Hagan Homes funds project manager role for local charity which helps people experiencing homelessness

Ballyclare-based homebuilder has donated £27k to charity Harmoni to enable the recruitment of a new project manager for one year at hostel close to its south Belfast development.

Committed to “putting the heart into local communities”, homebuilder Hagan Homes has ramped up its corporate social responsibility activity by pledging £27,000 to fund the first year’s salary for a new Harmoni project manager. Harmoni is a local charity which has been helping people experiencing homelessness for the last 140 years.

Holly Fellowes will manage the new Keys to Life project to assist men experiencing homelessness at Utility Street Hostel gain new skills and personal confidence as they seek opportunities for their rehousing and reintegration through independent living into society.

Ms Fellowes was appointed to the role recently and will work on the proposed Keys to Life project at Harmoni’s Utility Street Men’s Hostel in Belfast.

The facility supports 59 single men with different support needs. They will benefit from the Keys to Life programme which was designed with insight from those who are experiencing homelessness.

The project, delivered by Ms Fellowes, will help build the social skills, confidence, life skills and community engagement ability of those residing in the hostel.  This ultimately builds resilience and helps to prevent participants from recirculating through the emergency accommodation system.

Speaking about the partnership, James Hagan, Chair and Founder of Hagan Homes said: “We are delighted that Harmoni has been able to recruit a talented, supportive individual who will contribute massively to the homelessness crisis here.

“It is a humbling honour for us to be part of that contribution by helping support the salary for the role for one whole year. We align ourselves with the Keys to Life programme’s ethos of providing men experiencing homelessness with the core skills and confidence they need to re-enter the world of independent living.

“As one of Northern Ireland’s largest homebuilders, Hagan Homes recognises the importance of a home in an individual’s life. We have always been about making local communities more vibrant and more socially fruitful in what we do, by building homes, but also in our corporate social responsibility work.

“This particular project is close to our hearts because Utility Street Hostel is a stone’s throw from our Thirty Three South development in south Belfast and it’s important to us to really embed ourselves in the community where we have a presence.”

Speaking about her new role, Holly Fellowes, Project Manager for Harmoni’s Keys to Life programme, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for both myself and the men here at the men’s hostel. The generous donation from Hagan Homes alongside funding from the National Lottery allows me to develop an engaging programme that will equip the men with new skills and experiences supporting them towards gaining employment and independent living.

“This project will have a positive impact on both the lives of the men in the hostel and the local community. Throughout the next three years we hope to support 32 men per year on our programme which will successfully see them integrated back into society via employment and housing. It is a very exciting time for the men’s hostel and the start of what is going to be a fantastic 3-year programme.”

Sam Humphries, CEO, Harmoni added: “Harmoni is very grateful to Hagan Homes for their generous support allowing the project, which is co funded by the National Lottery Communities Fund, to launch in the midst of the current crisis. Now more than ever, people who are experiencing homelessness need every possible support available to help them regain their self-belief and develop the skills to allow them to renter sustained tenancies of their choice.

“This project aims to do just that and with the initial support of Hagan Homes leading to the sustained funding from the National Lottery this unique project will bring new hope to the residents of Utility Street who engage in it. In our 140-year history we have not seen an idea such as this, nor have we seen such collaborative and generous help from our financial supporters in Hagan Homes and The National Lottery.”

Hagan Homes is constructing 33 new homes at the adjacent £4.2m Thirty Three South development in south Belfast. The development, which has supported 55 construction roles, is set to be completed by summer 2021, with the first homeowner taking up residence this month. Prices for the properties start from £109,950.

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