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Social enterprise creates 21 jobs

A Belfast social enterprise company is creating 21 new full-time jobs after opening a childcare nursery and relocating its cafe.

The positions at East Belfast Mission, which recently won UK Social Enterprise of the Year, will be located in the community development organisation's new Skainos building on the Newtownards Road in Belfast and have been assisted by £42,000 from Invest NI's jobs fund.

East Belfast Mission provides services to the elderly, individuals on low income, young children and individuals who are homeless and unemployed. It also operates a number of other social enterprises including 11 shops, a refurbishment workshop and a bicycle repair workshop.

Of the 21 new positions, 17 have already been filled.

Anne Walsh, director of business development at East Belfast Mission, said: "Our mission is to see community transformation and renewal in east Belfast and to offer hope and a future for all those in need, regardless of background or belief.

"Winning the overall UK Social Enterprise of the Year is a wonderful accolade which is aptly timed as we settle into our new offices. Opening the childcare facility and extending the café's opening hours into the evening will help us to generate more income and contribute to the growth of the social economy sector."

Alastair Hamilton, chief executive of Invest NI, said: "East Belfast Mission is an example of the numerous social enterprises in Northern Ireland which are making a significant economic impact, and its achievements were duly recognised at the 2012 UK Social Enterprise Awards event in London."