The Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council has called for local artists and businesses to get involved with her special 24-Hour Busk to raise worthy funds for her chosen charity.
Mayor of Derry and Strabane, Cllr Sandra Duffy, has chosen First Housing Aid and Support Services as her dedicated charity for her year in office, and will host a number of fundraising events throughout the year, with the 24-Hour Busk being the largest one to date.
Taking place on Friday 17 March and running until 6pm on Saturday 18 March 2023, this will be the first inaugural 24-Hour Busk of its kind in the local area.
“At the end of March 2022, Derry City and Strabane District Council area had the highest rate of those presenting as homeless in Northern Ireland. This is a local problem and I don’t think people in our city and district realise that to the full extent.
“Homelessness does not just mean someone sleeping rough on the street – it is so much more than that and we need people in Derry to realise that this is a real issue on our own doorstep.”
Working in collaboration with The Nerve Centre, the event will see a huge range of performers take to the microphone on the Guildhall Steps in March.
Martin McGill, Head of Music at Nerve Centre called for local talent to get involved and keep the music playing throughout the 24 hours.
“We are looking for performers, choirs, schools, community groups, colleges and cultural organisations to help fill the performance slots over the 24 hours to both raise awareness and funds for homelessness.
“Our city and district is filled with amazing talent, and we want to give people a stage while also raising funds for this incredible cause. We’re really excited to be working with the Mayor on such an important initiative.”
First Housing Aid and Support Services is a voluntary sector non-profit making organisation that believes that everyone has a fundamental right to a home that is safe, secure and affordable. Their focus is preventing individuals and families from becoming homeless in the first place, as well as the provision of accommodation and support to help ensure individuals achieve the skills they need to live independently in the community.
Sinead McFadden from First Housing Aid and Support Services reiterated the fact that homelessness doesn’t always mean sleeping rough on the street.
“We need to remove the stigma around homelessness and realise it is an ongoing issue in the North West. People can become homeless through no fault of their own, possibly because of relationship breakdowns, loss of private rented accommodation, neighbourhood harassment or domestic violence, or perhaps their current accommodation is unsuitable due to their physical health.
“Everyone has been affected by events of the past two years and we are continuing to struggle with increasing living costs. Unfortunately, the most vulnerable within our communities are the most adversely affected and are at an increased risk of homelessness, putting additional pressure on homelessness services.”
If you are an artist who would like to take part in the 24-hour busk, or a business who would like to get involved with sponsorship, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
To donate, please visit the dedicated Go Fund Me page.