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The Simon Communities History 

The Simon Community was originally founded by Anton Wallich-Clifford, a probation officer working in London in the fifties and sixties, who noticed that many of people he worked with had one common factor; several of the names were followed by three simple letters, NFA – No Fixed Abode. Behind these letters lay a complex and overlooked deeper social issue: homelessness.

In 1969, Anton Wallich-Clifford came to Ireland to recruit volunteers to work with the many Irish homeless people he was meeting in England. Through his inspiration and through meeting like-minded people, the first Simon Community was established in Dublin in that year.

Today, there are eight Simon Communities around Ireland and together we provide a support network to over 16,700 people experiencing homelessness.

Anton Wallich-Clifford — founder of Simon Community

Simon Community History in Galway

Galway Simon Community was set up in 1979 by a group of volunteers who refused to accept homelessness on the streets of Galway. It has only been with the support of the wider community that we have grown, developed, learned and adapted over the years to become a leading provider of homeless services and homelessness prevention in the region.


The Early Days of Galway Simon

“Early in 1979, at a meeting in Galway entitled Poverty in Ireland, Frank O’Leary OFM spoke of the work of the Simon Community in providing shelter, friendship and acceptance to homeless people. After the talk, Kathy O’Grady and Margaret Brehony, two psychology students who had recently completed terms as full time workers in Cork Simon, drew attention to the fact that people were sleeping rough in the city in Galway.

In October, they teamed up with Conall Mac Riocaird, Masters Student in UCG who had worked with homeless people in Liverpool and Rochdale, and together they formed a group of volunteers. They started doing a soup run initially twice weekly but soon going out every night bringing tea, soup and sandwiches to those sleeping rough. The first soup run met only one person, Paddy Curran, a retired soldier who slept in the buses outside the railway station. More rough sleepers were soon found, especially with the help of Dennis Connolly who introduced the soup runners to places where people were sleeping.”

Reference: excerpt from ’The Early Days of Galway Simon Community’ written by Tom Kenny, commissioned by Galway Simon.

Fast forward to 1983, Galway Simon opened our first long term house and today, we have houses and apartments across Galway City and County which provide homes to over 120 people at any one time. Over the years, the breadth of our services has expanded and as well as providing housing, we also provide homelessness prevention and health & well-being services.


Our Milestones Through Years

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