Thirteen senior Rugby Players Ireland members have used a day off from training to help out at a Belfast homelessness charity.
The players, including Craig Gilroy, Darren Cave, Rob Herring and Sean Reidy, visited The Welcome Organisation on Wednesday afternoon to lend a hand.
The charity provides a range of services for people affected by homelessness including a Drop-in Centre on Townsend Street, a Street Outreach service, Crisis Accommodation for Women and a Floating Support service.
The players were helping in the charity’s Welcome Home furniture project. A new initiative for the charity, Welcome Home aims to help people moving on from homelessness by offering a range of services including a furniture bank to assist people make houses into homes and a shop selling restyled and redesigned furniture and everyday items for sale. Money generated from the shop is reinvested back into the service.
The project offers people who are homeless, and volunteers, the opportunity to rediscover skills and be trained in new ones which will help with employability.
Simon Keogh, CEO of Rugby Players Ireland said: “At Rugby Players Ireland we are keen to ensure that our members contribute to their communities in meaningful ways. As key role models, they have the opportunity to represent a message and use their platform to effect change. There is no quick-fix to homelessness, but by working with The Welcome Organisation we believe that that players can have a sustained impact on the issue in Northern Ireland.”
Darren Cave, Rugby Players Ireland Executive Board Member said: “As players, we want to make a difference in the community. We want to help others who might be down on their luck or need to catch a break. With the help of Rugby Players Ireland we identified the Welcome Home initiative as something we could throw ourselves into, even if it one chair or fridge at a time.”
Sandra Moore, CEO of The Welcome Organisation, said: “We were delighted to have the players from Ulster Rugby join us for the afternoon. They did a fantastic job. We couldn’t deliver the level of service we do without the help and support of our 40 regular volunteers and the teams of volunteers, like those from Ulster Rugby, who come in for one-off opportunities.
“We would love to hear from any other groups who would like to get involved – either through volunteering, organising a donation appeal or holding a fundraising event. If you would like to get involved please contact Kieran at firstname.lastname@example.org.”
The Welcome Home retail boutique is located at Unit 28, 28 Townsend Street, Belfast, BT13 2ES and is open from 1pm-5pm Monday to Friday. For more information visit www.homelessbelfast.org