KPMG Ireland’s Corporate Citizenship agenda focuses on skills-based volunteering, where our people enjoy hands-on engagement in many forms, from educational programmes to career mentoring initiatives.
Despite recent restrictions, our volunteers are still eager to engage in activities and give back to their communities. We have successfully pivoted a number of our initiatives online and introduced new ‘distant volunteering’ initiatives that can be done safely from home. Over 130 KPMG volunteers have been part of these initiatives and continue to make a difference.
We wanted to help address the issues of isolation and loneliness by keeping in touch with older people in our communities through a new pen pal initiative, ‘All write together’. KPMG volunteers have been busy writing letters and brightening up the days of 100 elderly people in our local community. The positive response from those receiving letters has been very encouraging. A daughter of one recipient told us that, “Getting the letter was a lovely surprise for my mam and can I just say what a well thought out campaign to write to the elderly, especially a proper old-fashioned letter. As mam’s impaired cognitive function has progressed to dementia, the lockdown has not been great for her, as communication with the outside world is vital to keep her brain ticking and dad has found it tough also. Thank you so much for brightening their day”.
An additional 50 KPMG people volunteered with ALONE’s befriending service, providing weekly phone-calls with elderly people to check-in with them during this difficult time.
The YMCA works with young people in Dublin 2 and Dublin 8. Traditionally young people accessed their services through an evening homework club, where they can complete homework in a supportive atmosphere. This vital service came to a halt due to Covid-19 until 6 KPMG volunteers engaged with the YMCA to facilitate supporting the students online. Students that were due to complete their Junior Certificate took part in the programme where KPMG volunteers helped them to continue to study and learn online through a series of weekly Zoom sessions.
KPMG has provided mentors to Business in the Community’s EPIC programme since 2011. The initiative helps people from immigrant communities find employment in their area of expertise in Ireland through one-to-one mentoring with KPMG people. This year, we have moved the programme online. Our volunteers engage via one to one virtual sessions. KPMG is further partnering with Business in the Community Ireland to provide short virtual buddying sessions for jobseekers. These sessions will include CV advice, interview practice and career guidance to equip people with the skills and confidence they need to gain employment in a highly challenging climate.
Speaking about the move to virtual volunteering, Karina Howley, Head of Corporate Citizenship & Diversity at KPMG Ireland, said “Virtual Volunteering has allowed our organisation to maintain previous community partnerships and forge new ones and we’re glad that our people can continue to Make a Difference”.