Lisburn solicitors giving helping hand to those in crisis

Janice Spence (left) with Janet Munn and David McGuinness.
Janice Spence (left) with Janet Munn and David McGuinness.

Staff at a Lisburn solicitors firm are helping to spread some festive cheer to those in need this Christmas.

Employees at Donaldson McConnell and Co. have been busy showing seasonal goodwill by organising a ‘Handbags for the Homeless’ appeal.

Over the past couple of weeks staff have been collecting donations of bags filled with useful items - such as toothpaste, wipes, deodorant and socks - that can then be distributed to people in crisis at Christmas.

Explaining how the project came about, solicitor Janice Spence said: “I had read about this a while back on social media and thought it was something myself and my two kids, Alex and Emily, would do for Christmas as we normally do something for homeless people each year. I then thought why not try to do it through work and get everyone in here involved. We like to try to do something each year for charity so I put the details up on my work Facebook page and the response has been phenomenal. People have been very generous.”

Janice, a family solicitor, is well aware of the many challenges life can throw up for people from all backgrounds and said she and her colleagues were keen to do their bit to give people in crisis a helping hand.

“We just thought it was something practical and something nice to do and lots of people have been engaged by it, which is brilliant,” she continued.

Around 20 bags have already been donated, with even more promised. Many of the handbags contain products for women, while other bags are filled with items specifically for men.

Thanks to the tremendous response, Janice is hoping to have more than 50 bags to donate to The Welcome Organisation - a Belfast-based charity that works to help people who are homeless - and the Women’s Aid refuge in Lisburn.

All the appeal donations will be gathered up on Friday (December 15) during Donaldson McConnell and Co’s annual Christmas Jumper Day and sorted for distribution.

“Local business representatives and people in the area can call into the office in Castle Street between 11am and 1pm for a cup of tea and a bun. Everybody is welcome to call and leave off their handbags. Hopefully then I’ll be distributing them next week,” Janice added.