Charity pays tribute to supporters after securing new premises

Trustee Maria Martin, actor James Nesbitt, and Managing Director of MIS Claims Alan Baillie with Dawn McConnell, Hope House co-founder.

An east Antrim-based charity that supports people with cancer is celebrating after securing permanent premises.

Hope House Ireland is currently based in rented accommodation in Whitehead.

However, the organisation this week picked up the keys to its new base at Brown's Bay.

The charity was founded in 2014 by local couple, Dawn and Roy McConnell.

It gives those going through a cancer diagnosis the opportunity for a short break, free of charge, in a self-catering apartment.

Mrs McConnell said she was "overwhelmed" by the support Hope House received from local residents over the past four years. "It's because of their generosity that we've been able to buy the new house," she added.

"It will mean we'll be able to accommodate more people, it's in a beautiful seaside setting and best of all, it will be permanent as it's owned by Hope House."

Renovation work has now commenced on the Brown's Bay base, including upgrades to disability access.

It is hoped that the building will be ready for visitors by May of this year.

Respite breaks will continue until then at the Whitehead apartment.

Meanwhile, Mrs McConnell also expressed gratitude to Alan Bailie, Managing Director of MIS Claims. The firm, which adopted Hope House as its charity of the year, raised £115,000 towards the purchase of the new premises with the 'In Their Shoes' lunch.

"It was an absolutely amazing total and we can't thank them enough," she said.

Also offering its support was Flint Studios, who donated their services free of charge to create a new website for the charity. Hope House also has a Facebook page.

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