National awards for Inishowen social enterprises

Thriving sector grows from strength to strength in 2019

National awards for Inishowen social enterprises

Co-founder and director of Spraoi agus Spórt, Helen Nolan, receiving the highly coveted ‘Social Enterprise of the Year’ 2019 award at the prestigious Charity Impact Awards in the Mansion House, Dublin

Inishowen Development Partnerhip (IDP) has congratulated Carndonagh-based Spraoi agus Spórt Family Centre, Greencastle Community Centre and Tullyarvan Mill Community, Cultural & Hostel Centre in Buncrana on winning prestigious national awards in recent weeks – and has said they are all excellent examples of the “drive, commitment and ambition” of social enterprises throughout the peninsula who have grown from strength to strength in 2019.

Social enterprises are community centres, groups and organisations who have a clear social purpose, generate a significant proportion of their income from trading, and reinvest the majority of their profits in their social mission.

For the second year in a row, Carndonagh-based Spraoi agus Spoìrt picked up the highly coveted ‘Social Enterprise of the Year’ award at the prestigious Charity Impact Awards in the Mansion House, Dublin on 10 December.

Greencastle Community Centre won the runners up award in the competitive ‘Islands & Coastal Communities’ category of the 2019 Pride of Place Awards in Kilkenny on November 30.

Manager Susan McAleer (front centre), staff and volunteers from Greencastle Community Centre who won the runners up award in the competitive ‘Islands & Coastal Communities’ category of the 2019 Pride of Place Awards in Kilkenny

Tullyarvan Mill Community, Cultural & Hostel Centre in Buncrana were also recognised nationally with the ‘Best Budget Hotel of the Year’ accolade at the glamourous ‘Hotel Awards Ireland 2019’ in the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Dublin on 21 October.

Shauna McClenaghan, joint chief executive of Inishowen Development Partnership, which supports a range of actions and activities with all three social enterprises, said these were all excellent examples of the drive, commitment and ambition of social enterprises across the peninsula who have been thriving in recent years and have grown from strength to strength in 2019 – helping enrich the lives of so many people in local communities.

"Congratulations also to iCARE and Artlink who were successful in their applications for the Department of Community & Rural Development small capital grants programme recently announced.

“Indeed, across Inishowen there has been a remarkable growth in the sector in recent years with community centres, groups and organisations becoming more entrepreneurial – as well as supporting the gaps identified in public service provision. Such is the increase in activity that we are delighted to announce that the work will now be supported by a new post in community development and social enterprise development within IDP.”

The team from Tullyarvan Mill Community, Cultural & Hostel Centre in Buncrana who were recognised nationally with the ‘Best Budget Hotel of the Year’ accolade at the glamourous ‘Hotel Awards Ireland 2019’ in the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Dublin

“Examples of a growing entrepreneurial spirit in recent weeks also include the opening of a new Craft Fabric Shop at Clonmany Community Centre and the new ‘Crafts & Creations’ shop at the iCARE centre in Buncrana offering a wide range of unique gifts made by young adults with autism.

“I’d also like to take this opportunity to say a huge ‘Thank You’ to all of the hard-working managers, board members, employees and volunteers who give so much of their time to ensure that their social enterprises run smoothly.

“We’re delighted at IDP to see the success of this key sector – and are really looking forward to 2020 when we’ll be continuing to support our social enterprises to scale up their activities and create positive social change, inclusive growth and sustainable development.”

IDP’s community development and education officer, Denise McCool, added: “As someone who works on a regular basis with our local social enterprises, I’ve been delighted to see them flourishing in recent years – despite the country having experienced an economic downturn. Indeed, this important sector is delivering a huge range of social and environmental benefits, which simply can’t be achieved by the public or private sectors on their own.

“We have also witnessed significant increases in footfall as a result of Inishowen social enterprises expanding their services and demonstrating their invaluable worth in our communities – providing vital opportunities and support for employment, inclusion, education and positive change.

“In recent months, we have also attended various craft fairs, food markets, Christmas bazaars and fundraising events organised by local social enterprises which are growing year on year!

“Undoubtedly, there will be many challenges ahead for our social enterprises – including accessing grants and funding, scaling successful ventures, delivering effective public services, or balancing the often-competing demands of commercial success and social impact.

“However, all of our social enterprises can be assured IDP will be there to offer our support as they meet these challenges head on. Indeed, in collaboration with DLDC, IDP has a new mentoring and training programme which will run from January to June next year funded through Dormant Accounts under the Dept of Community & Rural Development, which we hope will support our social enterprise sector continuing to grow in 2020 and beyond.

"This programme known as SESI (Social Enterprise Support Initiative), we believe will help the sector reach its full potential and support the skills development of volunteers, staff and board members. All these initiatives and supports provided through the social economy sector help transform the lives of people in Inishowen for the better.”

To find out more on upcoming opportunities contact Inishowen Development Partnership on (074) 9362218.

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