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“I just want to give back” says former homeless man who’s fundraising for Kilkenny’s Good Shepherd Centre

Derek O'Grady's set up a gofundme page

A  man who previously experienced homelessness has launched a fundraising campaign for Kilkenny’s Good Shepherd Centre.

Derek O’Grady has set up an online page to which donations can be made or you can drop off to the facility itself. (click here for more and to donate).

He’s been telling KCLR News he wants to give back, saying “It’s an organisation that’s very, very close to my heart, I was homeless once upon a time, for me it was always important to give back because they helped me, sorted me out with a home which resulted in my three daughters being in my life today and coming to me on a regular basis if you don’t have a home you don’t have anything in life, they’ve been very, very good to me and it’s just important for me to give back to a service because having a home or being able to pay your bills, electricity and heat and even food, like some things we take for granted, once you have a home and you have that safety net it’s very, very important”.

He adds “They put families back together as well, I know an awful lot of lone parents and I know an awful lot of families that were split up, even before the pandemic, the wife and kids might be up in a hotel and the husband would be down in the hostel and that would be a family split up, they help put that family back together, even teenagers that come out of foster care and whatever else like that, people that come out of a rehab facility, they will work with them”.

Mr O’Grady reiterates his need to help saying “For me it’s just important to give back to the service because I believe in it and I know the work they do and I know the lengths that they go to to support people, they have often got up at 3 or 4 in the morning and there’d be a crew of them there between the centre staff and a few members of the county council and go out seeking people that are homeless, it’s not just people that are from Kilkenny, it doesn’t matter race, religion, colour of skin, anything like that, they’ll out & bring them in and help them”.