Friends First & Scoil Cholmcille JNS

Uncategorized - Mar 27, 2015

OutsideScoil Cholmchille JNS has been partnered with Friends First since September 2014.

We asked two children (Noah & Alex) from Scoil Cholmchille along with their volunteer readers (Niamh Kennedy & Tom Browne, CEO) to answer a few questions about what Time to Read means for them.

  • Noah did you like Time to Read? “Yeah, I really liked it. Tom and Niamh were very nice.”
  • What did you like best about it? “Reading and talking about the story.”
  • Would you recommend other children to take part? “Yes because its good and I like reading books more now.”
  • What was your favourite book? “‘The Race Boy’ because it’s about cars and football and I like watching cars.”
  • Alex, did you like Time to Read? “Yes. I love reading now more than before. Now I read with my Mam every night and got loads of books from the library.”
  • What did you like best about it? “Going to the Friends First Office and looking around and having buns.”
  • What was your favourite book? “‘Lively the Dog’. I liked the dog in it.”


Tom Browne, CEO, Friends First shares his take on the partnership:

Benefit to the business:

  • 10 members of our company are now closer to their colleagues who participated on the programme. From the time spent together on the programme there will be benefits back in the office from improved team-working, approachability / removal of barriers etc.
  • Employees are given a reason to be proud about the organisation they work for and they are given the internal support that allows them to participate in something they see as valuable. My own experience is that the Time to Read programme and all of the other CSR activities we undertake crop up almost as regularly now in conversation with people external to Friends First as normal business issues. The Time to Read programme is different and newsworthy, unlike say charitable donations, people always want to hear more about it.

From a personal perspective:

  • Opportunity to meet colleagues in a different non-business environment helps hugely with interactions back in a work setting
  • First-hand experience of the difference that (non-financial) CSR activities can make
  • My participation in this activity allows me to champion CSR activities within Friends First to a greater extent.
  • The sessions each Wednesday in the school have been very rewarding personally in terms of seeing the progress being made by Noah and Alex. It lifts the spirit and energy levels!

Niamh Kennedy, Friend’s First enthuses:

“I think from a business perspective there is a general sense of good feeling that comes from an employer facilitating you in getting involved in something like Time to Read. It’s the kind of thing I’ve wanted to get involved in for a long time but it can be difficult to not only find time, but to be allowed to take the time out of my work day is something I really appreciate.  It’s also afforded me the opportunity to get to know colleagues in a different context, which I think fosters an sense of openness and approachability.  Following the children’s visits to the office I think we’ve gotten a head-start on our recruitment drive for future employees! Personally, it’s been an absolute pleasure to have had the opportunity to get to know and read with Noah and Alex. Its been fantastic to watch their confidence grow week to week and very rewarding to see the progress they’ve made. I’m really going to miss my weekly visits to the school.”