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Celebrating ten years of Cares Challenge

02 March 2022 13:49

Celebrating ten years of Cares Challenge | NI Water News

NI Water is celebrating a decade of one of the largest corporate volunteering schemes in NI.

Over 1,500 staff have volunteered in 100 challenges to date, equating to more than 10,000 hours of volunteering to help support communities across Northern Ireland.

As part of NI Water’s ‘Cares Challenge’ programme, activities are planned and set up in partnership with Business in the Community’s NI Cares Programme.  The programme identifies organisations and charities within the local community who need a helping hand with physical tasks.

This has allowed NI Water staff to help a wide range of charities over the past 10 years including, Southern Area Hospice, The National Trust, Welcome Organisation, Crosskennan Lane Animal Sanctuary and Foyle Hospice.

In the latest Cares Challenge the NI Water team got to work in the grounds of the Northern Ireland Children’s Hospice.

The team of 15 volunteer gardeners including Chief Executive, Sara Venning, worked together to plant new flowers, clear weeds, trim plants, and paint planters and fences.  All working together to make the garden at Children’s Hospice a perfect place of solace for patients and their families to enjoy and relax in.

Sara Venning, Chief Executive of NI Water, explained: “For more than a decade our dedicated staff have worked alongside charities, schools and community groups to help provide that extra support. 

“These teams of handy helpers have undertaken everything from gardening, painting and maintenance to environmental and fundraising days.  It is often the extra support that these groups require to enhance their facilities, improve the lives of their members and operate their centres successfully.

“Volunteering has also proved to be a key part of our health and wellbeing toolkit.  Our teams gain so much from the experience, not only by helping the community, but also having the chance to spend time with colleagues from around the business that they might not otherwise have a chance to meet.”

Mary McCall, Director of Commercial Brand Development at the Northern Ireland Hospice said: “We were delighted that Northern Ireland Water chose to come here to Children’s Hospice and volunteer in our gardens for the day. The corporate volunteering programme at the Children’s Hospice is a win-win situation for all involved. It allows our business partners to fulfil their corporate social responsibility objectives and our patients get the benefit of their expertise and hard work in the garden.”

Kieran Harding, Managing Director of Business in the Community added: NI Water has shown tremendous commitment to the local community through its decade-long involvement with the Cares Challenge. Employer-supported volunteering enables employees to engage with local communities, charities and community groups, to develop an understanding of their needs, and to pro-actively support the work they do. When employers offer opportunities for staff to volunteer it supports better wellbeing, develops skills, and improves employee engagement – creating a happier, healthier workforce.

“I’m delighted that, via the Cares programme, Business in the Community has been able to support NI Water to help local communities to thrive over the past decade.”


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NI Water celebrates a decade of Cares Challenge, one of the largest corporate volunteering schemes in the Province.  In the latest challenge the team of 15 volunteers, including Chief Executive, Sara Venning, worked to make the garden at the NI Children’s Hospice a perfect place of solace for patients and their families.

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