AbbVie’s social engagement projects in Cork, Sligo and Dublin win awards
‘AbbVie Week of Possibilities’ named leading corporate social responsibility programme
Maireád Dunne, site director AbbVie Cork (far right) is joined by AbbVie Cork colleagues during the biopharmaceutical company’s recent annual community support programme, Week of Possibilities.
Global pharmaceutical company AbbVie takes a comprehensive approach to addressing complex health challenges. This includes award-winning corporate social responsibility programmes aimed at building strong communities, sustainable healthcare systems and effective educational programmes in the areas where the company has a presence.
In Ireland, that presence includes five manufacturing and commercial sites across the country. The company’s commercial headquarters is based at Citywest in Dublin with a separate international manufacturing and engineering services centre also located in the capital at Santry. The company has two manufacturing plants in Sligo, one of which is a global centre of excellence for medical devices. A third manufacturing centre is located in Cork. Overall, the company employs 600 people in this country.
AbbVie delivers world-class discovery, production and supply of critical medicines and its Irish operations are focused on new and breakthrough therapies for tough-to-treat diseases and unmet medical needs.
The company’s ongoing commitment to local communities in this country has recently been judged as best-in-class at the Pharma Industry Awards where the AbbVie Week of Possibilities volunteering initiative was named the leading corporate social responsibility programme undertaken by any pharmaceutical company in Ireland.
The Week of Possibilities also received a special commendation in the Best Pharmaceutical Social Commitment Project category at the prestigious Irish Healthcare Awards last month.
The Week of Possibilities initiative is AbbVie’s signature annual volunteering and community support programme. This year it involved 7,600 employees around the world volunteering more than 35,000 combined hours across 50 countries to benefit underserved populations in the communities where they live and work.
Initially launched in 2014, the Week of Possibilities focused primarily on projects in North Chicago in the US, where the company is headquartered. The initiative was subsequently expanded to cover the 45 other countries where AbbVie has operations and in 2015, employees donated more than 17,000 service hours to non-profit organisations working to benefit local communities.
Also in 2015, some 313 AbbVie volunteers from commercial and manufacturing sites across Ireland contributed to the initiative. Since then, the initiative has continued to grow. This year, AbbVie and the AbbVie Foundation committed more than €1.9 million to support Week of Possibilities projects in more than 50 countries supporting the time donated by the AbbVie employee volunteers.
Here in Ireland, AbbVie joined forces with the national volunteer development agency Volunteer Ireland to undertake Week of Possibilities projects in three communities in Cork, Sligo and Dublin.
More than 1,700 hours were volunteered by AbbVie employees across five days to assist projects at St Colman’s Community College in Midleton, Cork, the homeless charity Sophia in North County Dublin, and the Northside Community Centre in Sligo.
More than 40 AbbVie volunteers completed an extensive refurbishment of a physics lab in St Colman’s Community College to reflect the company’s ongoing commitment to supporting science education. Almost 60 volunteers from AbbVie’s commercial offices in Citywest volunteered with Sophia Housing, an organisation that provides emergency, transitional and long-term accommodation to people who are homeless. The accommodation centre is based in Donabate, north County Dublin where Sophia operates a “Nurture Centre” providing crèche and afterschool facilities for children living within the complex. AbbVie volunteers made a big effort to upgrade this nurture centre, an outdoor play area and an adjacent garden allotment.
In Sligo, more than 250 employees from two sites volunteered with the Northside Community Centre in Forthill, an educational resource for local children. The centre aims to provide a focal point to meet the social, economic and educational needs of the people of the north ward area with a specific focus on those who are experiencing poverty, inequality and social isolation. The AbbVie volunteers cleaned and painted the 30-room building and lowered ceilings to improve energy efficiency. The volunteers also installed a new IT suite and created a playground for children who use the facility.
According to Caroline McClafferty, human resources director with AbbVie Ireland, the Week of Possibilities is a great example of how non-profit organisations and the private sector can work together to make a positive difference.
“AbbVie encourages employee engagement in the communities where we live and work. Our volunteer efforts during Week of Possibilities make a real difference and we are delighted to receive recognition of our company’s responsible business practices and our continued commitment to community-focused projects during our volunteering outreach. This success reflects the enormous efforts of our dedicated employees in making a remarkable impact in the communities where AbbVie has a presence,” she says.