HEINEKEN Ireland - Growing With Our Communities

Bringing communities together to create urban growing spaces that have a positive impact.

HEINEKEN Ireland’s “Growing with our Communities” initiative aims to bring communities together to create urban growing spaces that have a positive impact – socially, environmentally and economically. The initiative is “rooted” internally with HEINEKEN Ireland employees and in collaboration with GIY, through a bespoke GIY@Work programme called #StarGrowers.  

Having recruited their #StarGrowers as part of National Workplace Wellbeing Day HEINEKEN Ireland intend to “Grow it Forward”, its take on Pay it Forward. Ten Community Groups around the country will be given access to their own GIY@Work programme and some “seed” funding.

On Friday 28th of July, over 50 HEINEKEN Ireland volunteers helped out across three of these “Star Gardens” communities with additional projects to be announced over the coming months. Each one will receive garden design, planting and growing expertise, a financial contribution towards materials and people power through HEINEKEN Ireland employee volunteering. This video showcases the great work done on the day across 3 projects in Cork:

28th July - Grow it Forward Cork


3 projects: 50 volunteers: 5 community groups

  1. Star Garden - Blackpool Community Centre – refresh and revitalise the Blackpool Plaza (communal space) through colour and edibles. Repainting walls, 6 benches, 18 planter boxes. Supported by Reimagine Cork (Volunteer organisation focused on rejuvenating Cork's laneways, urban green spaces and derelict buildings) and Cork City Council.
  2. Grow it Forward – Leitrim Street Planters – Work with Mad About Cork (Volunteers in Cork City. Making positive changes in urban spaces through street art, guerrilla gardening) to build, paint and plant planter boxes to grow edibles and at the same time brighten up a key area at the entrance to Cork city
  3. Grow it Forward – Cork Simon Tír na nÓg High Support House Garden (15 volunteers) – working with local volunteers and residents to rejuvenate their therapeutic garden – reclaiming their raised beds, cleaning and reinstating their poly tunnel and creating a herb garden.

Photos from the Day at Tír na nÓg

Preparing the herb bed - before, during & after
Preparing the raised planters - before, during & after
Cleaning the tunnel to remove algae and dirt - before, during & after
Preparing a raised bed - before, during & after


Announcing the initiative, Sandy Boundy, Communications & CSR Manager of HEINEKEN Ireland, said: “This builds on HEINEKEN’s strong sustainability credentials outlined in our “Brewing a Better World” sustainability strategy. To make great products, you need great ingredients and that’s why our environment is so important. Our long-term strategy is designed to create shared value for our business, our customers and our stakeholders and a key focus of this strategy is growing with our communities.

Volunteering in HEINEKEN Ireland is part of who we are and our GIY@Work partnership provides a great platform for our employees to get involved. We are very excited about the collaboration and are looking forward to “Grow it Forward” into our local community”.

Karen O’ Donohoe, Head of Community Development, GIY added “Our GIY@Work programme brings food growing into the workplace in a fun but meaningful way. It is a key element of employee wellbeing and CSR activities.  We are very excited to be part of this project to inspire and support HEINEKEN Ireland staff to grow some of their own food and connect with local community food growing groups. HEINEKEN Ireland’s “Growing with Our Communities” is a fantastic example of the positive impact food growing has on people whether it’s through ‘al desko’ growing or urban greening.”

5th October Grow It Forward Inchicore, Dublin

St. Michael's Community Centre in Inchicore is a hub for the local community. From Irish dancing to slimming clubs to cookery classes for retired people it offers so much to the local people. One thing it never had was a usable outdoor space. A long, shadowy, overgrown stretch down the side of the building had some potential, but there was nobody to there to unleash it. Nobody, that is, until HEINEKEN Ireland and GIY stepped in with a van full of plant power from GIY and a minibus of people power from HEINEKEN Ireland. 

Before Picture Inchicore

After Pic HEINEKEN Ireland Inchicore










12th October Grow It Forward Newstreet Gardens Waterford

A committee of volunteers created Newstreet Garden in the heart of Waterford City in 2014 from a patch of neglected waste land. For a year it was a little oasis in the city, lying in the shadow of a multi story car-park around the corner from a busy shopping street. Unfortunately the dedication of the volunteers was no match for the huge task of protecting and maintaining the garden. After several incidences of vandalism and anti-social behaviour the garden became a no-go area in the city. It only took one day with a team of HEINEKEN Ireland salespeople and the full force of the GIY team to restore Newstreet Garden to its former beauty. We also have to recognise the wonderful volunteers from Pathfinders who got stuck in to help us all out.  









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