Returning Ornaments to Bars

I saw this story on Belfast Live where a drunken reveller stole an ornament from Sweet Afton in Belfast and it reminded me of a tale from my Whites Tavern days. Above the fireplace we had a stuffed animal… honestly, I don’t know if I could accurately say what animal it was… maybe a Stoat? We told people it was a Lagan Rat – the thing was huge. Somebody took it home with themselves after a drunken saturday night. The thing was gone for weeks! To be honest, things get stolen all the time… glassware, cutlery – random things. It just becomes another thing to deal with, but this Stoat was iconic to us. Tourists asked of it all the time, locals too – our wee Stoat. Then one morning I turned up to unlock the building and under the shutters was a thick envelope… no Stoat, but wait… Inside were pictures of the Stoat from locations all around Belfast and the wider area. Someone had taken it to the Castlereagh Hills, to Stormont (the bottom of the hill), Scrabo Tower, Samson & Goliath… even Belfast Zoo (which seemed a bit morbid to me…). How someone took the time and energy to do all this was incredible! It had a note attached that simple said, “We wanted to show him more of the world.” The Stoat never returned home… but we know that he saw more of Belfast than he ever would have from atop a soot covered...
Kindness Drawers – A New Innovation in Giving

Kindness Drawers – A New Innovation in Giving

On New Year’s Eve, when many of us will have been socialising with friends, maybe having a few drinks and waiting for the Official Announcer of The Years, Jools Holland, to tell us that 2016 has arrived, some wonderfully compassionate fellow Northern Irelanders were installing the Kindness Drawers in the centre of Belfast. The idea is so simple it’s almost embarrassing… Created by the people who brought Belfast the Homeless Pod, Common Law NI,  a year before, a stack of 2 shelving columns where people who have things to donate, can leave items – and homeless people who are in need of items, can get them. There are a plethora of groups doing great work in Belfast on supporting and helping the homeless and a dearth of people willing to help however they can – I saw a great number of initiatives over the Christmas period where people were organizing giving to help people in need… this is in the same vein, but with no fuss – you can fill a shoebox and give it to an outreach organization, of course you can, and more power to you… Or, if you’re so inclined, you can drop it yourself when you’re able to, directly into the Kindness Drawers yourself, no need to wait for a local group to start an initiative… help how you can, when you can. There’s definitely something to be said for people who are homeless being able to help themselves. Obviously, this stuff is donated… but instead of having to go to a charitable group or wait until and outreach organization comes along and asks if...