450 Bank of Ireland volunteers swap hedge funds for hedge clippers across Dublin, Galway and Cork
On 22 and 23 June, over 450 Bank of Ireland volunteers together with Celebrity Architect and RTÉ star Dermot Bannon tackled 200 gardens in Dublin, Cork and Galway as part of the Great Bank of Ireland Backyard Blitz in aid of Age Action. Now in its second year, the Backyard Blitz matches colleagues with older members of the community whose gardens are in need of a summer tidy-up and find these jobs hard to tackle by themselves.
This was Bank of Ireland’s largest ever volunteering project, and it was much more than tidying up a garden – for many older people it was about giving them back the opportunity to enjoy their outdoor space and all the benefits, both mental and physical, that come with that. The project concentrated on key areas in each of the cities which have a significant population of older people: East Wall in Dublin, Renmore and Mervue in Galway, and Ballypheane in Cork.
One of the gardens that benefited from an expert makeover was the Seán O’Casey Community Centre Garden in East Wall. The Centre provides a space for members of the 5,000-strong community in the area, 70% of which are aged over 65. With Dermot Bannon’s design expertise, Bank of Ireland volunteers refurbished the garden adding a patio area, pergola and beautiful plants to brighten up the area for all the residents of the community.
Discussing the initiative, Backyard Blitz Ambassador Dermot Bannon said, “The Bank of Ireland Backyard Blitz initiative is a fantastic way to support communities and I am very proud to be involved. As an architect, I know from experience that once a space looks well people are more inclined to use it and enjoy it. Strong communities are built on strong community spirit and this initiative from Age Action and Bank of Ireland will make a real impact for those involved.”
Fran Laycock from the East Wall Community Centre commented: “We’re thrilled to have dozens of Bank of Ireland staff lend their hand to fixing up our communal garden. Here in East Wall we are a close-knit community and will greatly benefit from a usable green space that we can enjoy and maintain together. I am really looking forward to spending a lot of time in the garden this summer!”
In addition to the Backyard Blitz, Bank of Ireland supports Age Action with volunteering, fundraising and financial support, as well as providing teaching on the basics of the internet and digital world through Tea & Teach sessions.