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  • Writer's pictureGerry Monaghan


Working in partnership with, and using funding from, the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs through its Coastal Communities Fund, social enterprise the NOW Group is delighted to announce an expansion of its work in County Down. NOW Group works with people with learning difficulties and autism to support them in to jobs with a future. Its Loaf Pottery and Pizzeria opened in the rural village of Crawfordsburn, North Down in May 2018. The pottery will now be used to offer volunteering and employment opportunities for isolated residents alongside NOW Group participants.

The new project will create five additional part time jobs in the pottery and offer a monthly calendar of classes for local people. Local volunteers will be recruited with 25 trainees gaining qualifications and, ultimately, the project will contribute to the long-term sustainability of the pottery and pizzeria. The pottery has a thriving garden which offers a great learning opportunity as well as providing fresh produce for the food served in the pottery and NOW Group’s other cafés.

Maeve Monaghan, CEO of NOW Group, said “This project will address issues such as rural isolation, ageism and the discrimination faced by people with learning difficulties and autism. We have a long and successful track record of working with people disadvantaged in the labour market and look forward to increasing our impact in the area. The funding from DAERA will support the growth of the pottery in to a true community engagement hub. We’ve been very grateful for the ongoing support from local residents and look forward to widening our offer to them – and, of course, to people from further afield.”

The Coastal Communities fund is funded by the Government with income from the Crown Estate’s Marine assets. It is delivered by Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs

Josh, our resident Potter, teaches a class

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