The denizens of Ringsend and Irishtown took to the streets on July 3rd along with volunteers from SalesForce, Serve the City, Arup and Dublin City Council to participate in an organised cleanup of the local area.
The idea for the day’s activities was initially spawned at a Ringsend and Irishtown Community Services Forum meeting from June 10th, attended by the following representatives: Sueann Moore of RCSF, Gemma Byrne from NewsFour, Alan McElwee from Serve The City, Sinead Kavanagh from RDRD, Shay Connolly from Our Town Initiative, Liza Caulfield from Irishtown stage school, Noel McGuinness from RICC Radio, Boy Murphy from Bridge United, Nikki Bui Thi from Irishtown stage school and Cathy Gleeson from Traders Association.
The meet-up point for all volunteers was 1.30pm at the Ringsend and Irishtown Community Centre, where each group was briefed on their task for the day. Instructions and thanks were presented by Sueann Moore, Shay Connolly and Cathy Gleeson of Traders Association, who were the umbrella group leading the cleanup. NewsFour managed to grab a quick word with Natalie Bolger of Arup, who looks after their CSR community department.
“We felt that we hadn’t really done anything in the community,” Bolger said. “I literally googled Ringsend committee members and I got in touch asking could we get a group together. We were only delighted.”
A turnout of roughly 100 volunteers converged on the centre, with 13 from Arup and around 50 from SalesForce. Seven colour coded areas in the Ringsend/Irishtown area were selected for the cleanup, with participants split half and half between locals and volunteers into groups of 10 to 15 people. There were five child protection officers on standby. Dublin City Council and volunteers provided buckets, hi visibility gear and gloves.
Each group had a team leader who also designated a member to fill in their report sheet from the day’s trials and tribulations.
After the cleanup, everyone reconvened at the Community Centre at 4.30pm for de-briefing and refreshments. While reporting from the frontlines of this battle royale between man and litter, NewsFour managed a brief exchange with Richard McGuinness, regional vice president for SalesForce.
“SalesForce has a philanthropic model built into it; we call it the 111 Model,” McGuinness said. “The whole company is responsible for one percent of equity being devoted to charitable causes, one percent of our product is given to charity free of charge, and one percent of all employees’ time is given as well, so we volunteered with the cleanup project and hopefully we can make a bit of a dent today!”
The purpose of the cleanup and other projects is to bring all strands of the community and external businesses together, and it would be fair to say that the success of the cleanup provided more concrete proof (if any were needed) that the spirit of our community in this part of the city is unbreakable.
By Craig Kinsella