£500,000 Social Enterprise Programme now open

The Housing Executive's hugely successful Social Housing Enterprise programme has opened for applications.

The Housing Executives Head of Communities Jennifer Hawthorne with Connor Smith, Paul Carland and Niall Eastwood from the Social Enterprise Team at the inaugural Social Enterprise Conference held at the Tullyglass Hotel, Ballymena.

Grants totalling £500,000 are now available in the third round of the innovative programme aimed at developing economically vibrant and self-sustaining communities through the creation and development of social housing enterprises.

The Housing Executive is keen to hear from groups and individuals keen to set up new social enterprises and existing social enterprises which are keen to ‎expand.

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Applications for large awards of up to £10,000, up to £20,000 and up to £50,000 are open until Friday, June 16, at 4pm.

Small awards for business start-up, education and training awards of up to £1000 are open year-round, until funds are depleted.

Since its launch in 2015, the Housing Executive has already invested nearly £1million - creating 37 new jobs and supporting a further 24 existing posts - in communities through its Social Housing Enterprise programme.

Dozens of local social enterprises across Northern Ireland have received investment awards for a range of initiatives including community cafés in north Belfast and Coleraine.

NIHE Head of Communities Jennifer Hawthorne said: “We hope that communities take advantage of this opportunity to apply to us for funding.” For application forms visit the Social Housing Enterprise webpage: www.nihe.gov.uk/index/community/community_social_housing_investment_scheme.htm