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Exploring for the future

Published: Thur, 29 Oct 2015
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The group at Armagh Men’s Shed
Members of the Fermanagh Housing Community Network (FHCN) recently paid a visit to Armagh to learn from the local community about the work with young people and with men.
The Fermanagh group first paid a visit to React, which works in three specialised areas - community development, youth development and community relations. The group was particularly interested in React’s youth work where they have had notable success in the hope it would help steer their future work in Fermanagh.
The second port of call was the nearby Armagh Men’s Shed. This community based initiative focuses on providing a safe, friendly and inclusive social environment for men. It is part of a growing movement for men and the group from Fermanagh were keen to learn more about its development and contribution to the local community.
After consultation with the Housing Executive, the Fermanagh group agreed to examine the opportunities building stronger partnerships and developing social enterprise could provide. As a result the Housing Executive’s Community Cohesion Team was able to financially support their initiative.
Brendan Farry, Chairperson of Hillview and Kilmacormick 2 Community Group, which is part of the FHCN, explained:
“We are keen to develop individual and collective capacity. Having this opportunity to hear from React about their work with young people and Armagh’s Men’s Shed about their experiences in their community has been invigorating.  We are looking forward to developing our own ideas in these two areas further.”
Oonagh McAvinney, the Housing Executive’s South West Area Manager, who accompanied the group explained:
“Supporting groups to develop their community initiatives and social enterprises is part of the Housing Executive’s work.  
“This visit to Armagh provided a good opportunity for the groups from Fermanagh to learn from React’s experience and hear about the terrific benefits to be gained for the local community with a Men’s Shed.  
“I wish the groups well as they move forward with their initiatives and look forward to them coming to fruition.”
The Housing Executive recently launched its Social Housing Enterprise Strategy 2015-2018. This sets out the organisation’s vision for investing in the creation of vibrant communities by financing and providing resource support to develop the local social economy and create community-owned social enterprises.
Some £400,000 has been invested by the Housing Executive in the first tranche and applications close 12 November 2015.  Contact socialinvestments@nihe.gov.uk for more information.