WATCH as David Hunter, Lifetime Achievement winner at the Larne Business Awards, praises the people of his home town

David Hunter is the 2022 recipient of the Lifetime Achievement title at the Larne Business Excellence Awards for the dedication of his adult and professional life to the prosperity, growth and development of Larne and its people,

David was presented with the award, which was sponsored by Mid and East Antrim Borough Council, at the gala awards ceremony at Ballygally Castle Hotel.

As Chief Executive of Access Employment Limited, David oversaw the transformation of a floundering social enterprise, which became one of the UK’s most self-sustainable community businesses and one of Larne’s key employers. Access Employment grew from two business areas to seven, and quickly expanded from nine employees to 52 in only a few short years. During David’s tenure, Access Employment was awarded and recognised for its social impact and won the esteemed Social Enterprise of the Year Award. David is the first and only person to have won NI Social Leader of the year twice, with only a year gap in between, which proves how respected he is with the NI social sector.

During the pandemic, as a director of Social Enterprise NI, David successfully lobbied the government to include social enterprises in Covid relief payments, which ensured the integrity of the entire social sector. He has been instrumental in having social value recognised in public procurement tenders, ensuring that business can positively impact society and protect the environment.

Mayor of Mid & East Antrim Borough Council Alderman Noel Williams was on hand to present the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award to winner, David Hunter. LT48-208.

David is a long term governor of Roddensvale Special School and due to his experience and expertise in planning and building, he has been a key leading figure in securing the schools future expansion agreement with the Department of Education, to meet the needs of SEN children in Larne and surrounding areas.

As a director of Larne football club, David has helped the organisation become a true community hub and a centre of sport for all peoples. David led the initiative to expand the provision at the Cliff at Seacourt, negotiating with government agencies and council authorities to establish a top of the range sporting provision for Larne youth. David has been essential in developing the retail aspect of the shop, which has helped to provide essential revenue to help support the efforts of the football club as they take Larne to the forefront of Irish football.

He is leading member of the Community Wealth Building Fund, a group created to deliver aspects of the governments Levelling Up campaign and develop initiatives to bring economic growth, employment and commerce to the Larne area.

David has recently been employed as Clearer Waters Managing Director. David was instrumental in the establishment of Clearer Water from the beginning, he developed the inclusive ethos of the business and mixed ability workforce principles that underpin the businesses commitment to social impact today. Clearer is on the cusp of launching a new premium product portfolio of ethical beverages to add to their very successful flagship products; Clearer Water and Clearer Water with bubbles. Under David’s management Clearer Water has awarded the Good Shopping Guides Ethical business award, scoring in the top three in its sector. Clearer Water has also been recognised by Ulster Business Magazine as one of the Top 100 Ulster Businesses to watch in 2022-2023. Clearer will expand their factory next year, which will bring additional valuable jobs for one of Larne’s super output wards, jobs that will be essential in the economically difficult months ahead.

David sits on a ministerial advisory group for the Department of Communities which focuses on local economic development that tackles inequality and poverty by redirecting wealth and public spending into communities. David has helped negotiate changes to public sector investment and spending practices and broker greater collaboration with communities across NI.

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He was awarded Larne’s Business Man of the Year in 2021, an award that recognised his efforts to sustain Access Employment through the pandemic. The organisation did not have to undertake any of the forecasted redundancies which were feared at the start of 2020. AEL was able to launch two new business areas and provide additional jobs at the height of a pandemic. Something that no mean feat; the organisation not only survived during 2020-2021 but thrived.