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  • Writer's pictureGerry Monaghan

NOW Group named Social Enterprise of the Year

NOW Group has won the title of Social Enterprise of the Year at the Belfast Business Awards hosted by Belfast Chamber of Trade and Commerce.

The Belfast Business Awards celebrate the very best of business and commerce in the city annually and 2017 is the first year they have introduced the ‘Social Enterprise of the Year’ category. The award was created to recognise a Belfast based social enterprise that is fervent about achieving social or environmental change above maximising profits. The judging panel were looking for an organisation who can demonstrate how they make a positive impact on society and how they collaborate with the community.

The social enterprises shortlisted for the award were Clanmil Housing Group, Newington Credit Union, NOW Group and Usel, with NOW Group being announced as the winner at the gala award dinner in Titanic Belfast.

The key objective of the NOW Group is to see more people with learning difficulties and barriers to employment get jobs with a future. They achieve this goal by offering a range of services to clients including a dedicated employment team, training, a transition service for young people moving from school or college into work and a volunteering programme. NOW has also recently introduced a family service programme which offers support to new and expectant parents with learning difficulties as well as an independence building programme.

NOW Group is the parent organisation of two social enterprise businesses – Loaf Catering and Gauge NI, a research and evaluation business – the profits of both go back into the work of NOW.

Pauline Fitzsimons, Head of Services at NOW, comments “We are thrilled to be named Social Enterprise of the Year at the Belfast Business Awards! The social enterprise sector in Northern Ireland has a lot to offer and we were honoured to be shortlisted among such good company as Clanmill Housing Group, Newtington Credit Union and Usel all of which do fantastic work.

At NOW we are committed to improving the lives of people with learning difficulties and autism. In the last financial year we supported over 500 people - we helped 40 people into paid jobs, supported over 250 people attain qualifications and helped 60 clients avail of work experience. We are delighted that our team’s hard work has been rewarded with this prestigious award.”

NOW Group is a social enterprise supporting people with learning difficulties and autism into jobs with a future across Northern Ireland.

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