Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 28 December 2014

Cafe that serves up inspiration

Leone McAfee, Josh Bradley and Janice McCay from Airtricity with Anne Marie Hastings from Daisies
Leone McAfee, Josh Bradley and Janice McCay from Airtricity with Anne Marie Hastings from Daisies

Airtricity workers volunteer to help Telegraph award winners

A successful social business that has given hope, self-belief and confidence to hundreds of people has inspired a major energy company to pledge a helping hand.

Daisies Cafe in Newtownards, Co Down, has provided alternative training and employment for people with a learning disability or mental illness for 12 years.

Its success and contribution to the wider community was acknowledged with the team winning the Service with a Smile category at the inaugural Belfast Telegraph Making The Difference Awards last year.

Inspired by the opportunities they create, a volunteer workforce from Airtricity has offered to “roll up their sleeves” for a day to help the business.

The company — sponsoring the Best Street Award this year — runs the ‘Community at Heart’ scheme, encouraging staff to take extra days leave if they commit to helping out local good causes.

It has proved a huge success and since April 2011 staff have been involved in more than 2,000 hours of volunteering.

Josh Bradley, marketing and sponsorship manager with Airtricity, said it was attending the Making The Difference gala at the Grand Opera House last year that led to the offer of help.

“Last year at the ceremony there were some inspirational stories of individuals and organisations making a difference,” he said.

Mr Bradley explained they wanted to make a difference “on the ground” and contacted Daisies Cafe this month and asked if they could help.

“I spoke with Anne Marie Hastings, Daisies project manager, and she identified ways in which our workforce could provide a helping hand including painting, clean-up tasks and marketing expertise.

“So we are delighted to be able to spend a day and help them deliver their terrific service.”

How to enter

There is still time to nominate for the 2012 Belfast Telegraph Making The Difference Awards, supported by Tesco. The closing date to submit a nomination is February 22. The public can enter in two ways:

1: Write a nomination in no more than 200 words clearly stating the category and contact details of nominator and nominee and send to: Making the Difference Awards, Belfast Telegraph 124-144 Royal Avenue, Belfast, BT1 1EB

2: Email your nomination to makingthedifference@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

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