Architects take annual fundraiser online to support Simon Communities through COVID-19 crisis

Dermot Bannon issues video appeal to launch the annual RIAI Simon Open Door campaign, aimed at raising funds to support people experiencing homelessness during the COVID-19 crisis and beyond. Pic: Verona McQuaid

The Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland (RIAI) and the Simon Communities are once again joining forces to launch the annual RIAI Simon Open Door campaign. This year, however, they’re taking the initiative online due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. 

Now in its 16th year, the campaign sees registered architects all around Ireland offer their expertise to members of the public in exchange for a donation of €95 to Simon Communities. Previously, this was conducted via an hour-long face-to-face consultation about building, rebuilding or renovating homes. In order to continue supporting Simon Communities while maintaining social distancing requirements, the consultations will this year be held virtually via video calls.

One of Ireland’s best-known architects, Dermot Bannon MRIAI, helped launch this year’s virtual campaign with a short video, in which he explains how people can get involved for a vital cause. It can be downloaded at this link

Commenting on this year’s virtual campaign, Ciaran O’Connor, RIAI President said: “Our members are proud to partner with Simon Communities across Ireland every year to support its fantastic work. Now more than ever, registered architects in every county are keen to support both the charity and people in their own local communities and this is a very positive way to do that. I would like to sincerely thank those who have already signed up to give their time and expertise. I would also appeal to members of the public who are looking for a way to contribute something positive at this difficult time to consider booking a slot, either for personal use or even as a gift for a loved one, and help Simon Communities to provide vital services during this time.”

Karen Golden, Chair of the Simon Communities of Ireland said: “COVID-19 poses very serious challenges to people who are homeless and we sincerely appreciate this kind of support, which means we can continue to provide the strongest possible service during this crisis. We are doing all we can to keep our vital services open and it is crucial that a spotlight is kept on protecting people who are currently experiencing or who are at risk of homelessness. They are among the most vulnerable people in our society at what is a very challenging time for us all.”

RIAI Simon Open Door runs from Tuesday, May 5 until Friday, May 15 and all funds raised go directly to Simon Communities across Ireland to support their work in tackling homelessness through the current crisis and beyond. Registration for the event is now open and people are encouraged to book a slot with an RIAI-registered architect in their local area by visiting  

WCP Staff

WCP Staff Writer

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