In early May, we left the day jobs behind for a while and came together for one day of volunteering for good causes in our local communities.

Responsibl’ALL day is an innovative concept developed by Pernod Ricard in which affiliate companies all over the world participate. With a nod to our decentralised way of working in the Pernod Ricard group, each affiliate has autonomy and scope to devise a project relevant and impactful to its own the local area. A common thread, however, is that all initiatives reflect the objectives of our global corporate social responsibility strategy – to empower our employees, engage our communities, and protect our planet.

There is a strong tradition of volunteering in Irish Distillers and the high level of participation in Responsibl’ALL day year on year is reflective of this culture. As a business, we recognise that employees may want to do more for causes which are particularly important to them. Our volunteering policy means that every employee is entitled to two days annual volunteer leave and can avail of a match funding incentive for individual fund-raising efforts during the year.

Although Responsibl’ALL day is a flagship event, at Irish Distillers our community initiatives and outreach are ongoing throughout the year. We demonstrate our commitment to the communities in which we operate in a variety of ways including through local sponsorships, charity partnerships, product donations and the relationships we have with third level institutions such as CIT, DCU, and DIT. The Business in the Community Impact Map is a great way to see at a glance how Irish Distillers engages. You can check out the 2017 map here.

But back to our Responsibl’ALL day 2018 for a moment. Of course, this endeavor was all about making a lasting impact in our local communities and the most rewarding part of our Responsib’ALL day this year was to see the immediate impact of our hard day’s graft. Many of the projects we worked on focused on improving surroundings or outdoor areas used by our community partners. It is very powerful to see how as a team we can vastly improve the day-to-day experience of people who use these facilities and create a beautiful environment for them to enjoy.

But what’s also interesting is what Responsibl’ALL day means to colleagues who participate. No doubt everyone will have their own thoughts, but for me the day allows time for a little reflection and gives us the opportunity to experience a real sense of achieving something beneficial for others which is enriching for us as both individuals and colleagues.

Our CEO, Jean Christophe (yes, he got his hands dirty too), reminded us that it is amazing what we can achieve when we are collectively focused and truly act as a team. Considering everything that was completed in such a short space of time, I think he might be right…

Here’s a run down of the projects we were involved in across our sites for Responsibl’ALL:

In Midleton, colleagues volunteered at their new site charity partner, Down Syndrome Cork Field of Dreams. Here, they helped develop the Field of Dreams gardens and amenities for the adults enrolled in the program. Their work included making raised vegetable beds and constructing a sensory garden. There is still a busy schedule of fundraising activities planned with some great events providing employees the opportunity to continue to volunteer throughout the year. http://fieldofdreamscork.ie/

Dillon Bass helped out at The Macmillan Unit in Antrim Area Hospital. The Macmillan Unit offers specialist care to help patients and their families when living with a life-limiting illness. Our colleagues spent the day cleaning, sanding and re-varnishing all seating and tables in the patio area that each room looks onto. They also worked on the garden itself, laying a path and planting shrubs to add some colour to the project. http://www.northerntrust.hscni.net/services/1616.htm%20

Fox and Geese and Simmonscourt came together at CINTRA campus, a St John of God’s day service for adults with intellectual and physical disabilities near Dun Laoghaire. The outdoor area was transformed into a space that promotes creative and recreational pursuits in the areas of horticulture, art, and crafts in order to promote independent living for service users. Their great work included making a sensory garden, living skills area, a stage with lawn mounds, potting shed, and a polytunnel with mobile tables. https://sjogfoundation.ie/

Claire MacCarrick

‎Public Affairs and Corporate Social Responsibility Manager