Enterprise, Trade and Investment Minister Arlene Foster today launched a new Skill project at East Belfast Mission, which aims to assist organisations in Northern Ireland and Great Britain to develop their social enterprise ideas.
The Skill project will offer master classes and workshops tailored to the needs of visiting groups, who want to find out how to set up and run a successful social enterprise. It is being supported by Invest Northern Ireland’s Social Entrepreneurship Programme.
Launching the Skill project Arlene Foster said: “I have been very impressed by what I have seen today at East Belfast Mission. It provides services to those in society who most need support and has had a very positive impact in this part of the city.
“Through the Skill project, this successful social enterprise will now have the capacity to help other groups benefit from the valuable knowledge and experience it has built up over many years. By sharing its experience with others, East Belfast Mission will play an important role in helping social enterprises in the wider community get up and running.”
East Belfast Mission is an award-winning social enterprise providing services to the elderly, people on low income, young children, the homeless and the unemployed. It currently employs 90 people and has 100 volunteer workers.
In the past 18 months East Belfast Mission has won five awards for its social enterprise projects and has a growing reputation across the UK.
Anne Walsh, Director of Business Development at East Belfast Mission, said: “The new Skill project is aptly named – the letters stand for sharing knowledge, innovation, leadership and learning.
“Our mission is to see community transformation and renewal in East Belfast and to offer hope and a future for all those in need, regardless of background or belief.”
While in East Belfast, the Minister also took the opportunity to visit a number of other businesses and organisations with local MLA, Sammy Douglas. These included Flowlens, East Belfast Partnership, Media Print and Design and the Hanwood Centre.
The Minister said: “I welcomed the opportunity to visit this wide range of diverse and successful businesses. These companies are an integral part of the East Belfast community and provide employment in their local area, which is good news for the Northern Ireland economy as a whole.”