A team of employees from PwC NI are downing calculators and VR headsets to work on the first community garden in a secure college at Hydebank Wood.
The volunteering project at Hydebank Wood College, formerly a prison for young offenders, is one of a number of community activities taking place on the firm’s ‘Be Well, Work Well’ themed day. It’s part of PwC NI’s commitment to supporting mental health and wellbeing, both for its staff and also within the wider community.
Working with Groundwork NI, the team will be helping to maintain the garden and develop the range of produce grown on site that is available to the community, the college and local foodbanks.
In total 60 people from the tax division are getting involved on the day. Other initiatives include bringing a disused café back into service to support homeless people and the Simon Community and working with TAMHI to hold a Mental Health Games event with school children. And making use of their natural talents, the musicians in the tax team will be joining forces with the Ulster Orchestra and running a Crescendo session with young people in west Belfast.
PwC NI’s Head of Tax Janette Jones said the impact will be far-reaching:
“As an employer, we know how important it is to break down the stigma that surrounds caring for our mental health and to genuinely support our teams. Doing that also means being a responsible organisation and helping the wider community to become healthier too.
“We can all get caught up in day-to-day stresses and pressures, and not take time out to do other things which feed our souls and help others. We connected with a broad range of organisations to enable the team to volunteer with a group that plays to their personal strengths – such as playing music or gardening. It is worth the effort – the feedback we get from the team is overwhelmingly positive and can lead to other partnerships too.”
Heather Pollock, Acting Chief Executive at Groundwork NI said:
“We’re delighted to have the support of PwC NI in building and sustaining this important community facility. From this site we help build the skills of the students to enable them to reintegrate back to the community as well as offering a safe place for the local community to come, get involved and be connected with the wonderful outdoor space within the college grounds. “
Earlier this month PwC NI launched the Challenge Fund to directly support a range of organisations in north and west Belfast to develop a suicide prevention programme. Janette said it’s important to the firm that partnerships have the potential to make a lasting difference.
“The corporate responsibility projects we undertake are more than box-ticking exercises. They speak directly to our purpose as a firm, and support our commitment to solve important problems and build trust in society.
“When we work with external organisations, individuals on the team often return to them to volunteer. In the last year across the UK firm, our people contributed more than 66,400 hours of volunteering to communities and charities. It’s something we’re proud of, and will continue to support.”