Barristers present £70,000 cheque to homelessness charity

Members of The Bar of Northern Ireland have handed a £70,000 cheque to Belfast homelessness charity the Welcome Organisation.

The Bar’s charity committee worked hard to galvanise the support of Bar members for its chosen charity of the year.

The Welcome Organisation delivers a range of support services to people who are homeless or vulnerable and at risk of homelessness, including a drop-in centre, day and night street outreach services, and crisis accommodation for vulnerable women.

Fundraising events throughout the year included a dragon boat race, a bake sale, a visit from Santa, a Frock Swap, the annual Charity Ball at the Culloden Hotel and a relay team in the Belfast Marathon.

Barristers taking part in an overnight sleep-out in Belfast city centre brought home the importance of the charity most clearly.

Sandra Moore, CEO of The Welcome Organisation, said: “On behalf of everyone associated with The Welcome Organisation I would like to express our sincere thanks to The Bar of Northern Ireland for their amazing support throughout 2017-2018.

“We have been blown away not only by the phenomenal amount raised but also by the passion and enthusiasm shown by Bar members for The Welcome Organisation and the work we do.

“The Bar’s charity committee have gone above and beyond in their efforts to raise money and increase awareness of The Welcome Organisation and homelessness issues - from the Chair serving lunch in the Drop-in Centre in June to five brave barristers spending a night on the streets in December, to the amazing Gala Ball in March and everything in between.”

She added: “The money raised will have a massive impact on the work we do and in turn on the lives of the people we help. It will allow us to continue delivering vital services in our Drop-in Centre, Street Outreach, Crisis Accommodation for Women, Floating Support service and Street Gems/Welcome Home projects.

“The efforts of the Bar of NI will help us provide potentially life-saving interventions for some of the most vulnerable people in our society and for that we cannot thank Adele O’Grady and her amazing committee enough.”

Adele O’Grady QC, chair of the Bar’s Charity Committee, said: “Sadly homelessness is a growing problem in Northern Ireland. The Welcome Organisation is at the front line of trying to help those that become homeless and we are in awe of the fantastic work the staff and volunteers do every day of every year in seeking to address this problem. For that reason, the Bar Council is delighted to have supported the wonderful Welcome Organisation over the past year.

“Our members really got behind the Charity and gave generously of their money and their time. No-one said no to anything! We are delighted to have raised the sum of £70,000 this year, a sum that we hope will make a difference to a local and inspirational charity.”