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Community groups go into business

Charities and community groups are being offered support and training to help them get into business so they can survive when the Peace III funding ends in 2013.

There’s been a huge culture change in the community and voluntary sector,” explained Lynsey Cameron from Work West Enterprise Agency, which delivers the programme.

“These groups simply won’t survive without funding and they are realising that they need to find new and innovative ways to fund their work. We’ve seen a huge increase in interest from these groups in setting up a social enterprise — they need to make money in order to self-finance the good work they are doing in their communities.”

Places are now available on the Pre Enterprise Social Economy Support Programme, provided by Belfast City Council and the European Regional Development Fund.

The programme is aimed at groups and individuals at the pre-enterprise stage seeking to develop a new or existing social enterprise idea in the Belfast City Council area. Social enterprises are businesses that combine their social entrepreneurial skills with a strong commercial aim, putting community concerns at the heart of their business. The aim of the business is to make a profit which is either re-invested in the community or used to support employment initiatives.

This programme involves training workshops, best practice visits, mentoring and work shadowing.

For further information contact Lynsey Cameron on 9061 0826 or email Lynsey@workwest.co.uk or log on to www.belfastcity.gov.uk/businessprogrammes

Belfast Telegraph