Lloyds TSB Foundation for Northern Ireland has won a major award for its support for 34 social enterprises over the past three years.
The Foundation was named Supporter of the Year at the Northern Ireland Social Enterprise Awards at a special reception in Belfast Castle in recognition of its commitment to the sector, allocating a total of £102,000 to support local enterprises.
The Foundation will now go forward to represent Northern Ireland in the United Kingdom Social Enterprise Awards 2012, which will be held in London on 12th November.
Sandara Kelso-Robb, Executive Director of the Lloyds TSB Foundation for Northern Ireland said the Foundation would continue to support the social enterprise sector’s vital work in the community.
She added: “The Foundation’s mission is to support people, particularly those people who are disadvantaged or disabled, to play a fuller role within their own communities. The Foundation currently operates six grant-making programmes, all of which focus on social and community needs, education and training.
“The most significant support of late has been in conjunction with Invest NI and the Social Entrepreneurship Programme in association with Enterprise NI where a sum of £180,000 has been ring-fenced for this programme. The Foundation’s support has been very successful and to date 34 Social Enterprises have received a grant of £3,000 totalling £102,000.”
The annual Awards highlight and promote excellence in the social economy sector across Northern Ireland. The enterprises which make up the sector are businesses with primarily social objectives and their surpluses are put back into the business or into the community, rather than to maximise profit for shareholders and owners.
The Minister for Social Development, Nelson McCausland, who attended the awards in Belfast Castle, said:
“These awards highlight the importance of the social economy sector in Northern Ireland. They are also recognition of this sector’s significant contribution to the Programme for Government’s key priority to ‘Grow a Sustainable Economy and Invest in the Future.
“My Department will continue to support and invest in social enterprise growth, with a focus on community benefit rather than private profit. The social enterprise model can bring innovation and make a real difference to community regeneration and improved delivery of public services. I want to pass on my personal congratulations to all the award winners.”
Audrey Murray, Chair of the Social Enterprise Awards (NI) said:
“Selecting tonight’s winners was incredibly difficult; all of the entries were of a high standard. We are delighted and amazed at the breadth of organisations represented and the diversity of the work they are doing. Some of tonight’s winners will go on to represent Northern Ireland in the Social Enterprise Awards in London and we wish them every success.”
“The Awards were made possible through the pledge of support and sponsorship from the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment, Invest NI, the Department for Social Development, the Department for Rural Development, the Charity Bank, UCIT and PWC, and we would like to thank them for all their support.”