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NOW is the Time: the NOW Group Launches Growth Plan in Ireland

Updated: Jun 22, 2023


NOW Group outside Loaf cafe in Kilmainham, Dublin 8

One of Northern Ireland’s leading social enterprises - the NOW Group - has just announced an expansion of its services across Ireland, which will significantly increase its headcount and provision of services across the Island.

A five-year Strategic Growth Plan – outlining more Loaf Catering cafes, new jobs and employment academies for people with intellectual disabilities, Autism and neurodiverse conditions - was launched in Dublin this week at the Organisation’s first Loaf Café in Kilmainham, Dublin 8.

Operating across Northern Ireland for over 20 years, the organisation is headed up by NOW Group CEO, Maeve Monaghan. Aligned to this expansion of services, is the newly created role of Chief Operating Officer (COO), which is currently being recruited for. The new COO will join the Organisation at a pivotal time, as the NOW Group announces its plans for future growth in Ireland.

Announcing the NOW Group’s expansion in Ireland, CEO Maeve Monaghan adds: “Last year, we fulfilled a long-held ambition to launch our first Loaf Café in Dublin, following a two-year search for a suitable location. It was a hugely important step for us as an Organisation and cemented our commitment to delivering all our services for people with disabilities across Ireland.

“To spearhead the growth of the Organisation, we have identified the need for a COO, who will work alongside our Senior Management team and myself. It’s a huge milestone for us as an Organisation, and a phenomenal opportunity for someone who is committed to furthering our impact, delivering meaningful work and having a senior role with a true purpose.”

Launched at Loaf Café in Kilmainham, Dublin 8 earlier this week, the NOW Group Growth Plan, which runs until 2028, covers five major pillars which benefit people, employers, and communities.

  1. Having already announced its first Digital & Loaf Catering Academy in Dublin, the NOW Group is targeting the creation and delivery of 25 employment academies for those with intellectual disabilities, Autism and neurodiverse conditions within the next five years, delivering skills for over 1000 participants.

  2. With the launch of its first Loaf Café in the Old Chocolate Factory, Kilmainham, Dublin, the NOW Group is set on further cementing the Loaf Catering brand with the launch of their corporate catering business and plans to open another Loaf Café soon.

  3. The social enterprise is committed to assisting 300 participants into jobs with a future

  4. To facilitate, support and foster this growth, the NOW Group will establish a Dublin hub for the organisation, with potentially 20 new jobs created in the next five years, in addition to further job creation in Northern Ireland.

  5. Building on the success of the JAM Card*, surpassing 200,000 JAM card users in Ireland

John Gordon, Chair of the Now Group continues: “Our organisation has made a major impact to thousands of people, their families and workforces in Northern Ireland. The NOW Group has honed its services over 20 years, and there’s so much potential to make an impact in every county of Ireland.

“Our NOW Group Growth Plan sets out the Organisation’s ambition, mapping out our vision and how we will strive to work with purpose in creating more inclusive societies across Ireland to the benefit of all.”

The NOW Group has already launched its first Digital & Loaf Catering Academy in Dublin, following the success of this model in the North, and is currently recruiting for its first full-time Dublin-based role, an Employment Development Manager, who will support participants with learning disabilities and autism into jobs with a future.

Reflecting on the impact of the Organisation, NOW Group Board Member and Head of Communications at BT Ireland, Priscilla O‘Regan adds: “Last year, the NOW Group delivered employment opportunities for 200 people in Northern Ireland and trained 1000 participants through its courses and academies. It’s this level of impact that is so impressive, delivering work with purpose which hugely benefits participants, their families and partner businesses.

“It has been a privilege to support the work of the Organisation over the past year, and as the NOW Group enters this new chapter, the benefits and opportunities are clear. By growing its footprint, the NOW Group will benefit thousands of people with intellectual disabilities into jobs with a future, creating more diverse workforces that are representative of society.”

Last month, May 2023, NOW Group was chosen as one of four non-profit organisations helping to tackle youth unemployment in Dublin’s most disadvantaged areas under Rethink Ireland’s €763,000 Urban Uplift Fund. As part of the Fund, up to 120 marginalised young adults will be empowered into jobs, apprenticeships or work experience programmes, with up to 75 young adults enabled to complete certified training and up to 80 to progress on to further education.

For a confidential chat about the post contact Gareth Hanna at 7 Twenty.

For further information on the NOW Group and its services, visit www.nowgroup.org or see www.loafcatering.com

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