The Princess Royal during last week's visit to Workspace in Draperstown.
A Co Derry organisation which has created hundreds of jobs over the last 35 years has been recognised for its contribution during a visit by the Princess Royal.
Princess Anne spent time at The Workspace Group in Draperstown last Friday as part of a visit to Northern Ireland.
The Workspace Group was set up in 1985 as a social enterprise to stimulate economic growth and job creation in the Mid-Ulster area by providing workspace units alongside business support services. Over the years the group has added employability and training initiatives, recruitment services, energy efficiency products, after school care and recreation facilities to their portfolio.
Workspace has created hundreds of jobs and currently employs 185 staff in 15 locations across Northern Ireland, Ireland and Manchester. The group also has 52 business tenants who directly employ 205 local people. Last year the Workspace Group helped 916 individuals gain employment or move to further education in addition to helping 107 small businesses and 21 social enterprises start-up and grow in the Mid-Ulster area. In recent years there has been a specific focus on supporting young people into education, training and employment.
During her visit, Princess Anne met with team members from across the Workspace Group as well representatives from the Ballinascreen Historical Society, Steps Mental Health and Ballinascreen Men’s Shed. She also visited the Cornstore Creative Hub, home to Glasgowbury, which provides training and services to develop creativity, artists and audiences in the local area and across Northern Ireland.
Welcoming Princess Anne to the Workspace Group, Chief Executive Georgina Grieve said:
“Today’s visit recognises the impact the Workspace Group has had in Mid-Ulster since we were established in 1985. Workspace has created hundreds of jobs and supported countless businesses in their own growth and expansion plans, creating much-needed employment in the region. Our community projects such as the Recreation Centre, After School Club and Community Fund have provided vital support for the Draperstown community. We have also been integral to the growth and development of many local community organisations through providing them with grants and free space to conduct their services.
“I am delighted that we have been selected to host this visit and to welcome Princess Anne to the Workspace Group to introduce her to the broad range of businesses, social enterprises and community organisations with whom we work,” she added.
Karen McGuigan of Steps Mental Health, said: “Steps take every opportunity to get Suicide and Mental Health talked about openly. Steps started in 2012 and in 2015 due to its growth Workspace provided us with a venue where we run classes, meetings and training. In 2016 Steps Counselling was established. As we start 2020 Workspace have provided us with additional space so we can meet the demand for our counselling service. Steps was set up by the community for the community and shows great things can be achieved when communities and organisations such as Workspace work together for change.”
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