George Best Belfast City Airport has selected the Welcome Organisation as its charity of the year, aiming to raise vital funds to deliver potentially life-saving services to those affected by homelessness in Northern Ireland.
The Welcome Organisation currently offers support through its drop-in centre, crisis accommodation for women, street outreach programme and floating support service, but relies on the generosity of the community to operate.
Sandra Moore, Chief Executive of the Welcome Organisation, celebrated the partnership and the opportunity to raise awareness of homelessness and the work of the charity.
She said: “We are delighted that Belfast City Airport has chosen the Welcome Organisation as its charity of the year and are looking forward to working together across a number of initiatives and special fundraising events throughout the year.
“The number of people sleeping rough in Belfast trebled in the last year, with the average life expectancy of a homeless person being only 45.
“Last year alone we assisted 1,400 individuals by providing a range of services that provided immediate assistance to the most vulnerable in our society.
“Partnering with such a major business in Belfast will assist in the funding of frontline services as well as our skills workshops, furniture bank, and Welcome Home store, located on Townsend Street, Belfast.”
Stephen Patton, Human Resources and Corporate Responsibility Manager at Belfast City Airport, said: “Sadly, homelessness is a prevalent issue that effects people across the community and from all walks of life.
“The Welcome Organisation assists by providing a warm place to stay, meals and providing access to vital services, health and mental wellbeing care.
“We have a variety of projects planned to assist in raising awareness about the services the Welcome Organisation provides, airport employees will also partake in volunteering and there will be opportunities for the public to donate funds within the airport.
“Our corporate responsibility strategy forms an integral element of our business and we are constantly exploring new ways to support our community.”