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Hope House Ireland

2161. Dawn McConnell
2162. Roy McConnell

Dawn and Roy McConnell, from County Antrim, set up ‘Hope House Ireland’ to offer free housing to cancer patients and their caregivers by the seaside location of Browns Bay.

Having personally gone through cancer treatment, and having had the opportunity to spend some time recovering in an apartment by the sea, they recognised a need for respite services for older adults. Realising that no charity existed in Northern Ireland to offer this, and appreciating the mental and physical benefits of being close to the sea, they founded ‘Hope House Ireland’. 

Running since 2013 as a non-profit organisation, Dawn and Roy initially raised enough money to rent a seafront apartment, before expanding to include a second cottage in 2021. The local community hold regular fundraisers to support Hope House in providing free accommodation, while also helping Dawn and Roy keep the properties fully stocked with complimentary supplies.  ‘Hope House Ireland’ are looking to expand their services further throughout County Antrim, enabling them to help more people.

Dawn and Roy said:

“We were truly honoured to have been chosen to receive the Points of Light Award and we thank the Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, for recognising the support we have provided to cancer patients in Northern Ireland. We are so grateful to all the local people and businesses who enabled us to purchase our 2 beach front properties through donations and fundraising. This year, we were able to provide 360 people with recuperation breaks, enabling families to enjoy special family time together to help them deal with the many stresses a cancer diagnosis can bring. The purchase of our second property meant that we are now able to meet the increased demand for terminally ill patients to access our services.

“The name of this award is very apt for our charity as we chose a lighthouse as our logo because it is a welcoming structure, a reassuring sign of steady ground ahead and an optimistic symbol of HOPE for all looking to move forward safely. It is an emblem of strength located at the edge of unpredictable tides as it provides navigational guidance and a bright light in the storm. This shining beacon encourages perseverance even in the darkest of times, helping to provide a little hope to help people cope as they navigate through their journey.

“We gratefully accept this award and dedicate it to our small team of trustees at Hope House for all the hours of work that they have gifted to the charity and also to all our wonderful HOPE champions who continually support us”.

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The daily Points of Light award recognises outstanding individual volunteers - people who are making a change in their community.

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