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Minister opens Newry social enterprise store

Employment and Learning Minister Stephen Farry was in Newry on Thursday to officially open Heart and Home, part of the Clanrye Retail Social Enterprise. Heart and Home is a retail shop located at Drumalane Mill which sells gifts produced by a social enterprise as well as providing work experience to participants on the programme. Training is offered to 30 participants who have a physical disability and are unemployed. The project offers the opportunity to gain work experience and social skills to increase their chances of securing employment. Speaking at the opening the Minister said: “This enterprise provides an excellent example of how the European Social Fund (ESF) and local public sector funding can work hand in hand for the development of our community. My attendance today provides me with the opportunity to see at first hand the training that takes place and to recognise the achievement of the trainees who are with us today.” The programme is funded by the ESF, the Department for Employment and Learning and the Southern Health and Social Care Trust. Mr Farry added: “This funding provides a broad range of complimentary activities of direct and valuable support of the trainees enabling access to accredited courses. Most importantly of all initiatives such as this provide participants with new and wider choices in their lives and the prospect of full time employment.” Clanrye Retail Social Enterprise is part of the wider Clanrye Group based a Slieve Gullion Courtyard which trains and develops young people under the Department of Employment and Learning’s Training for Success Programme. Jerome Mullen, chairman of the Clanrye Group said: “The opening of the gift shop Heart and Home marks the first step in the projects plan to create a social enterprise that supports and trains individuals in retail related skills through offering real work experience as well as accredited qualifications. We are confident that this training will accelerate a participants readiness towards securing paid employment in the retail sector.” Mr Mullen said that the scheme is invaluable as it offers not only training and opportunities to gain social skills but a ‘sense of belonging’ for participants.


Newry Democrat

24th January 2012