Business in the Community’s ProHelp programme welcomed representatives from the marketing, design, web creation and public affairs sectors to a breakfast briefing at the Baby Grand in Belfast this week as part of National Pro Bono week.
ProHelp is a national network of over 1,000 professional firms committed to providing free advice and support to local community and voluntary organisations.
Speaking at the event, Chair of the ProHelp Project Leadership Team, Jackie Henry, outlined: "In Northern Ireland over 60 ProHelp projects have been completed in 2009 so far, notching up over 800 hours of pro bono support. The value of this work for our local community cannot be quantified in terms of financial value. It actually changes people’s lives.
"Staff development and demonstration of commitment to corporate responsibility are key business benefits, however, it also promotes a rise in professional standards."
Michelle Brown from the Lower Castlereagh Community Group spoke highly of her experience as a recipient of ProHelp support: "Our organisation is wholly supported by voluntary commitment. ProHelp brokered a relationship for us with the Northern Ireland Housing Executive to design and develop a logo.
"Working with Kathryn McIntyre, Senior Designer, was great. She understood our needs and created a simple, but effective mark enabling us to present ourselves in a professional manner and heightening our recognition in the community, with funders and with local authority organisations."
Sarah Young from SMARTS, one of the many professional firms already signed up to ProHelp, outlined: "Involvement in ProHelp is a tangible expression of our corporate responsibility, and as well as benefiting the community, it’s good for business. It builds reputation and promotes staff retention, as well as appealing to current and potential customers."
Paul Rooney, Chair of Business in the Community NI, encouraged all to get involved now. He said: "It’s not all about money. Time is the new gold. If we can give time to our local community we can be the change!"
For more information on Business in the Community, visit website www.bitcni.org.uk