• Work-WestWork-West

Place Category: Communities

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  • Work West is a Local Enterprise Agency (social enterprise) located in the Glencolin ward of West Belfast and provides support for private and social businesses. A key focus at present and in the future for Work West is on social enterprise development.

    Work West currently manage an existing property base of 50,000 sq ft and have recently completed the development of a 15,000 sq ft Social Economy Village, to house and incubate social enterprises providing workspace, office space and training and conference facilities.

    To further it’s support of social enterprise activity, in June 2008 Work West launched the BIG Black Book social enterprise trade directory. This online directory is the first of its kind in Northern Ireland. The directory aims to promote opportunities for social enterprises to do more business by selling to each other, selling to the public and private sectors, and selling to the general public.

  • Address: Work West Enterprise Centre Glen Rd
    Belfast
    Belfast
    BT11 8BU
    United Kingdom
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  • Social Impact Declaration: Social-Impact-Declaration_Work-West.pdf
  • Social Impact Statements:

    Social Impact Statements

    The Social Enterprise Mark criteria includes a requirement that the applicant can demonstrate that social and/or environmental objectives are being achieved.

    In support of this, new applicants and renewing Mark holders must submit Social Impact Statements that summarise their headline activities and achievements, helping show how they are striving to make a difference and stand up to scrutiny of purpose as a social enterprise.

     

    Updated September 2016


    1) Social entrepreneurship programmes

    Over the past year Work West has been involved in the design, delivery and management of a range of social entrepreneurship programmes in partnership with local Councils and Invest Northern Ireland/Department for Communities.

    The programmes are as follows:

    • Ards and North Down Social Entrepreneurship Programme
      • Targeted at new and existing social enterprises
      • Programme of support including design thinking, 1-1 mentoring / business plan development and workshops on topics such as Governance, Measuring Social Impact and Finance
    • Belfast City Council - Go Social Programme
      • Targeted at new and emerging social enterprises and co-operatives
      • Programme of support includes 1-1 mentoring, workshops, networking events and mentoring from 'Social Entrepreneurs in Residence'
    • Social Enterprise Hub - South Eastern Region
      • Work West manages the 'hub' which includes premises in Downpatrick and satellite hubs in Newry, Bangor and Lisburn. The 'Hub' is targeted at new social enterprises and offers the following services: 1-1 and group mentoring, workshops, hot desking and the opportunity to test trade on hub premises
      • To date the hub has engaged with more than 150 groups / individuals
      • Social Enterprises that are receiving support from the hub engage with a wide range of beneficiaries including those suffering from drug / alcohol addiction, those with learning difficulties and those wishing to improve their employability skills through education and training
      • Other social enterprises that have engaged with the hub are focused on suicide prevention and homelessness

     


     

    2) Measures of support provided

    • Ards and North Down Social Entrepreneurship Programme:
      • Target participants: 13/15 target participants (Preparatory Stage) and 9/10 at Core Stage (Commenced Jan 2016)
    • Belfast City Council:
      • Target 30 participants, 9 approved to date (commenced Aug 2016)
    • South Eastern Social Enterprise Hub (Lisburn, Downpatrick and North Down area):
      • To date: 165 Social Catalysts (Initial Engagements), 4 Test Traders, 10 Hot Deskers, 400+ Social Accelerator Sessions (0.5 day 1-1 mentoring sessions, >10,000 visits to the hub on an annual basis

    Work West is located in an area of high social and economic deprivation and for the past 26 years, it has provided support to local community groups and individuals seeking to improve the aspirations of local people.

    Work West has recently secured funding to develop a Community Hub - the thINc Lab (Test House for Innovation and Creativity) in West Belfast which will provide work/meeting space for local community groups to explore social enterprise ideas with a view to incubating from this space and establishing a business which will be led by local people for local people.

     


    3) Benefits to people and communities

    People/communities have benefited in the following ways from the services provided by Work West and its Project Partners:

    • Increased awareness of Social Enterprise / Co-operatives
    • Support to assess the feasibility of their proposed enterprise
    • Advice and guidance in relation to the most appropriate legal structure to adopt
    • One to one mentoring in the following areas: governance, finance, social media, business planning, fundraising, idea generation and product / service development
    • Improved employability skills / Health and Wellbeing for beneficiaries of Social Enterprise clients

     


    Supporting evidence