News - Northern Ireland

The Directors at Lisney's Belfast Office continue are continuining their support for the Simon Community by sleeping overnight on the street at start of Homelessness Awareness Week

With new figures recently revealing that 4,100 families with children across Northern Ireland do not have a permanent home, the directors at leading commercial property agency Lisney are set to spend a night ‘sleeping rough’ to help tackle the growing problem.

The five-strong directors team from Lisney’s Belfast office will spend the night of 30th November sleeping on the street at the firm’s Montgomery Street base to help increase awareness of homelessness in Northern Ireland and to raise money for its charity partner, the Simon Community NI.

The sleep-out will take place at the start of Homelessness Awareness Week, an annual week of social, educational and awareness-raising events throughout Northern Ireland to highlight the issue of homelessness. In addition, Lisney’s staff will be spending the day pounding the pavements assisting the Simon Community in one of its Christmas Street Collections.

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Lisney directors Nicky Finnieston, Gareth Johnston, David McNellis and Declan Flynn with Simon Community NI's Fundraising Manager Brian Shanks

According to the Northern Ireland Housing Executive, 18,628 people presented as homeless in Northern Ireland in 2015/16. Recent figures have also revealed that more than 50 families or individuals declare themselves homeless in Northern Ireland each day.

The Lisney team taking part in the sleep-out is being led by Managing Director Declan Flynn and will include David McNellis, Gareth Johnston, Nicky Finnieston and Ciaran O’Kane. The sleep-out is the latest in a year-long series of fundraising activities which the commercial property agency has carried out in support of the Simon Community.

Looking ahead to the sleep-out, Declan Flynn, Managing Director of Lisney, said:

“Homelessness remains a major problem in Northern Ireland, with recent figures revealing that the levels in Northern Ireland have doubled since the turn of the millennium and that more than 50 families or individuals here declare themselves homeless every day.

“Northern Ireland has the highest comparative level of homelessness in the UK and we decided as a business that we would partner with the Simon Community to help as much as we can.

“I couldn’t be more proud of the staff and how they have reacted to the partnership. They’ve thrown themselves into the fundraising efforts, taking part in a wide range of events throughout 2016 and, so far, we’ve raised around of £7,500.

“The sleep-out is an opportunity for the Directors team to play their part and help shine a light on homelessness in Belfast by spending a night on the street in the city centre, which is where ‘rooflessness’ – the most visible form of homelessness – is most rife.

“We’re determined to exceed our fundraising target for the year of £10,000 and would urge people to support us in any way they can. Donating is easy, just visit justgiving.com/lisneysleepout.”

Lisney launched its partnership with the Simon Community NI, which provides housing for the homeless and advice for those at risk of becoming homeless, in early 2016. So far staff have raised money by taking part in several physical challenges such as Belfast City Marathon, Hard as Oak and walking the Camino Trail as well as some less strenuous challenges within the office, one notable success being a weekly ‘Raise Some Dough’ bake sale.

Brian Shanks, Fundraising Co-ordinator for the Simon Community NI, said:

“We are so grateful for the support of Lisney. Over the past year they have shown such dedication and enthusiasm for our cause and have raised a fantastic sum of money for our frontline homelessness services.

“We wish the directors all the best for the sleep out, which is a fitting launch to Homelessness Awareness Week – and we hope it is not too cold and wet for them!”

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