is a unique dimension of the Community.
As a Community, we promote a socially just society and campaign for a society without homelessness.
It costs around €8 million a year to run Cork Simon Community’s range of services 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. 47% of our income comes from State funding, but none of our services are fully funded – they never have been in the 45 years that Cork Simon has been operating. Our services would not exist today without the generous support of our donors.
87 cent of every euro we spend goes directly on services and activities aimed at ending homelessness. Cork Simon’s annual accounts are independently audited every year. We prepare our accounts in accordance with Irish accounting standards and with reference to the Statement of Recommended Practice (SORP) for charities.
Volunteers founded Cork Simon Community in 1971.
Anton Wallich-Clifford, a probation officer working in London in the fifties and sixties, noticed that many of the cases he was presented with in the course of his work at Bow Street Station had one common factor – several of the names were followed by three simple letters, NFA – No Fixed Abode.
Behind these letters lay a complex and overlooked deeper social issue: homelessness. Anton became increasingly frustrated by the consistent failure of society to address the problem in a meaningful way. Through his work with the probation services he could see the “thousands who fall yearly through gaping holes in the welfare net”. His frustration with the persistence of the problems resulted in the founding of the Simon Community.
Anton travelled to Cork in 1971 to help a small group of volunteers establish Cork Simon Community.