Social enterprise creates 21 new jobs as it wins hospitality contracts for two leading Belfast leisure centres

The Orchardville roles will be located at Andersonstown and Lisnasharragh leisure centres

By Claire Cartmill
Tuesday, 28th September 2021, 5:00 pm

The Orchardville roles will be located at Andersonstown and Lisnasharragh leisure centres

Northern Ireland registered charity and social enterprise, Orchardville, is seeking 21 full time and part time hospitality workers for its new cafés at two Belfast leisure centres.

The cafés within Better’s Andersonstown and Lisnasharragh leisure centres will provide training opportunities for people with learning disability and autism to learn skills that will enhance their employment prospects.

Julie Bolton, general manager, Andersonstown Leisure Centre, Colin Thompson, catering manager, Orchardville, Oscar Gallagher, Orchardville participant and Adrian Walker, partnership manager, GLL

Orchardville won the contacts in September 2021 following a tender exercise conducted by GLL, who operate 14 leisure centres under the ‘Better’ brand.

The partnership follows on from the contract it won for GLL’s north Belfast wellbeing centre, The Grove, in 2019 when it employed 11 people. It also represents a huge endorsement for the organisation which already operates Orchard Café in East Belfast.

Speaking about the contract wins and new roles, Joan McGinn, chief executive at Orchardville, said: “Orchardville is delighted to be once again working in close partnership with GLL to operate the cafés at Andersonstown and Lisnasharragh leisure centre.

“We believe that with the right support, any individual with a learning disability or autism can reach their full potential and achieve their employment aspirations. The cafés will provide meaningful work experience opportunities to people with learning disability and/or autism who wish to pursue employment in the catering, hospitality and tourism sector.

“We are currently recruiting for up to 21 new roles including catering assistants, catering supervisors and cooks.”

GLL runs Belfast City Council’s leisure centre portfolio, which comprises 14 separate venues. As part of the £105 million Leisure Transformation Programme, many of the sites have undergone significant overhauls and have recently re- opened to the public during the pandemic.

Discussing the plans for the Orchardville cafés Adrian Walker, Partnership Manager, GLL, the not-for-profit charitable social enterprise, continued: “We have been very pleased with the success that Orchardville has made of running the café at The Grove Wellbeing Centre and are delighted they have once again been successful in our tendering process for the two new sites. Including another vibrant social enterprise in our supply chain is at the very heart of what we stand for. As an inclusive organisation, we are looking forward to supporting more local people with meaningful employment in our centres.”

Orchardville’s new Orchard Café at Andersonstown will be located within the newly revamped £25m venue, which opened in 2020 flaunting the largest indoor leisure water area in NI including three water slides, a surf simulator and a children’s aqua play area alongside two swimming pools, a gym, three studios and outdoor pitches. It currently has almost 1800 members with a capacity to welcome 500,000 visits annually.

Meanwhile, Orchard Café at Lisnasharragh, a £20m facility in East Belfast which launched in 2019, will service an annual footfall of 500,000.

Orchardville will begin its recruitment process for the Andersonstown Centre complex first, with workers due to go onsite from November 2021. Meanwhile those selected to work at its Lisnasharragh site will take up their positions in January 2022.

The organisation has already carried out a recruitment day for the Andersonstown Leisure Centre positions but will run another dedicated recruitment in October for positions at its Orchard Café at Lisnasharragh.

From its offices in East Belfast, Bangor, Lisburn and Derry, Orchardville also facilitates occupational and vocational skills, wellbeing support, skills for life and work, OCN (Open College Network) accredited training, school transitions services, work placements and paid employment.

Orchardville has been recognised for its efforts in creating employment opportunities for marginalised communities, winning a national award in December 2019 when it took away the Education, Training and Jobs category gong at the Social Enterprise UK Awards, held at the Guildhall in Central London.

It operates using a culture that employment is one of the most tangible ways in which we can meaningfully include people with learning disability and/or autism in our society.

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