Twenty-one-year-old Daniel always wanted to work in hospitality but, because of a learning difficulty, never believed he could. Thanks to NOW Group, he landed the job of his dreams in a five-star hotel frequented by celebrities.
The organisation is our Northern Ireland One Million Futures social enterprise partner. Based in Belfast, it helps people with autism and learning difficulties to find employment and change their lives.
Its work – and Daniel’s story – also inspired Muriel Tafts, our Public Sector Marketing Lead, to pursue a new and exciting path…
“I was on the panel to select the social enterprise partner and Maeve Monaghan, NOW Group’s CEO, told us about Daniel. When the organisation was selected as our partner, I didn’t hesitate to volunteer as the relationship manager. I now work with the Group to identify needs and find Deloitte colleagues who can help. In 2017, 33 individuals provided more than £72,000 in pro bono and volunteering time, and through procurement through our supply chain. This equates to new futures for 313 people.”
Building a better business
“NOW wanted to extend its reach, but needed a robust, sustainable business model. The number of employees had quickly grown from 25 to 75 but it depended heavily on government and European funding. In a post-Brexit world, that might have been challenging.
“We are now more focused on growing our social enterprise turnover by 40 per cent, with firm plans in place to expand across Northern Ireland and increase the number of participants we support by 50 per cent in 2018/19.
The Deloitte team has been with us every step of the way and we are challenging ourselves in 2018 to make the biggest impact yet.”
A team from the UK and Ireland – a first for our impact work – advised on a new organisational structure and helped to introduce a senior business development role. It means NOW can generate additional revenue and secure jobs for more people like Daniel. In total, we’ve been able to help around 40 members of staff, including some with learning difficulties themselves, to run their growing business. A new strategy has given them the confidence to expand beyond Belfast and help 50 per cent more people.”
Value from volunteering
“The client engagement part is great; I love learning more about NOW and its strategic challenges, and coming up with solutions.
I also really enjoy offering hands-on support. I’ve mentored NOW’s marketing manager, run workshops to assist the management team in developing a B2B marketing strategy and taken part in employability sessions for NOW’s customers, 54 per cent of whom have gone on to secure paid work or placements.
I have enjoyed working with colleagues like Euan Isles, Anne Quirk, Catherine Doran and Andrew Johnston. It’s been a real team effort.
I would encourage anyone to think about what you might get from volunteering – it might be skills development, the chance to do something different or the knowledge that you’ve helped to improve people's lives. It really is time well spent.”