FSJ News Updates,
Every night of the year Bray Area Rough Sleepers Support (BARSS) provides support to homeless and needy people in Bray. This year on December 1, they will be holding a fundraising concert at the Mermaid Theatre, which plays a vital role in helping the group function.
This group is made up entirely of volunteers and hosts a nightly soup run where they provide hot food, hot drinks, sandwiches and snacks to anyone in need. The group has a strict ‘no questions asked’ policy and no one is ever turned away. The group says it receives “absolutely no funding” and is entirely dependent on donations and fundraising.
These difficult times make it more challenging for the group to carry out their work, although the Bray community is very supportive. The group has seen a significant increase in the number of accesses to our service and we know it will only grow as winter rolls around.
BARSS said: “We pride ourselves on ensuring the team is on the streets of Bray every night without fail. Hail, rain, Christmas or Covid – we’re there every night. This certainty is especially important for those of our clients who choose to use our services only for support. Last year we held the first BARSS Christmas Concert, which proved to be a huge success and enabled us to maintain and improve the level of service provided. The concert is an evening of holiday entertainment to create the Christmas atmosphere. There will also be a lot of popular classics.”
The concert will feature three performers: Hugo O’Donnell, Aimee Kearney and Samantha Brady. They are all final year students at the Royal Irish Academy of Music and have many acting successes behind them.
Hugo is just off stage at the Gaiety Theater in Dublin, where he performed in a widely acclaimed production of William Tell with the Irish National Opera. As well as performing at the National Concert Hall and with the No.1 Army Band, Aimee was invited to appear at Stars of the Future in Belfast over the summer. Samantha has extensive experience with choral, operatic and chamber ensembles and recently made her debut in Germany at the Berlin Opera Academy.
BARSS volunteer Hugo said: “I have seen first-hand how vital the support provided by BARSS is to many in our community. As a singer, I’m really happy to contribute to their work by helping to raise funds while providing some entertainment for the season ahead.”
Committee member Angela O’Donnell said of the group’s ongoing work: “We are fortunate to have an amazing team of volunteers whose commitment and enthusiasm make our work possible. There are teams that provide a hot meal and sandwiches every night and another team that goes out to our stops around town every night. We are still looking for more volunteers. We have a Facebook page open where people can find out more information.”
The fundraising concert takes place at the Mermaid Arts Center on December 1st. Tickets from Box Office 01 2724030 or online at www.mermaidartscentre.ie