LOCAL health charity - Northern Ireland Chest Heart & Stroke - celebrates its 75th anniversary this Monday.
First established in 1946, the charity was set by 16 visionary volunteers as the first NI branch of the National Association for the Prevention of Tuberculosis. After successfully lobbying for improved public health measures to combat the spread of TB, the charity adapted and evolved, changing its focus to concentrate on all diseases of the chest and heart in 1959, and further expanding to include stroke in 1976.
Today, 75 years on, the charity continues to care for and support local people living with chest, heart and stroke illness across Northern Ireland.
The Causeway Coast and Glens Council is proud to support this landmark occasion and will celebrate by lighting up Cloonavin in red (NICHS’s signature colour) on the anniversary, Monday 14 June.
Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, Councillor Richard Holmes, said: “I’m pleased to have this opportunity to support Northern Ireland Chest Heart & Stroke on its 75th anniversary by lighting Cloonavin up in red.
“I would like to commend the charity for its resilient approach to the challenges posed by COVID-19 which has allowed it to continue providing its vital care services for our communities.
“Northern Ireland Chest Heart & Stroke should be very proud of what it has achieved over the last 75 years and the important role it plays supporting the wellbeing of those living with these health conditions.”
Declan Cunnane, CEO of NICHS, said: “We are so grateful for the support of Councillor Richard Holmes on this momentous occasion. Over the last 75 years, we have worked continuously and tirelessly to care for members of the Causeway community and we have no intention of slowing down now!
“We were founded as a reaction to the Tuberculosis public health crisis three quarters of a century ago, and today we battle another respiratory pandemic - COVID-19.”
Over the last 18 months, and in reaction to the pandemic, the charity has adapted its rehabilitation programmes and care groups to a virtual platform, conducted online health checks and designed webinars for schools and community groups, set up a one-of-its-kind COVID recovery service to support sufferers of long COVID, and has made over 32,000 support calls to clients.
Declan Cunnane added: “People don’t realise but almost 90% of our services are funded directly by public donations. So, to be frank, we couldn’t have done any of this without the ongoing generosity of the Causeway community. On behalf of our service users and our staff, I wish to sincerely thank you.”