£30,000 boost for welfare charity’s support services

Caitlin McCartney, SOS NI volunteer co-ordinator; James Hagan, chair and founder of Hagan Homes; and Joanne McQuillan, operations manager, SOS NI. Pic by Kelvin Boyes/Press Eye.
Caitlin McCartney, SOS NI volunteer co-ordinator; James Hagan, chair and founder of Hagan Homes; and Joanne McQuillan, operations manager, SOS NI. Pic by Kelvin Boyes/Press Eye.

An East Antrim based property developer has announced a partnership with SOS NI that will benefit the charity by up to £30,000.

The financial boost from Hagan Homes will ensure that SOS NI continues to deliver its charitable support services in Belfast city centre.

SOS NI is a mobile service that provides assistance to children, young people and adults on the streets of Belfast at night.

SOS volunteers operate from specially equipped buses a that create “safe spaces” in the city centre enabling teams to respond to calls from the PSNI, bar security staff and other organisations responding to the vulnerable.

Since it began operating in 2007, SOS NI volunteers have provided medical and caring services to 12,800 vulnerable people on the city streets.

The donation will be used to help to develop SOS NI’s volunteer training programme; purchase new uniforms for 200 volunteers; host two volunteer recognition events; and assist with the running costs of the charity’s welfare service.

The team at Hagan Homes will also volunteer for the charity.

James Hagan, chair and founder of Hagan Homes, said: “Hagan Homes is celebrating its 30th anniversary and as part of the company’s celebrations we have planned a series of significant donations to a number of local charities. We are committed to supporting local communities and wanted to support organisations that have young people and families at the heart of what they do.

“We have worked closely with SOS NI for many years and value what they do in terms of being there on the streets to provide tangible support to people who may have consumed too much alcohol or who may be impacted by loneliness, depression, isolation or experiencing relationship issues.

“It is important that as a society we recognise vulnerability and support each other on these occasions. That’s what a community does. Our team at Hagan Homes is also keen to get involved as volunteers.

Joanne McQuillan, from SOS NI, commented: “Hagan Homes’ donation has given us the scope to develop and grow our volunteer training programme.

“We have designed and delivered a bespoke accredited basic life support course to 90 volunteers and trained 51 volunteers to understand mental health and complete a listening and communication skills course.

“It has also assisted with the running costs of our welfare service. It has been invaluable and without it we wouldn’t have been able to do any of these things. Thank you, Hagan Homes.”