14 Dec 2016
By Bryan T. Smyth
SHARE (Students Harness Aid for the Relief of the Elderly), the organisation for the care of Cork’s older people, will launch its traditional fast and fundraising campaign at the SHARE Crib, Daunt’s Square, Cork, (near Grand Parade) this evening Wednesday 14th December 2016. It is the 47th year in which almost 1,800 fifth-year students from 21 Cork schools rally round yet again to raise funds for SHARE. This is the only fundraising campaign the organisation undertakes throughout the year, running in the city centre right up to and including Christmas Eve. 17-year-old Chairman, Mark Ryan Purcell, has this year urged Corkonians to once again support the boys and girls of SHARE and in doing so renew their commitment to Cork’s older people and continue the extensive refurbishment programme which is now in train for the year ahead. He said; “The SHARE Crib for me is a reminder of the true meaning of Christmas, it is about having a spirit of kindness and generosity for others, particularly those who are vulnerable, lonely or struggling to cope.”
The launch event will be attended by Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr. Des Cahill, together with Bishop John Buckley and Rev Ted Ardis (Dean’s Vicar at St Finbarre’s Cathedral), who will join the young students of SHARE for the ceremony at the specially-erected Christmas Crib at Daunt’s Square, Cork. The Army Band of the First Southern Brigade, under the baton of Captain Brian Prendergast, will play a selection of traditional Christmas carols to mark the occasion and citizens of Cork are invited to share in the blessing.
Speaking on behalf of the SHARE Student Executive (a volunteer group of 54 young students tasked with steering the initiative) Chairman Mark Ryan Purcell said: “I’m looking forward to seeing the Crib on Daunt Square lit up and hope that it will inspire the people of Cork to continue their tradition of support for SHARE. The blessing of the crib marks the start of our fundraising effort, the only one we undertake throughout the entire year, so from the 15th of December you will once again see students in their bright yellow jackets collecting on the streets of Cork city centre and I really hope people will support us and the older people in Cork who greatly rely on the homes and services provided by SHARE all year round.”
Mark, who is a 5th year student from Presentation College, continued: “SHARE to me feels like a torch handed down from generation to generation, and now it is our turn to keep that bright light shining. This is our year to continue the tradition of support for SHARE, which has remained a student lead initiative since its founding 47 years ago. Your donation goes towards maintaining 156 secure homes for at-risk older people. It also supports necessary projects such as the provision of 10 newly converted housing units in Blackpool which they hope to achieve in the coming year.”
In addition to this Mark went on to explain that The Brother Jerome Kelly Day Care Centre in Sheare’s Street, Cork, is open daily for residents and members of the wider older community in the city and welcomes about 100 older people weekly, providing a range of practical services, including meals, a laundry service and a network of support to help them integrate into the community and meet like-minded individuals in a bright, warm place. The young Chairman added: “SHARE’s person-centred approach puts our older friends centre stage at all times. While we provide comfortable homes, services and several activities, the most important commitment we can make is to listen to, learn from and appreciate the wealth of knowledge our older people have. We visit them in community rooms and chat about old times, new times, and what we are all interested in. It’s a great lesson in life, especially in a digital world where deep conversation is so rare.”
Members of the public are invited to visit the SHARE Crib at Daunt’s Square, Cork (near Grand Parade) or visit their cribs at Mahon Point, Merchant’s Quay, Wilton, Blackpool, Bishopstown Court, Douglas Court, Douglas Village Shopping Centre, Riverview Shopping Centre in Bandon and Ballincollig Shopping Centre.
Alternatively, donations can be posted or delivered in person to SHARE, The Brother Jerome Kelly Day Care Centre, 43 Sheare’s Street, Cork where acknowledgements will be issued immediately. www.sharecork.org