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Belfast’s social enterprises and co-operatives in the spotlight

31 May 2019
Belfast’s Social Enterprise and Cooperative sector was in the spotlight today as Belfast City Council and WorkWest hosted ‘Social in the City’ at the Catalyst Fintech Hub on Donegall Square.

The celebratory event brought the three year Go Social programme to a close, with delegates hearing from two past participants - successful local social enterprises Angel Eyes NI and USEL – and Alan Mahon, founder of craft beer company Brewgooder, whose mission it is to provide clean water for 1 million people by donating 100% of its profits to clean water charities.

Addressing the event, Deputy Chairperson of Belfast City Council’s City Growth and Regeneration Committee Councillor Carole Howard said: “I’d like to congratulate our delivery agents Workwest and all 90 participants who have completed our Go Social programme over the last three years. 

“To date, 44 social enterprises and cooperatives have been created, generating 82 new jobs and securing over half a million pounds in funding. I’m delighted that two of our participants Angel Eyes and Usel are joining us to share their journey and successes following completion of the Go Social programme. Our community plan, the Belfast Agenda puts growing the economy at the heart of everything we do – and it’s only with the commitment, talent and energy of our people, so amply demonstrated here today, that we’ll succeed.”

Belfast based social enterprise Usel has grown over the last five years to incorporate five social enterprises, including a recycling centre employing 50 people. Usel now supports 1,200 people with disabilities each year, and has become a leading driver of NI’s circular economy, creating £15 of social value for every £1 invested. Innovative local charity Angel Eyes supports parents of visually impaired children. They’ve created a new VR app ‘Sight Loss Virtual Reality Application’ for mobile devices to help parents and professionals better understand the challenges partial sight brings. 

For more information on how Belfast City Council is supporting businesses, social enterprises and co-operatives, go to www.belfastcity.gov.uk/cityforbusiness

Social in the City Go Social participants