Flint Studios, a Belfast-based web solutions provider, has partnered with Hope House Ireland to develop a website that enables the charity to accept donations online.

Financial support for the charity enables founders Roy and Dawn McConnell to provide free self-catering accommodation to cancer patients and their carers at any time during or upon completion of their treatment, for a short time of quiet rest and recuperation.

Since completing renovation of the property in Brown’s Bay in October 2018, the charity has raised £12,000 through the website and local fundraising efforts.

Gifted by Flint Studios, the website also provides an online application form for patients to book to stay at the Whitehead respite centre.

Dawn said:

“Unfortunately, like many families we have had a personal experience of cancer. We therefore understand how devastating a diagnosis can be and the worry and stress that come as a result of that.

“We know how valuable removing yourself from the normal, everyday routine can be following diagnosis, during treatment and even throughout the recovery process. However, during this time disposable income can be drastically reduced which makes getting away for a few days incredibly difficult.

“Hope House was therefore born in 2013 when we rented a small seafront apartment in Whitehead to provide much-needed free of charge respite in a peaceful location for families going through a very difficult time.

“As a result of people’s generous donations, various fundraising initiatives and the ongoing support from several organisations such as MIS Claims, we were able to purchase a cottage in Brown’s Bay that can sleep up to five people. Continued support has allowed us to continue to provide this accommodation free of charge.

“Ongoing funding is really crucial to enable us to continue offering this much-needed service. We were therefore delighted with the website provided by Flint Studios as it not only provided us with a platform to tell our story and promote the service to families in need, but also to allow people to easily donate online.”

Hope House currently offers a spacious three-bedroom cottage with a large garden that sits adjacent to the beach.

The accommodation can be used free of charge by patients at any stage or upon completion of treatment.

Jeremy Biggerstaff, Managing Director at Flint Studios which specialises in online user experience, systems integration and measurement delivering results-driven solutions for a varied client base, said:

“The work carried out by Hope House Ireland makes a huge difference to cancer patients and those who assist and care for them.

“We are delighted that at Flint Studios, we have been given the opportunity to help support this wonderful local charity as it continues to provide its service to those who need it the most.

“The Hope House Ireland website we designed and developed now enables quick and easy donations of any amount made through PayPal or the charity’s Just Giving page.

“We’re thrilled that this functionality will assist Dawn and Roy as they continue to provide this extremely worthwhile service.”

Flint Studios was introduced to Hope House by its longstanding client, MIS Claims, which announced Hope House Ireland as its charity partner last year.

Michael Bennett, Managing Director at MIS Claims, Ireland’s leading road traffic management services company, said:

“We made the decision to select Hope House Ireland as our charity partner due to reasons very close to our heart.

“As of September 2018, we are proud to have raised a total of £145,000 towards the purchase of the new Hope House facility.

“Our fundraising efforts will continue in the coming years as we help the team at Hope House Ireland provide the invaluable service to those who are dealing with a cancer diagnosis.”

MIS Claims’ longstanding support of Hope House was instigated by its owner, the late Alan Baillie. Alan worked tirelessly to raise awareness and funds for various charities, with the work of Hope House particularly close to his heart.

Since Alan’s cancer diagnosis in 2017 and passing in 2018, the company, which has been in operation for over 25 years, with support from the Baillie family, has continued to raise much needed funds for Hope House.

Dawn continued:

“We have plans to convert a second, smaller property, also in Brown’s Bay, towards the end of the year. This will sleep two people and will be really helpful in catering to the demand for the service we provide. We’re hoping to start the renovations as soon as funds become available.

“We book up several weeks in advance and for a lot of people hoping to use our facility, time is unfortunately not on their side, so this additional property will allow us to provide our support to a greater number of people.

“We are so appreciative of the support Alan gave us and the subsequent and continued support from MIS Claims and the Baillie family, so we will therefore be naming the new property in Alan’s honour.”

For more information on Hope House Ireland, or to make a donation, please visit https://hopehouseireland.org/