Business news

Cloud Company Employees Celebrate Volunteers’ Week

Posted By:
3EN Cloud

8th Jun 2023

A Holywood employer is shining a spotlight on two of its team members during Volunteers’ Week 2023.

3EN is one of Europe’s most qualified Oracle NetSuite Enterprise Resource Planning Solutions partners. Two employees based at the company’s Holywood office are regular volunteers at organisations across Northern Ireland and are supported by 3EN to take time out to give back to the community.

3EN’s Chief Financial Officer, Sharon-Louise McKay, and the company’s head of client services Conor McDonnell have shared their thoughts on volunteering with the hope of inspiring other employers to encourage their teams to get involved.

Sharon-Louise sits on the board of TinyLife, the premature baby charity for Northern Ireland; the country’s governing body of athletics, Athletics Northern Ireland; and the Mary Peters Track, a public athletics track in Belfast. She is also a volunteer driver for Blossoms, a charity that provides for struggling families who need essentials for a new-born baby.

Speaking on why volunteering is important to her, Sharon-Louise said:

“My volunteering started out due to the Duke of Edinburgh scheme that I was completing where Bronze, Silver and Gold require a period of volunteering. When I completed that, I volunteered in Whitehead Library then moved on to Whitehaven Respite Unit and then to Greenisland Hospital – wherever I was needed, really.

“From there, I decided to volunteer with at least one charity every year, and I’ve been doing that for years now. It doesn’t happen all the time, but when you genuinely help someone, it’s so rewarding.”

On the last Saturday of every month, Conor volunteers with The Saturday Club in Omagh, a youth group that provides respite for children with special needs. Since 2002, the charity has welcomed over 200 children and young people and over 2,000 volunteers from local schools.

Conor’s volunteering journey began in much the same way as Sharon-Louise’s. Speaking candidly about why he first got involved with The Saturday Club, Conor said: “I started volunteering for selfish reasons, to be honest, joining The Saturday Club when I was 16 and looking to get some volunteering hours under my belt for the Pope John Paul II and Duke of Edinburgh Awards.

“At the time, it was more about ticking a box for university applications, and I didn’t realise then the impact it would have on my life, the doors it would open for me, and skills I’d gain along the way.”

Conor continued: “The thing I enjoy most about volunteering with The Saturday Club is watching how the kids and young volunteers thrive at the club as they return year on year. It’s a privilege to engage with young people across all our different activities, whether it’s through putting on a show, getting stuck into some art, or getting away on a trip. It’s great to see how the kids and volunteers alike learn new skills and ideas – I’m glad to play a small part in that.”

The pair also shared their thoughts on how businesses can facilitate volunteering for team members, offering examples of initiatives from 3EN.

Sharon-Louise said: “3EN is extremely supportive of my volunteering activities. There have been occasions where I have had to take calls during working hours, and 3EN has also allowed me to use the company’s facilities to host meetings. Knowing that I have the company’s support makes balancing life, work, and volunteering easier.”

Conor added: “3EN has been great over the past five years, both in supporting myself and the club as and when we needed it. Simple actions like members of the team dropping a Facebook like or comment to help us win a competition for the kids, the company donating to the club, or supporting workloads to allow me to take off time as and when needed have been really beneficial.”

What do Sharon-Louise and Conor have to say to people thinking about getting involved in volunteering? “There is always time to fit in some volunteering,” said Sharon-Louise. “It doesn’t necessarily have to be a big commitment to make a difference.”

“Go for it. It doesn’t matter if you don’t think you’ll like it, don’t think it’s for you, or don’t think you’ll fit in with the group. Give it a go, and you’ll more than likely find great satisfaction in helping others. Volunteering is a great way to meet new people, learn new skills, and support your community all at once. It doesn’t matter how much or how little time you have, we can all find ways to support others,” Conor echoed.

3EN’s CEO, Dale Cree, and senior sales consultant Matthew McDowell recently took part in volunteering at Holywood Primary School with Young Enterprise. For an hour per week throughout March, the pair joined forces with Northern Ireland’s leading enterprise education charity to teach children about how financial decisions impact families.

In 2020, 3EN created Holywood Connects, a free, online directory designed to connect local vulnerable people in need with organisations and groups that could support them during the COVID-19 pandemic. Services included essential grocery shops, prescription pick-ups and over the phone counselling sessions.

The company is currently looking for opportunities for team members based in Northern Ireland to get involved in volunteering together