Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster on Thursday 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.
The initiative is being supported by Invest Northern Ireland through its Social Entrepreneurship Programme.
“I have been very impressed by what I have seen today at East Belfast Mission,” Mrs Foster said.
“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.”
The 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 it has won five awards for its social enterprise projects and has established a growing reputation across the UK.
Director of business development at the project Anne Walsh said:“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 she was in the area, the minister also took the opportunity to visit a number of other businesses and organisations with local MLA Sammy Douglas.
They included Flowlens, the East Belfast Partnership, Media Design and Print and the Hanwood Centre.