A NEW-LOOK logo for the Good Shepherd Centre was officially launched by Mayor Seán Ó hArgáín in City Hall on November 19.
“The Good Shepherd Centre has been in existence for over 20 years and during this time service delivery has developed greatly, making the organisation of today radically different to when it began,” centre manager Fergus Keane explained about the reasoning behind the new logo. “Our new logo will reflect this development. We are evolving from the previous concept of purely providing shelter to the homeless, to, in later years, providing a more dynamic, responsive service.”
Mr Keane took the opportunity to highlight the centre’s annual Christmas Street Collection on December 14, one of the few opportunities the centre has to raise money. Two new ventures launched by the charitable organisation on the night were the sale of Christmas cards and their counter-top collection points, which the public are asked to donate to once they begin appearing in shops and businesses around Kilkenny in the new year.
Dr Bill Cuddihy, who has been on the centre’s board of directors for 23 years and chairman for the past four years, spoke of how the centre’s services have become “much more dynamic in terms of dealing identifying the needs of the person and to see why they’re homeless in the first place. A Personal Action Plan is worked out for each individual to empower them and give them back the skills that they need to live a full and active life in our society.”
Mayor Ó hArgáin recalled that the first things that he did as mayor of Kilkenny was to visit the Good Shepherd Centre, and he congratulated the team there for their fantastic work.
“In Irish society we like to pretend that certain issues don’t exist and homelessness is one of those issues – if the person isn’t on our own street, or directly visible in our community then the problem doesn’t exist. But we all know in our hearts that it does,” he said.
Speaking of The Good Shepherd Centre’s staff committing their lives to working with the homelessness, the mayor said: “It is one of the most exceptional and fulfilling things that a human being can do with their lives. Committing your life to such work is very admirable and my hat goes off to Fergus and to all his staff and volunteers.”
“One of the most fundamental rights that everybody has is the right to shelter and the right to a home and we must fight for these rights. It must not be acceptable to us that the Good Shepherd Centre exists – we must operate in a culture of diminishing needs. The objective of the Good Shepherd Centre, and of those of us who support its work, is to close the place down, make it redundant because there is no need for its services,” he said.
“If there’s anything we should be striving for in a country which will celebrate the centenary of the proclamation in 2016, surely the elimination of homelessness should be a key part of that vision we have for the new republic.”
To buy Good Shepherd Centre Christmas cards, to help with the December 14 collection or to donate to this cause, contact Niamh or Cathy on 056 7722768.