Dromore sleep-out is only the start for helping locals in need

The Via Wings sleep-out team.
The Via Wings sleep-out team.

A Dromore charity’s recent sleep-out is only the beginning of combatting local poverty issues.

Via Wings recently collected a van-load of clothes and sleeping bags to donate to the homeless in Belfast and also raised £2,500 but the work, they say, is only just starting.

Some of the items donated to Via Wings during their sleep out.

Some of the items donated to Via Wings during their sleep out.

The money will go towards helping the charity’s refurbishment projects. Joanne Ogle told the ‘LEADER’ that some local people are effectively homeless within four walls due to their lack of heating or furniture and her charity are helping out with donations and painting.

She appealed for more volunteers to help out in any practical way possible and now hopes the sleep-out has got the ball rolling.

“We’ve had people saying they would love to come and help to paint and things so hopefully that will turn into action,” she said.

“The sleep-out has definitely lifted the profile of what we do. People have been coming in this week and giving us food and furniture.

The Via Wings team settle in for the night.

The Via Wings team settle in for the night.

“A lot of them have been saying that they didn’t realise we did the refurbishments until they read about them so it’s good to have that extra support.”

As for the actual sleep-out, Joanne took to Dromore Square along with colleagues Tracey Graham, Tori McKinstry, Donna Harrison, Gail Redmond, Jill Cochrane, Julie Morgan, Caroline Conway, Val Callaghan and Nicole Hollywood.

The 10 ladies slept out on Friday 5th February but Joanne says their conditions weren’t even close to those actually struggling with their living conditions.

“It wasn’t as bad for us because we had each other, our friends and all the warm clothes that people were bringing us,” she said.

“Homeless people sometimes don’t have those things every night, which is why we need to do something. It would be so lonely and I really don’t know how they get any sleep.

“There were a lot of people coming to see us right through the night until about 6am. Obviously our friends were down but as well as that, there were people who we didn’t even know.

“We had 24 hours of prayer in the shop as well so that helped as the people down to pray every hour came over for a chat.

“A lot of people who came to see us donated something so we’ve got a whole van-load of stuff to bring to Belfast, which was more than we ever expected we would get. We could barely get the van door shut!”

If you would like to get involved or donate anything to Via Wings, contact them at their shop Hope & Soul in Market Square or give them a call on 92 698378.