NI Social Enterprise Wins National Award

A Northern Ireland social enterprise has won a top national award for its work with marginalised communities.

Orchardville, a registered local charity committed to changing the lives of people with a learning disability and/or autism has won the Education, Training and Jobs category award at the recent Social Enterprise UK Awards, held at the Guildhall in Central London.

The national awards, organised by Social Enterprise UK (SEUK), recognise excellence and outstanding achievements by social enterprises and businesses set up for a social or environmental purpose.

The award given to Orchardville acknowledges its work in supporting over 500 people in Northern Ireland with learning disabilities and autism who have struggled to gain access into the working world.

It supports these groups from its four offices in East Belfast, Bangor, Lisburn and L'Derry by offering opportunities to learn skills that will enhance their employment prospects as well as facilitating services that improve wellbeing and skills for life whilst connecting with over 100 NI employers.

Orchardville also operates three of its own cafe businesses in East Belfast and North Belfast, which offer direct experience to people with a learning disability and/or autism and hard to reach young people to help move them into sustained, paid employment.
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Speaking about the award win, Joan McGinn, CEO of Orchardville said: "We are thrilled to have won the UK Social Enterprise Award for Education, Training and Jobs. Employment is one of the most tangible ways in which we can meaningfully include people with learning disability and/or autism in our society.

"Our mission is to provide high quality opportunities which equip people who have a learning disability or autism with the skills to improve their confidence, independence and employability. This award is a tribute to the work we've been doing over the years, since our beginning in 1982, and we are delighted to be recognised for the difference our team makes in supporting people who may otherwise struggle to access employment."

Peter Holbrook, Chief Executive of Social Enterprise UK said: "The winners of this year's UK Social Enterprise Awards show just how inspiring and vital the social enterprise movement is.

"They show just how business can take on the biggest challenges we face and be a real force for good in this world.

"The times we live in demand that we must change how we do business. Social enterprises are already taking on the triple threat of the climate emergency, rising social inequalities and an economy that is failing too many people. They are showing us what the future of business can, and must, look like."

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