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Energy savers fuel 55% sales jump at Workspace

One of Northern Ireland’s biggest social enterprises, the Workspace Group, today reported a 55% jump in turnover and a rise in staff numbers to 117 for the year to end-March 2010 – a year it describes as one of its best ever.

Draperstown-based Workspace said the better-than-expected results were largely due to a strong performance at its commercial insulation and energy-saving businesses Homeseal and Environment 2000.

The group, originally set up to stimulate social and economic regeneration in the Magherafelt area but now with three offices in mid-Ulster as well as offices in Donegal and Wales, said yearly turnover rose to £7.6 million in 2009/10 from £4.9 million in 2008/09.

Over the last 10 years, Workspace said it had delivered a 600% increase in turnover, with staff numbers rising from 37 to 117 as the number of activities it embraced steadily grew. Profits generated from all ventures are used to partly or wholly fund non-commercial social projects.

A provider of enterprise units, business support services and employability initiatives, Workspace owns fast-growing home insulation provider Homeseal, which was successful in retendering with its partners for the government-funded Warm Homes Scheme last year.

Turnover at Homeseal climbed to more than £3 million in 2009/10 after it supplied loft and cavity insulation to more than 4,000 properties, 30% more than the year before.

Environment 2000, another Workspace company which provides energy-saving solutions such as energy efficient lighting, radiator panels and thermostats, reported a turnover of more than £1 million.

Workspace also owns Network Personnel, which in spite of the tougher economic climate, continued to expand its services across Northern Ireland as it stepped up the pace in the delivery of its government contracts.

Network Personnel was established 1989 to address local skills and employment needs. A wholly-owned subsidiary of Workspace, it has successfully delivered a broad spectrum of employability schemes funded by DEL, including its ‘Steps to Work’ programme.

Established in 1985 to provide enterprise units and business support services, Workspace is now regarded as one of Northern Ireland’s leading social enterprises.

 Workspace Group Chairman, Michael McAllister, said:

“Despite the tougher economic climate, Workspace has continued to deliver growth across all its activities, which means we can continue to contribute to more and more social and community projects such as the Youth Centre and the Recreation Centre in Draperstown as well as dozens of other local community organisations through our workspace Community Fund.

“Our Homeseal insulation business is now widely recognised as the largest insulation installer in Northern Ireland and we look forward to further growth in the year ahead.  Though 2010 was a challenging year for jobs generally, our Network Recruitment business has also performed well and we are confident in its ability to strengthen further.”

Chief Executive Brian Murray said the outlook for 2010/11 was promising.

“Last year was our best on record and though business conditions remain a concern, we are confident that we will report another strong year, with further growth across all our divisions. As always, we look forward to re-investing any of the profits we make into the local community.”