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Prime Minister recognises Northern Ireland top social enterprise


Georgina Grieve, General Manager and Enda Daly, Business and Enterprise Team Leader, The Workspace Group

The Workspace Group, one of Northern Ireland’s leading social enterprises, has been recognised by the Prime Minister with a Big Society Award, the first social enterprise in Northern Ireland to win one of these awards since their introduction in 2010.  The Big Society Awards recognise outstanding organisations whose innovative and dedicated work improves lives and strengthens communities.

The Workspace Group was established by the local community for the local community with one of its main aims to stimulate social and economic regeneration in the deprived mid Ulster area. Being “Passionate about Business, Delivering to our Community” reflects the fact that 100% of profits from commercial activities including manufacturing industrial waste heat recovery systems, retrofitting commercial energy efficient lighting and installing home insulation are invested into social projects.

Their most recent success story is the transformation of a derelict property to provide a new state of the art facility for the local library, a home for 200 young people part of Ballinascreen Youth Club, a community meeting space and a horticultural training facility.

Since 2009 The Workspace Group has distributed a remarkable £48,000 to voluntary and community groups in the area whose activities have brought huge benefits to the area.  The Group is also responsible for providing a range of community projects including a very successful Recreation Centre in Draperstown.

The Group now employs 165 permanent staff in 10 locations in Northern Ireland as well as having offices in the Republic of Ireland, England and Wales.

Prime Minister David Cameron said:

“The Workspace Group is a great social enterprise idea that came from the people of Magherafelt and has benefited hundreds in the local community.

“Since being set up in 1985, the group has invested over £1.5million in local projects.

“I’m delighted to recognise The Workspace Group with this Big Society Award.”

Brian Murray, Chief Executive of the Workspace Group said: “This award is recognition of the great work done by colleagues in the communities across Northern Ireland where we work. Workspace’s approach places special emphasis on contributing to and playing our part in the local economy and society and we’re delighted to receive this honour from the Prime Minister.

“Strong links between our organisation and the people who we work with are central to our success and something we will strengthen and build upon in the future.”

“We are delighted that our social enterprise model has been recognised with a Big Society Award.  Our success is driven by our focus on the community, which is represented by the members of our voluntary board, who encourage and inspire our overall team to continually increase and develop the organisation. The connection between the work of all aspects of the Workspace Group and the wider community is a strength that we will continue to build on. ”