Best Business - Northstone (NI) Ltd
Presented by Mike Gilson, Editor of the Belfast Telegraph
Northstone (NI) Ltd has been recognised for its tireless commitment to help tackle the problem of homelessness in Northern Ireland. Representatives from the construction and building materials group, which has a long history of giving back to the community, were joined by their partners at The Simon Community to accept the Best Business award.
Jim Leitch and Ryan McQuillan, from Northstone, said they thoroughly enjoyed the Grand Opera House ceremony and expressed how happy they were to win such an important community- orientated award.
Mr Leitch said: “I’m absolutely delighted to win. Together we are a great partnership. We both provide shelter for people through our buildings, so it’s a natural fit for us to be linked. It’s great to be recognised but it’s really all about the work that The Simon Community do.”
Northstone — incorporating Farrans, Northstone Materials and Cubis Industries — launched its Simon Safety Challenge in July 2007 as a way of further encouraging and raising awareness of safety among its workforce while addressing homelessness here.
Since then, The Simon Community has benefited from a donation for every accident-free quarter across the company, equating to £393,000. The money has been used for a number of projects to provide support to people who find themselves homeless. Some of the funding has also been allocated to expand harm-reduction services across Northern Ireland.
Noreen Kennedy, from The Simon Community, said: “I was so shocked when the name was announced. I’m ecstatic Northstone have won! It’s an innovative initiative. We have a great partnership and they have made such a tremendous difference to the work we do.
“Northstone have helped us refurbish a |number of projects, such as Bonds Hill in Derry, which makes such a difference to young, vulnerable homeless people.”
Ryan McQuillan, from Northstone, said he was very pleased to accept the Best Enterprise award. He praised the work The Simon Community does to help those less fortunate in society and the positive impact the link up with the charity has had on the construction group.
Mr McQuillan added: “It helps Simon and it also benefits us through the healthy and safety incentive.”
Belfast Telegraph Editor Mike Gilson said when the judging panel were discussing the nominees they were impressed by the mutual benefit the partnership between Northstone and The Simon Community brings.
He said: “When the judges were talking about it, it was that link between doing well for you and doing well for The Simon Community.”