County Down headquartered GRAHAM has donated a defibrillator to The Welcome Organisation – a Belfast-based charity that provides a range of potentially life-saving services for people affected by homelessness.
Coinciding with the recent “Restart a Heart Day”, GRAHAM Project Manager, Gareth Dale, and Site Manager, Stephen Sharpe, presented the device to Jo Daykin-Goodall, Director of Services at The Welcome Organisation.
The defibrillator, which gives a high energy shock to the heart of someone who is in cardiac arrest, will be transported in a specialist Street Outreach Vehicle where it can be deployed to provide critical interventions to homeless people and rough sleepers.
The homeless charity estimates that there has been a 35% increase in the number of people sleeping rough in Belfast during 2018/2019 compared to 2017/2018.
GRAHAM is currently completing a number of major building and interior fit-out projects across the city centre, including Little Patrick Street student accommodation, Erskine House on the boundary area of Arthur Street and Chichester Street, and the LIV Belfast complex at York Street.
This broad footprint within central Belfast has heightened awareness of rough sleeping amongst GRAHAM operatives which subsequently prompted a collective effort to do “something to help”.
GRAHAM Regional Community Benefits Adviser, Attracta Mathews, explains:
“GRAHAM is undertaking a number of high-profile projects within Belfast, and as our operatives go about their work and travel to and from site they are interfacing with rough sleepers and seeing first-hand the very real issues associated with homelessness. There was a determination to make a difference, and that is why we reached out to The Welcome Organisation. It is doing amazing work in supporting some of the most vulnerable people in our society. We are proud to have made the donation of the defibrillator which we hope will make a real difference.”
Thanking GRAHAM for its contribution, Jo Daykin-Goodall, Director of Services at The Welcome Organisation, said:
“We would like to express our sincere thanks to everyone at GRAHAM for the amazing donation of a defibrillator. The defibrillator will have a real and positive impact on our work and, in turn, on the lives of the people we help. It will be kept in our Street Outreach Vehicle and will provide potentially life-saving interventions to people who are homeless.
“We couldn’t deliver the level of support we do for people affected by homelessness in Belfast if it wasn’t for the support of people like Gareth Dale, Stephen Sharpe and everyone at GRAHAM.”
The donation of the defibrillator is particularly timely for The Welcome Organisation as it begins its 24 hour winter outreach service. The Street Outreach Vehicle will travel around the streets of Belfast 24 hours a day while a second Outreach Vehicle will also operate from 8pm – 8am.