Irish eyes were smiling after colleagues donned gardening gloves and wellies to dig deep for a community volunteering day.
Yvonne Kavanagh, Hospital Key Account Manager at Teva Ireland, helped organise the event for the Commercial Team to help transform a garden area for elderly residents in Dublin, Ireland.
“We were given a project of making Teva a great place to work as part of our Task and Finish Group,” said Yvonne. “After a huge number of colleagues left due to redundancy earlier this year, Teva wanted our team to have a bonding day. It had been a very difficult period for everyone with lots of changes and the idea was that we could appreciate what the new Commercial team in Ireland is about.
“Our team doesn’t work together in an office; most of us are field based in different parts of Ireland so we only see each other at sales conferences three or four times a year. We therefore looked for something away from the work environment. The team also really wanted to do something to help people, specifically elderly or disabled people.”
The volunteer day was organised with the help of Volunteer Ireland. The team of 17 chose to transform a communal garden area at Woodstock Court, a residential assisted living community for older people.
Yvonne explained: “One of our core values is caring, and this project aimed to help people who weren’t in a position to do their own gardening. It was also a great opportunity for us to work with colleagues in a different environment - and have some fun!”
Volunteer Ireland ran the early September event and provided the materials while Teva covered the extra costs, including lunch, dinner and refreshments, hotel accommodation and extra plants.
“The initial garden area was pretty bleak,” said Yvonne. “We had to dig everything up then it was a case of raking, weeding, covering the area with mesh and stones, laying gravel and finally planting shrubs to brighten the place up.”
“Everyone got a huge amount out of the day,” added Yvonne. “It certainly created a ‘feel good’ effect. We sent out some questions via an anonymous survey and most people said the day had made them feel good about Teva and also about themselves. They also felt it would encourage them to do more volunteering out of work in the future. ”
“It was hard work but there was a huge sense of pride in what we’d achieved. We were also proud that our company was willing to afford us the time and costs to do such a worthwhile project. ”
“The highlight was seeing all the residents come out afterwards, they were absolutely delighted. We even got a shout out on national radio in Ireland the next day. All in all, it was a brilliant success and we’re now looking to make it an annual event.”