MEMBERS of a big-hearted local family are climbing the most southerly peak of the Sperrins to raise money to buy portable hand washing and sanitising stations for a supported living unit in Omagh.
The group is made up of sisters, brothers-in-law, nieces and nephews of Hugh Donnelly, one of 23 tenants at Railway Court, which provides supported accommodation for adults with learning disabilities.
Having already raised over four times their initial £500 target, the family also plan on buying other equipment which may be needed at the O’Kane Park facility to set up safe procedures in preparation for reuniting the tenants with their loved ones in the near future.
Hugh’s sister, Kate Brown, said, “The only contact most of us have had over the past 12 weeks is through FaceTime and this is rather difficult for both residents and families.”
With just over a week to go until the climb, in excess of £2,000 has been donated by more than 90 supporters through the fundraising page set up on the JustGiving website.
Expressing sincere thanks and gratitude, Kate said, “It really has been overwhelming, our target has truly been exceeded!”
For their fundraising challenge on Saturday, July 4, they will be scaling Mullaghcarn mountain, the 542-metre high peak on the edge of Gortin Glen Forest Park, followed by a 5km walk or run.
Some of the residents and staff at Railway Court have expressed an interest in taking part in the 5km event which will finish off the fundraiser.
Kate said, “They are very excited and looking forward to this challenge. They are all out on their daily walks practising so I hope all the Donnelly family are hard at their training as well!”
Her brother has been a resident at Railway Court since November 1996 and, according to Kate, it has been a “tremendous benefit” to his life.
“His verbal communication skills are continuously improving, along with his writing, due to the sheer dedication and hard work of Railway Court staff. All the residents are very happy and love to see visitors and have a great welcome for everyone.
“This leaves us as a family content knowing he is very happy in his home environment. During normal times, Hugh and, indeed, most residents have very busy schedules,” Kate said.
Inspired by the tumultuous events of the last three months, the family decided to raise funds to buy some portable hand washing facilities and hand sanitizer units for Railway Court, thereby encouraging all visitors, delivery drivers, staff and residents to practice good hand hygiene procedures on entry and exiting of the properties.
Kate added, “Railway Court is in the process of revamping its activity room, so maybe any extra funds could be used to purchase equipment for the enjoyment of residents who are dependent on this facility now that they are house-bound.”
To donate to the Railway Court fundraiser, click here.