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Put our Social Housing Enterprise Programme...

Published: Wed, 30 Jan 2019
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Refuge hot chocolate
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...at the centre of the story.
Last Chance to Vote for our Social Housing Enterprise Programme!
The Housing Executive’s Social Housing Enterprise programme has been shortlisted in the Best Housing Story category for the Chartered Institute of Housing’s 2019 awards if you vote today, you could help it to win!
Since its launch in September 2015, the innovative scheme has won awards and we have invested almost £1.5 million directly into our communities via the programme, as it goes from strength to strength. The initiative is aimed at developing economically vibrant and self-sustaining communities through the creation and development of social enterprises.
One of the enterprises supported by the programme is Refuge, a social enterprise established by Tara Mullan to support survivors of human trafficking. Refuge produces a thick, ethically sourced and eco-friendly liquid chocolate that can be eaten hot or cold.
Since February 2017, Refuge has used proceeds from sales of its product to raise awareness of the extent of human trafficking and to donate to anti-slavery charity, Flourish NI. Another of the enterprise’s objectives is to increase employability for survivors of human trafficking, along with others seeking opportunities to increase their skills and confidence. International grocery chain, Lidl, have picked up on the product and as of September 2018, Refuge is being stocked in around 200 Lidl stores throughout Ireland. A real success story!
Funding from the programme has also allowed North Belfast’s Artillery Youth Group, a well-established youth facility in the heart of the New lodge, to establish Bosco’s Bakery. The cafe provides young, marginalised adults with training and transferable skills that enable them to secure local employment.
The Bakery’s Harry Murphy said:
‘The Executive were brave… because of their willingness to support us both financially and developmentally we have been able to create a Social Housing Enterprise run, managed and used by local people…In the year we have been operational we have created jobs for five local people who for a variety of barriers had not been able to secure permanent employment previously.”
The scheme was previously recognised in October 2018, when we were awarded the accolade of Stakeholder of the Year at the Annual Social Enterprise NI Awards and you can recognise it once again by casting your vote before Friday 1st February 2019 at:
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*The figures above represent an early indication of returns. A review of the programme is in progress.