NI Water makes Little Ripples with Big Changes in Castlecaulfield

(L-R) Wayne Patterson, Paddy Fitzgerald, Gareth Evans, Garry Ballantine, William Acheson, Orla McGivern and David Maguire
(L-R) Wayne Patterson, Paddy Fitzgerald, Gareth Evans, Garry Ballantine, William Acheson, Orla McGivern and David Maguire

NI Water has made big waves in their volunteering programme by introducing a new community led initiative called Little Ripples. Little Ripples gives staff the opportunity to pitch for their local charity or community group to receive volunteering support and funding.

The programme was named ‘Little Ripples’ because there’s no such thing as a small act of kindness.

Every act of kindness creates a ripple with no end. The first local charity to receive our support was the Castlecaulfield Horticultural Society and their ‘Bamboo Project’.

Andrew Humphrey’s from NI Water who recommended the Bamboo project comments: “The main objective of the day was to prepare the area for the construction of a path. This involved clearing weeds and vegetation from the line of the path and removal of waste and litter.

“While fly-tipped waste is easily spotted and removed from land, in water it is more difficult. Nonetheless, our team of seven dedicated volunteers managed to remove a large quantity of damaging waste from the River Torrent.

“In just a short section of the River, the team removed large appliances including televisions and cookers, metal objects including roadwork signs and grills, glass, plastics, shoes and boots! This River contributes as a raw water resource for some of our treatment works so this was a small but worthwhile step in improving raw water quality. Additionally, the team may have discovered an unauthorised sewer connection.

“The Castlecaulfield Horticultural Society were immensely grateful for the work carried out and prepared an outstanding home cooked lunch of soup and Irish stew for everyone. All the participants thoroughly enjoyed the day and found the simple act of walking the river and removing the waste calming and therapeutic.”

NI Water would like to return to the area in May or June to continue the clean-up and help the Horticultural Society complete the project.

Rose Kelly, who created the Little Ripples project added: “NI Water’s volunteering programme encourages employees to become involved in charitable and community activities in the places we live.

“Every month a group of employee volunteers spend a day providing community support by dedicating their time and talent to highly deserving charitable projects. Little Ripples is our latest initiative which allows colleagues to choose the charities we support and this year we have four excellent projects lined up.

“Our focus with these initiatives is on building community relationships and developing genuine partnerships through our employees to tackle sustainable change in communities.

“Employees gain significant benefits from volunteering including; teambuilding, learning new skills, pride in making a difference and wellbeing. Our employees are interacting directly with the communities they work and live in, working on a project close to their heart.”

Future Little Ripples projects include an ‘extreme makeover’ for a community room, building a greenhouse and a creating a timber outdoor workshop.

The Little Ripples project is an addition to NI Water’s comprehensive CSR programme and we are continuing with our highly successful Cares Challenge initiative which delivers support to a different charity or community group each month.