Press release

Prime Minister recognises Northern Ireland top social enterprise

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

The Workspace Group, one of Northern Ireland’s leading social enterprises, wins the Prime Minister’s Big Society award.

The Workspace Group, established by people living in Magherafelt in 1985, runs a number of businesses in order to reinvest 100% of the profits into projects to regenerate the local area. Since setting up the social enterprise has invested over £1.5 million.

Projects that have benefited from this innovative support include the Backrow Recreation Centre which provides exercise and activity classes to over 400 young people from the surrounding area.

In 2013 The Workspace Group led the transformation of a derelict building into a state of the art community centre. The group donated the building and sourced £100,000 of funding to upgrade the facilities. Two hundred young people now attend Ballinascreen Youth Club which is housed in the centre which also provides space for innovative community projects including a polytunnel used to train local unemployed people in horticultural skills.

The Workspace Group’s commercial businesses include manufacturing industrial waste heat recovery systems, retrofitting commercial energy efficient lighting and installing home insulation.

Prime Minister David Cameron said:

The Workspace Group is a great social enterprise idea that came from the people of Magherafelt and has benefited hundreds in the local community.

Since being set up in 1985, the group has invested over £1.5 million in local projects.

I’m delighted to recognise The Workspace Group with this Big Society Award.

Brian Murray, Chief Executive, The Workspace Group said:

We are delighted that our social enterprise model has been recognised with a Big Society Award. Our success is driven by our voluntary board representing our community who encourage and inspire our overall team to continually increase and develop the organisation.

Find out more about the Big Society Awards.

About The Workspace Group

The Workspace Group’s commercial energy efficiency activities include manufacturing industrial waste heat recovery systems, retrofitting commercial energy efficient lighting and installing home insulation.

Since 2009, the group has distributed £48,000 to voluntary and community groups to support 120 local projects which have brought huge benefits to the local community. Projects supported have included the delivery of music and creative arts courses, first aid training, play equipment for local childcare facilities and community information days.