A Coleraine social enterprise is celebrating after securing a £20,000 grant from the Housing Executive to help increase its sustainability.
Millburn Community Association secured the substantial funding to help upgrade its cafe and training facility on Maple Drive, including installing a new heating system and purchasing new kitchen equipment for the Calf Lane Kitchen Cafe.
Millburn Community Association Outreach Worker, Billy Ellis, said: “Over the last 10 years, there have been no facilities on our estate for residents to use.
“Now, we’ve developed the community café and a salon and we aim to employ six people, bringing real jobs to the area.
“We run sewing classes and painting and decorating courses, as well as educational courses in GCSE Maths and English and intergenerational groups use the space.”
Mr Ellis added: “The Housing Executive is one of the only organisations actively pushing social enterprises - a lot of organisations speak about the need for social enterprises but the Housing Executive is actually putting money into developing these sites.
“Their support has been fantastic - they are helping us build a brighter future in this area.”
The announcement comes as dozens of local projects across Northern Ireland are also celebrating after receiving grants totaling £500,000 for a range of social enterprise initiatives from the Housing Executive.
Community cafés, mental health support services, furniture upcycling initiatives and shared space projects are among a number benefitting from the Social Housing Investment Scheme.
Aimed at building services and creating new jobs in local housing communities, the individual awards range from £1000 to £50,000.
The scheme forms an integral part of the Housing Executive’s new Social Housing Enterprise Strategy.
Housing Executive Social Enterprise Liaison Manager Paul Carland said; “Supporting projects like this improves the quality of life for our tenants and breathes life into opportunities for local employment.
“We wish everyone involved the very best of luck in building sustainability, while impacting positively on our local community.”
For more information on the Housing Executive’s Social Housing Investment Scheme, go online and visit nihe.gov.uk.
Based at Maple Drive, Coleraine Millburn Community Association is an organisation that works for the benefit of the Millburn Estate and surrounding area with an aim to develop the Millburn Area into a thriving Community.
To get involved with the Millburn Community Association, visit them on Facebook or contact: 028 7035 5510.