Over 2,000 food and toy hampers have been distributed in the Newry area this Christmas, and thousands of local people have been provided with a free hot meal, all thanks to the efforts of team members at Norbrook. It marks a further expansion of the Newry company’s community initiative which has helped more and more people in the local area each year.
Norbrook’s award-winning WeCare@Christmas campaign saw hundreds of employees at its Newry sites get involved in fundraising and donating food and toys and assembling hampers for local families. Canteen staff also prepared over 1,250 individual hot meals for local people in partnership with the Confederation of Community Groups locally
This is the fourth consecutive year that WeCare@Christmas has been running. It was initially created by Norbrook during the COVID-19 pandemic but has been expanded by the company due to the cost-of-living crisis.
This year, the programme has expanded further in response to the increased poverty in the region. The hugely successful Senior Citizens Christmas Dinners launched last year has expanded to three events and were booked out within days. 250 senior citizens from the area were treated to a festive afternoon, hosted and catered for by Norbrook staff. Another successful event returned this year with employees and their families enjoying Santa’s Grotto at work, with almost 500 in attendance.
The campaign also saw Norbrook team members decorating Daisy Hill Hospital’s Paediatric Ward and Southern Area Hospice’s Memory Garden, Reception and DayCare room, as well as sponsoring refreshments and volunteering at the hospice’s Light Up a Life event. Rathore School was a welcome new addition to the team’s decorating programme this year as well.
Conscious of the level of food insecurity in the region, Norbrook partnered with Business in the Community to support the Good Food Fund, and provided Breakfast boxes and snacks for St Ronan’s School in Newry throughout the month of December; while the team worked closely with the Confederation of Community Groups to donate and support a new initiative in the region – the Social Supermarket.
Denise Collins HR, Director, Norbrook said: “I am overwhelmed by the support and generosity of our team this year to surpass all expectations and give back more to our community than ever before.
“We understand how difficult this time of year is for so many families in our community and we were determined to make a real difference to as many as possible. The heartbreaking stories from families who received our hot dinners and those who benefit from our support for the social supermarket have touched us all and drove us to do more than ever before. Being able to support our community and have the opportunity for so many employees to contribute to the range of activities is the essence of our WeCare programme.
“We are delighted to have developed strong partnerships with local groups to ensure our donations reach those in greatest need. Our programme expanded this year enabling us to support local schools for the first time, while tapping into existing programmes in the community helped to increase our reach to families in crisis.
“In recognition of the popularity of our Senior Citizens lunches and Santa’s Grotto, we were able to expand these offerings this year with over 750 in attendance across the various events, while our amazing canteen team served over 3,000 Christmas dinners for employees, senior citizens and families in our community.
“Our WeCare@Christmas programme is now well-established, however we strive each year to expand our programme in response to our community’s needs. This is only possible through the ongoing generosity and support of the company and the hundreds of employees who come together to truly make a difference,” Denise adds.