Planting day at Waterworks Park, Belfast
Local employer Firstsource has sponsored 100 trees for North Belfast’s Waterworks Park. The business process outsourcing (BPO) company, which employs over 400 staff at its Linenhall Street contact centre, decided to make a contribution to the local environment as a way of offsetting its carbon emissions. Professor Bellamy was joined by pupils from the Bunscoil Bheann Mhadagain at the Waterworks, to plant the first of 100 new trees sponsored by firstsource.
Sean Canning, Firstsource’s UK Operations Director, explained the company’s decision to plant the trees: "As a global company we recognise our responsibility to the environment and decided that planting trees would demonstrate our commitment to the local community and to Northern Ireland. "We realise that it will take time to establish the trees in the park, but this is part of our undertaking over the long-term to the Belfast community. Over the next few years we hope to make further tree donations to benefit the area."
Representatives from the company’s Belfast office began planting the trees today, supported by Tree Appeal patron Professor David Bellamy and local school children.
Belfast City Council’s Liam McKinley - responsible for the management of the park - is delighted with the donation. "The Waterworks is an outstanding council park in a regeneration area of the city. This generous donation will make a real impact on the park and the local community. The trees will not only improve the environment, but will also become a legacy for the young people of North Belfast."
Tree planting is only part of the company’s Corporate Social Responsibility plan for Northern Ireland. Firstsource is also reviewing energy usage and recycling in all its offices, increasing the use of video conferencing to reduce travel and committing money to local charities. The hospice movement is Firstsource’s chosen charity for this year and the company’s staff will be participating in fund raising activities in aid of the hospice over the coming months.
The pupils also helped council staff and park rangers collect litter from around the north Belfast park. The rangers talked to them about pollution and wildlife preservation as it directly affects the Waterworks.
Local artist Claire Kelly, of the Channel 4 `Big Art` project also joined the children, working on an on-site art workshop, making dream catchers from natural found materials, which then were hung on trees around the parkland.
Liam McKinley, manager of the Waterworks, said, “This is a wonderful community initiative, giving local children the chance to change the shape of their own parks, and be creative and colourful with nature. This is only a taster of our future plans for creative regeneration projects, where local people can really make a difference to their surroundings.”
Professor David Bellamy said: "Trees are the longest living organisms on our planet. I am delighted to be in Belfast to witness Firstsource making a real contribution to the environment."
Firstsource has also donated trees to the Claudy Country Park in Londonderry, where the company’s other Northern Ireland-based centre is located.