NI homebuilder calls on businesses to rally round to help charities supporting the vulnerable during coronavirus outbreak

James Hagan, Chair and Founder of Hagan Homes, has already donated £40,000 to Age NI and a further £40,000 to Cash for Kids NI but is urging other firms to help him boost much-needed resources during a challenging period. 

James Hagan, the man behind one of Northern Ireland’s largest home building firms, is calling on his business peers to support charities who are facing their own crisis during the Covid-19 outbreak. 

The Ballyclare-based business, which has built over 4,000 homes provincewide over its 30-year history, began its initiative to support charities serving those in need after discovering many were operating on deficits of tens of thousands of pounds following the cancellation of dozens of their planned fundraising activities.

The businessman has been working with two NI charities – Age NI and Cash for Kids – to help them throughout the current period of uncertainty.

Age NI will be working with older people’s networks across Northern Ireland to provide emotional and practical support, food supplies, activity ideas and more during the pandemic.

James Hagan said: “There are countless charities out there who have been serving vulnerable people in the community for many years, even decades but today they too face a crisis in sourcing funds to continue that support. 

“This has come about through the cancellation of many scheduled fundraising events on which they heavily rely, so I am urging my business peers to help them continue their exemplary work which is needed now more than ever.”

Welcoming the announcement Linda Robinson, Chief Executive, Age NI said:

“Age NI is very grateful to Mr Hagan for his profound generosity at this worrying time for our community. Older people are particularly at risk during these challenging times, given that many, around 80,000, are living alone. Charities like ourselves need to work differently, working from our homes, supporting older people in new ways, maintaining vital care services and linking in with community groups and volunteers, many who are older themselves. 

“Age NI is committed to being here for those vulnerable older people who need support, practical or emotional and funding support like this helps us to continue to do this. Just yesterday, we had a caller who was living with a terminal illness who was totally isolated and really anxious about his prognosis. The gentleman was reassured by the fact that Age NI continues to be in regular contact telling us ‘while I am home alone, I am not alone, it’s great to know you are here for me’.”

Mr Hagan has already donated £40,000 to Age NI and has donated a further £40,000 to CoolFM/Downtown/Downtown Country’s Cash for Kids Charity which supports children from birth up until 18 years of age who are considered vulnerable. This includes children from disadvantaged backgrounds and those living with illness or disabilities.

It also provides grants to other charities, organisations and community groups as well as funding life-saving equipment. Through its new appeal during the coronavirus it will give 100% of all monies raised to families in Northern Ireland.

Mr Hagan added: “£40,000 given to this charity will support 1142 children, children who are considered most vulnerable during this epidemic, but we need more. We need a continuous flow of funds to enable Cash for Kids NI to support all of the young people here who need support and speed is of the essence.

“The organisation has set up an Emergency Appeal to fund Basic Family Essentials, which amounts to £35 per child and will help families affected by poverty due to the Covid-19 outbreak. Further funds are needed to continue this initiative and to help as many children as possible.

“I know there are businesses out there who want to help and I am calling on my peers to give what they can now to ensure our most vulnerable are protected and our most valuable charities are supported during what is one of the most anxious times during our lifetime.”

Sally Aitchison MBE, MD of Cash for Kids adds: 

“We have all been affected by the COVID-19 situation in some way, however right now those on low incomes or who are living in or on the brink of poverty will be really feeling the pressure. With 1 in 4 children living in poverty in Northern Ireland, the impact of the current situation is sure to see that number increase.  I would like to extend a huge thank you to Hagan Homes for the generosity shown in such challenging times. This kind donation will enable us to help more than 1,100 of the most vulnerable children in our community.”