Serving Dublin in the kitchen, gardens and along the channels

From 7 June to 5 July employees from Aspen Ireland in Dublin travelled to various charities within the city to lend a hand for a day. These beneficiaries included ARC Cancer Support, The National Rehabilitation Hospital (NRH), The Lighthouse Drop in Centre and The Dublin Canal Clean-Up.

Aspen employees could be found getting dirty helping reshaping gardens, clearing out old sheds, pulling rubbish out of the canal, cooking for the less fortunate and much more. As if by an act of God, the Irish weather held up for every single one of the charity days, the sun cream was out in force as freckles bloomed throughout the workforce!

The first group spent the day cleaning Dublin’s canals. Unfortunately, Dublin’s canals, which are one of our most iconic and beautiful features of the city, have become littered and unsightly due to neglect and abuse. So our team of Aspen employees led by a member of a group that meets every month to clean the canal and also one of our own set out and got their hands dirty pulling all sorts out of the canal. After an extremely physically demanding day the team pulled dozens of kilos of waste out of the waterway. They did an amazing job in helping restore the canal to its original beauty.

Two groups of employees took part in volunteering with the Light House. The first group went to a disadvantaged area in Dublin’s city to clean up a common area and children’s playground of broken glass and other dangerous materials and they arrange a BBQ for the community. The team made the area safe for adults and children in the community to enjoy it once more by spending hours picking up and clearing waste. They then finished off the day by having a BBQ for all the community members. Upon returning to the office spirits were high, they had experienced something truly special and made bonds that will not soon be forgotten.

The second group who helped with the Light House attended their kitchen service. This is a service that provides lunch to the homeless and less fortunate in Dublin’s City Centre. Aspen employees got to meet the incredible team behind this service, and the individuals that attended it. They cooked, cleaned and chatted their way through the day. The team spent time with those who have benefitted from this service some of whom shared their often heart-breaking stories of how they ended up living on the streets of Dublin. The day was a testing one, but the team left feeling fulfilled having dedicated their time and energy to a charity with massive and positive impact.

Those who went to the National Rehabilitation Hospital were tasked in taming their overgrown garden. In the space of one day the team managed to transform it back to its original beauty for those who attend the hospital to enjoy once more. The NRH is a publicly funded voluntary-led rehabilitation hospital that caters to adult and paediatric patients on an inpatient and outpatient basis. The team was blown away with the quality of service provided by the NTH and were grateful to have been able to be a part of something so powerful.

The final event was to ARC Cancer Support,a centre providing a range of free services for those who are affected by a cancer diagnosis. Some of the services provided by the highly skilled and knowledgeable volunteers are counselling, physiotherapy and Indian head massage among others. The Aspen employees who went to ARC were also tasked with reshaping their overgrown garden, and taking part in the notorious lemon challenge! With brush, spade and bucket the team made the garden inhabitable once more. By the end of the day ARC had their oasis in Dublin City Centre back spick and span for all their clients to enjoy.

Mandela Day was rounded off by all the teams sharing their stories about their experience. Each of the five teams presented on their charity and created a short video of their day. An additional donation was made by Aspen to the team who made the best video and presentation. The presentations all highlighted the amazing work that each charity does for its respective beneficiaries, the efforts made by the team and how it impacted the beneficiary. It was clear that a lot had been learnt and taken away by each employee, not just with regards to their own charitable effort, but with respect to all the charities chosen. Everyone was so humbled by their contribution, yet equally proud of their achievement and delighted to be able to share with their peers. For many it was also the first opportunity to publicly speak in front of their colleagues. The spirit and energy it has brought to Aspen Ireland won’t be forgotten any time soon.