12801413_10154003592419252_2788988911338076214_nYou probably know its International Women’s Day today (8th March), thus I think it appropriate as ever to talk about local women. Local women in my city, Galway are homeless, some with their children and they are trying to seek refuge, right now.

COPE Galway work to temporarily house and help the homeless, women & children experiencing domestic violence, and older people. They are a local Galway charity, not even as big as Cancer Care West, they look after the people in YOUR community.

COPE Galway Osterley Lodge is a women’s refuge in Galway. This service is a 12 unit hostel which provides emergency and short term accommodation for women on their own and women with one or more children experiencing homelessness.

Support local women this International Women’s Day. Donate today via their website – Every little bit helps, even €5 – www.copegalway.ie

“In 2015 Waterside House could not accommodate 288 individual women with 405 children who were seeking refuge. While all attempts are made to assist women to access safety when they call, refuge spaces need to be available on an ongoing basis for women at risk.”

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Well it made for an interesting morning, first day in years that we had a pretty miserable weather situation! From the moment I woke on the morning of the 25th, I could feel the cold; but when theres work to be done, no one can stay in bed. So, off I headed to Blackrock for the annual Galway Christmas Day Swim with COPE Galway.

If there is one thing that the morning of relentless rain taught me was that, rain or shine  – Galway people cannot/will not break their traditions. Im sure every single person at the diving board that morning thought to themselves “Maybe I just won’t go this morning..”  when faced with the cold rain and wind. But, they did it. Hundreds of mums, dads, kids, grandparents and pets turned up in their droves to dip in the icy ocean and all for a great cause!!

COPE Galway are a local charity who work with the homeless, elderly and women and children who are effected by domestic violence in the Galway area. For 26 years the people of Galway have supported the work of COPE Galway by signing up to take in the Christmas Day Swim and raise funds to help vulnerable and isolated men, women and families in Galway. The aim of this event is to raise money to help fund Galway’s local services in homelessness, domestic violence and for older people.

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In 2014 COPE Galway worked with 134 families, 511 single people and 7 couples affected by homelessness in Galway. In 2104 COPE Galway worked with 371 women and 229 children experiencing domestic violence in Galway. In 2014 COPE Galway produced and delivered 50,000 meals on wheels for 326 people in Galway. To help COPE, you can still help out and donate by texting SWIM to 50300 to donate €4. Check out the last few events here.

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Like last christmas day and the one before that, I spent the morning at Blackrock in Salthill, Galway. The christmas day swim is a huge Galway tradition. For swimmers and beach-dwellers alike, the swim is always a great event. Not unlike last year, in the run up to the 25th, the weather here was awful. It was stormy, wet and windy here in Galway and didn’t look like it was going to break. Then, out of nowhere and just for those two festive days, we were blessed gorgeous, golden sun. The tide was out so far so the sun reflected and danced on the wet sand. Four or five hundred people must have donned coats and joined us that morning – the buzz was truly electric!! A huge well done to everyone who took part and raised money for this very worthy cause.

This year was homeless charity, COPE’s 25th year doing the swim. COPE are a charity who work with the homeless in Galway and also women and children who are effected by domestic violence. The COPE swim was sponsored by Castle Print this year too! To help COPE, you can’t still do sp by texting SWIM to 50300 to donate €4.

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Some photos from the MADRA ‘Dogathon’ earlier this month. Madra are my local dog shelter here in Galway, they do amazing work in the city & county and always deserve the support. Juno is actually a rescue from Madra so we just had to take here to this event!  It’s an annual event to raise money and running costs for the shelter in Connemara. The Dogathon starts at the Claddagh hall and walks the 3k to Blackrock and back. After a very grim week, weather-wise – we were suddenly blessed with a hot, sunny day for the walk! Madra raised over €8k at this event which will go far in helping with with costs & vet bills!

Some shots I took while volunteering at the recent COPE Galway ‘Give it Socks 5k’. This event was all about raising money for COPE and of course wearing the funkiest socks while running! Even though the morning was dull and misty, the turnout was unbelievable and the positivity and sense of fun amongst the runners was great! Starting at the Claddagh hall the run route followed out the prom from Southpark to the Western House (Carpark) and back. Young, old, pro runners and first timers, mums with buggies and people with dogs, everyone was here to run and have fun! 
You might remember I volunteered at the COPE Christmas Day Swim also, cheek it out here. COPE work with the homeless in Galway and also women and children who are effected by domestic violence. COPE are local to Galway City & County.