Cross-Border Councils Celebrate Success of the Social Economy Bridging Programme

28 May 2008

Wednesday, 28th May, 2008 – Banbridge District Council has helped strengthen the local social economy sector after successfully managing a cross-border programme in partnership with Louth County Council.

Supported by the East Border Region Partnership with €94,000 in funding from EU’s Interreg IIIA Programme, this is the first time that two local authorities on both sides of the border have worked together on delivering a capacity building programme aimed at developing the skills of social economy groups on a cross-border, cross-community basis.

Over 60 representatives from the two council areas recently gathered at the Ballymascanlon House Hotel in Dundalk to celebrate the success of the programme. In total, 34 social enterprise and community groups from the Banbridge and Louth council areas participated in the Social Economy Bridging Programme.

The programme enabled social economy enterprises and community groups in both council areas to build capacity by receiving training in key business, legal, social and financial areas. Courses focused on corporate governance, health and safety, marketing and child protection. The flexible programme also met the individual training needs of social enterprises participating in the programme.

Speaking about the success of the programme, Banbridge District Council’s Chairman, Councillor John Hanna, said, “This programme has contributed significantly to strengthening the social economy sector in each council area in the two key areas of capacity building and networking. The many diverse groups who participated on the programme have now acquired the business acumen that was lacking in order to make them more commercially sustainable and less reliant on funding. They have also forged strong links with cross-border, cross-community groups who share a common focus.”

He continued, “I am confident that this programme and its outcomes will be evident in each area for many years to come. I would like to thank both the groups and individuals who took part in the training, residential workshops and best practice visits. I hope they continue to build upon the success of the programme.”

Dr Sam Simpson of Clear Direction Ltd who independently evaluated the programme commented, ”This was a successful, well-managed initiative that achieved almost all of its key objectives. The feedback I received about the benefits, quality and relevance of the training and mentoring programme, the value of learning from others and the management and guidance provided by the programme manager was extremely positive.

Further information:

Claire Patience, Social Economy Development Officer on +44 028 4066 0609.

  • Monaghan
  • LCC
  • MCC
  • Newry, Mourne and Down District Council
  • Ards and North Down Borough Council
  • Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council