Council stumps up £205,700 to back projects

Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council is to plough more than £200,000 into backing three local enterprise projects, 147 new jobs and 10 new businesses.

The council has agreed to allocate £205,700 over the next three years as part of a package of match funding supporting the European Social Fund, part funded by the European Union.

The three local projects are being managed by Stepping Stones, Lisburn Enterprise Organisation and GEMS NI.

According to the local authority they will deliver bespoke programmes “to meet local economic and social needs”.

Alderman Allan Ewart, Chairman of the council’s Development Committee, said: “These identified projects being supported by the council will target priority groups within our city and help increase employment skills and the size of the future local workforce.”

Lisburn-based Stepping Stones is a well-known organisation whose stated commitment is to improving the lives of young people with learning difficulties and learning disabilities within society.

The council is supporting its Training and Employment Service.

The initiative is hailed as providing valuable training opportunities, expected to lead to employment and improved confidence for the local young people concerned.

The Exploring Enterprise Programme, meanwhile, delivered in the council area by Lisburn Enterprise Organisation and Inspire, is aimed at helping those who are unemployed, budding entrepreneurs or those starting up their own business, by providing practical advice and support.

GEMS NI delivers the Collaborative Mentoring Programme, which provides “an innovative package of elements” designed to identify, access, engage and support young people between 16 and 24 years of age.

Through the Programme, the council is providing support to help young vulnerable people who have experienced challenging situations in their lives.

“This considerable financial package will help support groups across the city into employment,” said Mr Ewart, “and we are delighted to assist Stepping Stones, the Exploring Enterprise Programme and GEMS NI and look forward to working with them over the next three years.”