Conference Examines Social Enterprise

Omagh District Council has hosted its first ever conference examining the world of social enterprise.

Run through the council’s Social Enterprise Omagh Programme, the ‘Celebrating Social Enterprise’ event was well attended at An Creagán last Thursday (September 18).

In a nutshell, social enterprise broadly describes an organization or community led initiative that adopts a commercial strategy for the benefit
of the area.

Now in its 20th year, An Creagán represents one of Tyrone’s best examples of a successful social enterprise project.

Representatives from a wide cross-section of social enterprises and community organisations throughout the district heard from a range of speakers including Juliette Cornford from Social Enterprise NI, the voice for social enterprises and social entrepreneurs in Northern Ireland, and Mary MacRory, who spoke on behalf of UnLtd, the leading provider of support to social entrepreneurs and the largest network of its kind worldwide.

Attendees also heard from John Donaghy, manager of An Creagán; Anne Ramsey, from the New Horizons Partnership, Strabane; and Carol Doey of the Hub BT80 Cookstown.

Those present were also given the opportunity to have a guided tour around An Creagán, networking with a number of funders from ARC North
West, who provided information on the next round of Rural Development Programme Funding and the Rural Community Network, who outlined details of the new Village SOS Programme funded by the Big Lottery.

Last week’s conference was part funded by Invest Northern Ireland and the European Regional Development Fund under the Sustainable Competitiveness Programme for Northern Ireland and the Department of Social Development.

Speaking at the event, Omagh District Council Chairman, Cllr Sean Begley congratulated An Creagán on achieving the milestone of 20 years in
business and stressed the importance of the social economy to the district.

The chairman said that social enterprises played a vital role in empowering communities and helping them become more productive.

“Social enterprises also have many advantages compared to other organisations as they can provide services to groups of people that are hard to reach, they can enable individuals and communities to work toward regenerating their local neighbourhoods and help to develop an inclusive society and active citizenship” he said.

For further information on the Social Enterprise Omagh Programme contact Louise Armstrong, social economy development officer, on (028) 8224 5321 ext 654 or e-mail: