Heart charity makes appeal for a lifeline
A heart disease charity serving the north of the city is struggling to keep going amid the cold snap.
The British Heart Foundation shop, based in Castle Street, with volunteers across north Belfast, is under pressure to meet the needs of people with heart conditions as donations slump by 50 percent.
The charity relies heavily on donations of items which are sold to raise money for heart disease equipment and care.
As 90 percent of heart diseases are a direct result of conditions such as depression, anxiety and stress, the charity is concerned at the impact of the slowdown at Christmas — a particularly difficult time for many.
Training and support manager at the charity, Ashlei Tumelty, told the Community Telegraph: “Unfortunately with the recent extreme weather, conditions have left many people in the Belfast area unable to give, with donations dropping by as much as 50 percent.
“It is concerning that the weather is having such a detrimental affect; donations are down, sales are down.
“This has seriously affected our ability to raise funds and I would like to appeal for help.
“We rely on donations, if we don’t get money in, we can’t feed that back into the community.
“For people struggling to donate, we can arrange a free collection, to ensure these vital donations make it into the shop.”
The charity, which has 10 shops across Northern Ireland and which is planning on expanding, is appealing for any unwanted clothes, shoes, accessories, CDs, books, toys, furniture and bric-a-brac.
It will be open over the Christmas period to organise collections.
The shop manager had this appeal to anyone with unwanted items at home: “Give us a ring to arrange a pick-up/collection.
“You will be making a massive difference and allow us to keep operating over this Christmas period.
“Local support is so important for us and I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their help in the build up to Christmas and the New Year.”
She added: “We had an appeal in August, but the backlog of stock was cleared by October. Every donation really is vital.”
The British Heart Foundation says its vision is “of a world where people do not die prematurely of heart disease”.
To arrange to donate to the charity, call 08444125000 or visit www.bhf.org.uk for more details on its work.