The theme of the SVP Annual Appeal is Give Hope as supporting the Appeal will help the SVP give hope to many individuals and families who are experiencing poverty, loneliness and despair in every local community throughout the country.

The demands on the SVP are greater than ever. Calls to its Regional Offices are up an average of 35% compared to this time last year. This rises to over 50% in some regions. In addition the direct calls to local SVP Groups operating in cities, towns and villages are placing increasing pressure on the Society to meet all the requests for assistance that it receives.

The SVP is the largest direct service non-profit charitable organisation in Ireland. The key service of the Society is the visitation work of 9,500 volunteers who provide a range of supports in their local communities to individuals and families who are struggling to provide for basic essentials such as food, energy and education costs.

To donate to the work of the SVP visit www.svp.ie/appeal, email fundraising@svp.ie or call the SVP National Office at 01 8386990. You can also give locally to your SVP Regional Office/Local Group – more details on www.svp.ie/appeal.

“You are not just giving money, you are giving hope,” said SVP National President Mairead Bushnell. “SVP volunteers use your donations in a variety of ways; through direct financial support, providing food vouchers, direct intervention with energy providers or helping individuals and families cope with unexpected burdens such as the loss of employment, illness or death,” she said.

Already RTE 2fm and Ryan Tubridy’s Toys for Tubs Appeal has become involved. Also musicians Damien Dempsey and Glen Hansard have produced a new single ‘The Auld Triangle’ that is due for release on 3rd December with part of the proceeds being donated to the SVP Annual Appeal.

Individuals and corporates are encouraged to support the SVP Give Hope Annual Appeal in a number of ways:

• Donating monies locally in 13 regional offices or online at www.svp.ie/appeal. Also through the SVP National Church Gate Collections which take place over the next few weeks, especially during SVP Week from 5th to 12th December, culminating with SVP Sunday on 12th December.

• Fundraising events for money, toys/gifts and/or Christmas food items donations.

• Participating in the SVP Appeal campaigns such as Giving Tree, Shoe Box Appeal Christmas Food Appeal.

• And encouraging family, friends and colleagues to support the SVP Annual Appeal.

In describing the visitation work of the Society at the Annual Appeal launch Mairead Bushnell said: “All visitations are conducted in a discreet, confidential and non-judgmental manner. The dignity of those assisted is respected at all times. In many cases leading to the achievement of self-sufficiency in the longer term and the sense of self-worth this provides”.

Other services provided by the SVP include managing resource centres, education projects, various holiday projects, and accommodation for elderly and vulnerable people and over 100 shops throughout the country.

“In addition to working to bring hope to many people in need, the SVP has an over-riding commitment to identify the root causes of poverty and social exclusion in Ireland and to advocate and work for the changes required to create a more just and caring society,” said Mairead Bushnell.