Mayo County Library (Mayo County Council) in partnership with BITCI 'Time to Read' CSR Literacy Programme
Business Type: Mayo County Library (Mayo County Council)
Location: 15 branches throughout Co. Mayo. Time to Read operates in Castlebar, the location of our largest branch and headquarters.
Mission Statement: "Mayo County Council's mission is to improve the quality of life for people living in Mayo and enhance the attractiveness of the County as a place to live in, work, enjoy and invest."
No. of Employees: 35 (Library) 1,300 (Council)
Overview of CSR Initiative:
CSR Initiative: Time to Read.
Time to Read is a reading enhancement initiative managed by Business in the Community Ireland and provides children in second class with reading support from a business volunteer over a 20 week programme. The programme aims to increase the enjoyment of, and confidence in reading whilst encouraging self-discovery for the participating children. Along with the reading sessions, the children visit their local public library and the volunteer’s workplace.
Resources required: Volunteers, training, garda vetting, books.
Challenges: Securing the required ten volunteers necessitated multiple staff emails, so it was slightly labour intensive for the coordinator.
Benefits: Volunteers have reported high levels of satisfaction with the programme. They feel they are helping improve the children’s quality of life. They also enjoy being able to show the council in a positive light, particularly through the library visit and workplace visit. The childrens’ teachers are uniformly positive about the initiative and are very enthusiastic about it. The children themselves can be seen to blossom and grow in confidence through the course of the year.
Outcome: Reading levels and interest among the Time to Read children improved. Volunteers reported a personal satisfaction and gratitude that Mayo County Council supported their volunteering.
How was/is this initiative promoted?
Promoted in the MCC Annual Report, also regular updates in the MCC newsletter and in the staff distribution emails circulated by the Communications Department. Plenty of publicity also on the Mayo Library website.
Do you report on CSR in the Annual Report?
Towards Responsible Business’ Ireland’s National Plan on CSR 2017-2020 identifies 4 core dimensions of CSR – Environment, Community, Workplace and Marketplace.
• Environment - minimising negative environmental impacts
• Community - interaction with your local community partners and organisations
• Workplace - supporting and engaging with your employees
• Marketplace - interaction with your local community partners and organisations.
Please select the dimension(s) that you apply to your CSR Initiative and why?
Community: Through interaction with local schools – teachers, pupils and parents – and building a positive relationship with them through the Time to Read initiative.
Workplace: Encouraging volunteerism in employees feeds into their sense of accomplishment and pride, and perfectly accomplishes the mission statement of improving life for people living in Mayo.
How has the CSR initiative benefitted your business and demonstrated a win:win in the short-term and/or long-term?
I can’t say there has been a financial benefit, but there has definitely been a boost in the ‘feel-good’ factor which is an important facet in good employer/employee relations. As the employees feel supported in their volunteerism, they can also see that Mayo County Council is committed to improving life for all in the county. Who better to start with than young second class children? It is an initiative that resonates with all, and over the three years we have been running the programme at Mayo County Council, there has been 100% positive feedback from volunteers, principals, teachers, parents and children. That can only be classed as a win:win, both in the short- and the long-term
Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):
Please identify which SDG goal(s) apply to your CSR initiative. More information on The Goals can be found on https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/sustainable-development-goals/
I feel the Time to Read initiative complies with the following SDG goals:
SDG 3: Good Health and Well-being
SDG 4: Quality Education
SDG 10: Reduced inequalities
What did you learn from your experience of creating and implementing a CSR initiative?
I learned that it can be quite difficult initially to engage people and persuade them to volunteer. I learned that you have to gently persuade rather than harass people to take part! But I also learned that it’s well worth persevering, even when the goal of securing enough volunteers seems unachievable. Because the benefits of the programme are such that by the end of it, people are delighted they took part – some have returned for a second year – and are keen to spread the word among their colleagues.
What advice would you give a business starting on their CSR Journey?
Keep sight of your goal – whether it’s to engage your employees more or improve life in the community – and it will act as encouragement when you might find certain aspects of a programme more challenging than others.