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A programme delivered across Newry, Mourne and Down District Council by Newry & Mourne Enterprise Agency and Down Business Centre has won ‘Best Enterprise Initiative’ by a Council at the Northern Ireland Local Government Association awards.

The winning Newry, Mourne and Down Social Enterprise Programme (SENMD) is an innovative programme of support helping individuals and groups explore new social enterprise ideas to help them find sustainable socially innovative solutions to social problems.

Pictured at the awards are from left: Amanda Smyth, Elaine McAlinden, Stephen McClelland, Conor Mallon, Carol Magee, Martin Patterson, Cllr Charlie Casey, Chairperson, Newry, Mourne and Down District Council and Sarah Travers.
Pictured at the awards are from left: Amanda Smyth, Elaine McAlinden, Stephen McClelland, Conor Mallon, Carol Magee, Martin Patterson, Cllr Charlie Casey, Chairperson, Newry, Mourne and Down District Council and Sarah Travers.

Social Enterprise Newry Mourne and Down programme manager Stephen McClelland praised the social enterprise sector in the area for their contribution in winning this Best Enterprise Initiative award saying, "the contribution of the social economy to the wider economy of Newry, Mourne & Down cannot be underestimated. It is as relevant and as important as the private businesses in our high streets. Social economy and community run businesses are the glue that bind our places together; they build the social capital that provides us with our sense of place and who we are and they also contribute to the wealth of our community through the assets they own and the businesses they manage."

The Awards are co-ordinated by NILGA and the Association of Public Service Excellence (APSE). This year they attracted 58 entries and showcased brilliance in service provision, new initiatives and the personal commitment from councils, councillors, staff and partners.  The categories are designed to foster innovation, exceptional commitment and great work, providing opportunities for local government’s staff and members to step forward and learn from great example.  

Winner: Best Enterprise Initiative by a Council, Social Enterprise Newry, Mourne and Down Programme - Newry Mourne and Down District Council. Pictured from left: Michael McQuillan, Sarah Travers, Cllr William Walker, Cllr Kathryn Owen, Cllr Terry Andrews (vice chairman), Martin Patterson, Cllr Charlie Casey (chairman), Elaine McAlinden, Cllr Dermot Curran, Amanda Smyth, Carol Magee, Conor Mallon, Cllr Robert Burgess, Stephen McClelland, Cllr Karen McKevitt.
Winner: Best Enterprise Initiative by a Council, Social Enterprise Newry, Mourne and Down Programme - Newry Mourne and Down District Council. Pictured from left: Michael McQuillan, Sarah Travers, Cllr William Walker, Cllr Kathryn Owen, Cllr Terry Andrews (vice chairman), Martin Patterson, Cllr Charlie Casey (chairman), Elaine McAlinden, Cllr Dermot Curran, Amanda Smyth, Carol Magee, Conor Mallon, Cllr Robert Burgess, Stephen McClelland and Cllr Karen McKevitt.

In welcoming this award Council Chairman Charlie Casey said, "this award is an important recognition of the foresight and innovative approach of Newry Mourne and Down District Council. The Council’s approach has been to develop strong strategic partnerships such as Newry & Mourne Mourne Enterprise Agency and Down Business Centre which has created an enterprise culture in the district. This unique partnership approach continues to deliver jobs and prosperity for the citizens of Newry Mourne and Down District Council."

Newry & Mourne Enterprise Agency Chairman Peter McEvoy hailed the award as "recognition of the transformational impact of social enterprise in the district. They create training opportunities where the market is unable to, they create employment pathways for those furthest from the labour market and support individuals and families in their local communities. They are our local employers, paying wages that flow into our wider economy, training people to move into jobs in the mainstream economy and critically investing in new economic development initiatives, new business start-ups, planting the seeds of tomorrow’s employers today."

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