O'NEILLS have teamed up with Foyle Women’s Aid to help provide new clothing for victims attending The Rowan, Northern Ireland’s regional Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC).
The new joint initiative means that individuals referred to SARC will be able to change into items donated by the sportswear company instead of leaving in the standard issue grey garments available at the facility located in the grounds of Antrim Area Hospital.
The partnership with O’Neills follows a recent financial donation by the Strabane-based sportswear manufacturer to Foyle Women’s Aid as one of the company’s chosen charities last year.
Foyle Women’s Aid operates Dress for Success Foyle, a local affiliate of the international not-for-profit organisation which opened its first Northern Ireland branch in Derry in 2018.
Donations of new clothing are provided for mentoring and professional development programmes to empower women to thrive in work and in life.
Joanne Miller, programme manager of Dress for Success Foyle, explained that SARC contacted them to ask if they could possibly help provide some casual, comfortable clothing for individuals to have the option of changing into when their own clothes have to be taken away for examination as part of the investigation process.
She said: “SARC staff got in touch with the Dress for Success department at Foyle Women’s Aid to see if we had anything more suitable at our hub than what is currently available at the centre but, as we are helping women dress for interviews and jobs our existing stock wasn’t appropriate for this much needed service.
“That’s when we thought of O’Neills who had reached out to us so kindly at Christmas.
"They immediately responded and were incredibly generous in providing exactly the right kind of clothes that the women can feel comfortable in when walking out of The Rowan after their referral has been completed.
"We are immensely grateful to O’Neills for their assistance with this new joint initiative.”
Orla Ward, business development manager at O’Neills Irish International Sports Co. Ltd added: “O’Neills are honoured that Foyle Women’s Aid approached us requesting such practical help and we are only too happy to source what we can from our available stock.
"We are very fortunate to be in a position to help Foyle Women’s Aid and The Rowan SARC who provide vital support and services 24 hours a day, all year.
"We hope that having comfortable, casual clothing available to wear when leaving the Centre will benefit those who unfortunately have to attend for referrals in the future.”
Foyle Women’s Aid can be contacted on 028 71416800.
For further information please visit the website, foylewomensaid.org