Business leaders take a ‘hands on’ approach to tackling poverty

Employers from across Northern Ireland came together on Wednesday 7 June to help tackle poverty at a unique ‘Seeing is Believing’ event, organised by Business in the Community.

The event, which is one of a series that takes place throughout the UK, is designed to bring together senior business leaders and other stakeholders, enabling them to gain first-hand insight into pressing social and environmental issues. It was attended by Chief Executives and Senior Directors from Allstate, Asda, Lidl, Mount Charles Group, Phoenix Natural Gas, PwC, and Ulster Bank.

The itinerary included visits to three frontline community organisations that provide support to some of Northern Ireland’s most vulnerable people.

After a brief introduction to the initiative at Allstate, delegates boarded a bus that took them to The CLARE (Creative Local Action Responses and Engagement) Project, a not-for-profit, community interest company in Mount Vernon; The Welcome Organisation, which provides support and interventions to people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness; and Ballynafeigh Community Development Association (BCDA), an organisation that helps to tackle deprivation in the South Belfast area.

John Healy, Managing Director of Allstate Northern Ireland, lead the team on the day. He said: “Whilst figures show that the number of adults and children living in relative and absolute poverty here in Northern Ireland has decreased, there are still too many people living in poverty – and this is something that employers can work together on to tackle.

“We are delighted to be working with Business in the Community to deliver this important initiative, and help to bridge the gap between the boardroom and the community. Poverty is not good for our society or our economy, and it’s certainly not good for business. The programme is truly unique, giving business leaders a first-hand experience, and enabling them to develop practical solutions to tackle the issue of poverty and inspire change.”

Andrew McCracken, Chief Executive, Community Foundation added: “Our aim is to connect people who care with causes that matter and we are delighted that business leaders and employers are getting this fantastic opportunity to visit some of the groups we have helped fund. We know from our Vital Signs quality of life research that 376,000 people live in poverty in Northern Ireland – including more than 100,000 children.

“Poverty has a devastating impact on the local community, wasting people’s potential, depriving our society and economy of the skills and talents of those who have valuable contributions to make. Events such as ‘Seeing is Believing’ really help highlight the positive difference that even a small amount of funding can make in communities who need it most,” said Andrew.

For more information, please contact denise.cranston@bitcni.org.uk or call (028) 9046 0606