Friday 19 October 2018 05:49:12 AM

Council Chair Celebrates First Year Of Social Investment Fund
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Newry Mourne and Down District Council has celebrated the First Year of the Social Investment Fund ‘Work It’ Training and Employment Programme with Executive Office Junior Ministers.

The Northern Ireland Executive has allocated £80 million towards the Social Investment Fund. This fund aims to make life better for people living in deprived areas by reducing poverty, unemployment and physical deterioration.

The Social Investment Fund is being delivered in partnership with communities across nine social investment zones throughout Northern Ireland.

Newry Mourne and Down District Chairperson Cllr Gillian Fitzpatrick with Junior Minister xxxx and participants on the Work IT programme.

Newry Mourne and Down District Chairperson Cllr Gillian Fitzpatrick with Junior Minister Megan Fearon and Alastair Ross with participants on the Work IT programme.

The Chair of Newry, Mourne and Down District Council, Councillor Gillian Fitzpatrick said: “On behalf of Newry, Mourne and Down District Council I would like to thank the Executive Office for providing us with the opportunity to lead on this innovative programme.

“Today has been a fantastic opportunity to talk directly with beneficiaries and hear first hand how this programme has provided life changing opportunities for participants and community projects.”

The Southern Zone covers the three new council areas of Newry Mourne and Down District Council; Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council; and Mid Ulster District Council.

The aim of the Southern Zone ‘Work It’ programme is to give those who are most removed from the labour market a bridge to the world of work by improving participant’s skills and general employability by providing 48 weeks training and employment for 160 participants. The programme aims to build confidence, increase self esteem and provide accredited training opportunities for participants of the programme while also adopting a partnership approach to delivering community regeneration projects.

The Social Investment Fund will be targeted at those areas that are within the top 20% most deprived Super Output Areas and this programme will specifically target areas within Lurgan, Newry City, Coalisland and Portadown.

Junior Minister, Megan Fearon said: “Getting people into jobs is no easy task but the ‘Work It’ project has proved to be a real success.  The project is delivering for local people and this investment is really making a difference. Already it has worked with over 550 people and delivered 160 full time placements.  As a result, 80 people are now employed.

“It’s also more than just headline figures… families and the wider community are benefiting from the personal and professional development this initiative provides people with.”

Junior Minister, Alastair Ross said: “The ‘Work It’ project is a great example of how local people, working in tandem with the Executive, can make a real and tangible difference for the better.

“Projects such as Work It deliver what the Northern Ireland Executive’s £80million Social Investment Fund is designed to do by improving the skills, talents and opportunities that people need to succeed. Together, we are improving people’s lives and making a better society for everyone in Northern Ireland.”

This programme is still active and if you would like any further information, either as a participant, employer or community group, on the Social Investment Fund ‘Work It’ Programme please contact:

Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Programmes Unit by telephoning 028 3031 3024 or e-mailing:

programmesunit@newryandmourne.gov.uk

or contacting Network Personnel by telephone on 028 3839 2777 or e-mail:

Carla.Campbell@networkpersonnel.org.uk