Mid Ulster bosses urged to let employees out to 'be a Saint for the day'

Volunteer on March 16 and 'be a Saint for the day'
Volunteer on March 16 and 'be a Saint for the day'

Responsible business network, Business in the Community, is urging bosses across Mid Ulster to let their employees skip work to volunteer at a local charity on March 16.

Organised in partnership with Volunteer Now and supported by SPAR, 'Be a Saint Day' is an annual day of volunteering which includes a range of fun, practical challenges from running a charity shop for a day to garden maintenance.

There is an opportunity to suit everyone and Maghera has joined locations across Northern Ireland for the event, which ties in with St Patrick’s Day.

Other towns involved include Antrim, Ballymena, Bangor, Belfast, Carrickfergus, Carryduff, Downpatrick, Drumahoe, Enniskillen, Greyabbey, Holywood, Larne, Newtownards, Newry, Omagh and Whitehead.

Hilary Hanberry, Volunteering Manager, Business in the Community said: "Be a Saint Day is a great opportunity to get involved, and give something back to your community in a practical, hands on way.

"Most of the tasks are practical and include things like painting, renovating or making over a green area. Generally they are vital tasks that the groups simply don’t have the resource to undertake themselves, so it provides a vital boost to the charities being supported.

"Last year, we had 29 businesses take part and they really enjoyed the experience. It’s great for team building with the added benefit that volunteering has been proven to be good for your health!"

"We are delighted to support ‘Be a Saint Day’ once again this year," added Bronagh Luke, Head of Corporate Marketing for the Henderson Group, owners of the SPAR franchise in Northern Ireland, and sponsor of Business in the Community’s volunteering programme ‘Cares’.

"It’s made such an impact in local communities over the past few years, with hundreds of charities benefiting from employees lending a hand for the day.

"Last year, a staggering 307 volunteers took part, giving 1,842 hours directly to their communities. We hope we’ll see just as many people get involved this year, if not more."

Wendy Osborne OBE, Chief Executive, Volunteer Now explained: "Volunteers make a tremendous contribution to communities across Northern Ireland; many local organisations wouldn’t be able to deliver services deeply valued by many people without their time and dedication.

"This day of volunteering action is a great way for volunteers to make a difference in the community and have some fun at the same time."

In addition to practical volunteering opportunities, a number of charities including Action on Hearing Loss, Stroke Association and Positive Futures also have befriending opportunities available.

If you’d like to find out more or register to take part, please e-mailangela.mccartney@bitcni.org.uk or call 02890 460606 to register.

Or, if you are a voluntary and community organisation and would like to put forward a group volunteering opportunity, e-maillorraine.smyth@volunteernow.co.uk or call 02890 232020.

For more information, visit www.bitcni.org.uk or www.volunteernow.co.uk