Learning disability and autism charity Orchardville and Diageo Northern Ireland today celebrated the start of a new three year charity partnership. The charity operates across Northern Ireland providing opportunities, employment and support for adults with learning disabilities and / or with Autism Spectrum Condition.
Orchardville currently supports over 300 service users in finding a job, preparing for employment and generally helping to develop confidence, social and communication skills through a broad range of programmes. It also runs a number of successful social enterprises including the Orchard Cafés in East Belfast, the Orchardville Business Centre and a newly launched retail unit ‘Gifts that Give’ in Bloomfield Shopping Centre, Bangor. The partnership will benefit both organisations with Diageo offering corporate support to the charity and its service users by providing opportunities for mock interviews, training and career visits, as well as supporting Orchardville staff development through peer mentoring.
Diageo employees will have the opportunity to volunteer for the charity and to support its social enterprises while also receiving invaluable training, such as Learning Disability Awareness Training which Orchardville recently delivered to staff in the company’s head office.
Fundraising is also a key element of the partnership. Diageo has already raised over £2,000 for the charity with numerous other events planned including support for the Orchardville Gala Ball in November 2017 which is being held to mark the charity’s 35th anniversary.
Jorge Lopes, Country Director at Diageo NI, said; “As a company, we receive many requests for charitable support that is why for a number of years we have selected a dedicated charity partner. By making a commitment to a charity for a period of time we feel that we can really get involved and make a tangible difference. Our employee-led charity selection process is both thorough and competitive and Orchardville impressed us from the very first meeting – they really understood that we wanted a proper partnership with a charity. We look forward to working together with Orchardville and together we look forward to making a difference to the lives of people in our local community particularly those most in need.”
Kirsty Spencer from Orchardville added; “Orchardville is delighted to have been chosen as Diageo’s charity partner for the next three years. I have no doubt that we will benefit greatly from one and other and the learning will be invaluable. Orchardville is really excited and looking forward to a successful and bright future working partnership.”