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Senior Government Officials visit Workspace.

The Workspace Group one of Northern Ireland’s leading social enterprises was delighted to welcome a group of 21 senior civil servants on a recent Social Economy Awareness Visit. The group comprising of officials from various government departments including DARD, DETI, DSD and DHSSPS met with Workspace Chief Executive Brian Murray at the group’s head office in Draperstown.

Workspace was established in 1982 to stimulate social and economic regeneration in the Magherafelt area by providing enterprise units, business support services and employability initiatives.

Celebrating it’s 25 anniversary this year, the Group which still continues to support economic growth in the area now also provides a range of commercial ‘business’ activities’ including Home Insulation, Energy Efficient Lighting, Employability Programmes, Business Start up, Business Units and a Recruitment Agency.  The Group uses the surpluses from these commercial activities to partly or wholly fund non-commercial social activities such as the Backrow Recreation Centre, Draperstown After School Club and the Workspace Community Fund. Workspace has offices in Draperstown, Magherafelt, Cookstown, Castledawson, Letterkenny and Wrexham.

With an annual turnover of over £8m and employing over 100 staff the Workspace Group has established itself as one of Northern Ireland’s leading social enterprises, having recently received the Social Enterprise Mark from Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster.

Speaking at the visit on behalf of the Social Economy Network Thelma Thompson said, “Social Enterprises play an important and crucial role.  They contribute to local regeneration by investing in buildings, housing and social capital and provide much needed local services.  They play a significant role in tackling unemployment, creating jobs and improving the employability of those who are long-term unemployed.  It is great to see first hand the excellent work carried out by social enterprises such as the Workspace Group”.