News and Events

NI embraces Creative Problem Solving

Work West were delighted to welcome Laura Barbero Switalski to Northern Ireland for the first time for a 2-day workshop in Creative Problem Solving workshop.

  

At Work West we have trained hundreds of educators, professionals and Students over the past four years through our Design Thinking workshops, promoting break-through innovations and developing creative problem-solving skills.


Laura, a leading trainer, facilitator and coach from Darwin Associates, Buffalo, New York facilitated the group of enterprise, education and impact focused organisations to develop their skills as we continue to support the development of innovation and  creative problem-solving skills.


Visit our Design Thinking page for more on our work in this field.

image26

Celebrating social enterprise success

Huge congratulations to our many friends and clients, winners and shortlisted organisations that celebrated last Friday at the 2019  Annual Social Enterprise NI Gala Awards Dinner.


The annual showcase of the social enterprise sector in Northern Ireland saw awards presented in a diverse range of categories with special congratulations to Nigel Hampton at IncredABLE and Marie Marin from Employers for Childcare as highly commended and winners of the main Social Enterprise of the Year award.


The inimitable Marie, CEO of Employers for Childcare, also received the Lifetime Achievement Award. A highly deserved accolade to a true leader in the sector. It was Marie’s social vision which established Employers For Childcare when she identified that the lack of affordable, quality  childcare and information for parents on work-related issues, were  barriers to employment. Congratulations to Marie on her Award. 


We were delighted to see Belfast City Council awarded Council of the Year having been fortunate to work with the council in the provision of the city's support programme for social enterprises and cooperatives that continues to offer the sector tailored support.


A shout out too for the wonderful entertainment provided by our friends from the Ards & North Down Social Enterprise Programme, Bangor Ukes (@b_ukulele) at the drinks reception keeping the guests moving throughout. 


For more information visit the Social Enterprise NI website.

Photograph by Peter O'Hara Photography & Social Enterprise NI

image27

Work West hosts Macmillan Coffee Morning

Calling our tea drinkers and cake munchers as we host our annual Macmillan Coffee Morning to raise funds for this fabulous cause supporting people living with cancer. 


Join us in the main Work West building from 10am this Friday for a cuppa, some cake and a chat. Thanks to the support of our wonderful tenants and business support clients we also have a fantasic raffle including beauty vouchers, a childrens bicycle, Outside In! tshirts, Vintage Satchel Company leather bag, a range of vouchers for local eateries and many more.

Macmillan Coffee Morning Friday 27th September
Macmillan Coffee Morning Friday 27th September

Doing Well & Doing Good

Stephen McGarry from Work West with the support of Belfast City Council officially launched the new  Social Enterprise and Cooperative Support Programme at a recent social enterprise breakfast at City Hall.


Speaking at the event were two inspirational social entrepreneurs that shared their journey and indicated the improtance of mentoring in that crucial start up phase.


If you are starting or growing your social business or cooperative find out how we can help by calling 028 90610826 or visit http://belfastcity.gov.uk/business/businessinformation/Social-economy.aspx

image28

Seed Fund success for Social Innovators

Four Community Innovators Programme groups were awarded seed fund support at a special reception hosted at Queen’s University Belfast on 4 September 2019.


Having particiapted in the programme to develop innovative solutions to real world health and social care challenges, the successful projects were; 

  • IncredABLE aiming to design an innovative drop-in space for people  with learning disabilities and/or autism using a double-decker bus; 
  • Mid  & East Antrim Agewell Partnership aiming to explore and identify new  solutions to the challenge of supporting vulnerable older people; 
  • South  Eastern Regional College aiming to explore and develop a new  cross-college approach to addressing the challenge of supporting  students with complex social and health related problems; and 
  • Women’s  Aid Armagh Down aiming to explore and develop new approaches to  connecting and engaging with hard to reach service users. 


A fresh cycle of our unique Community Innovators Programme, delivered in partnership with  the Community Foundation for Northern Ireland, is now open for applications.  The  Community Innovators programme is free to access and is for voluntary,  community or social enterprise organisations who would like support to  explore and develop new solutions to a real world social, economic or environmental challenge. 


Click for more information on the programme and our scheduled information sessions. 

image29

Celebrating 'Social in the City'

Work West recently celebrated the end of a successful three year delivery of the Belfast City Council ‘Go Social’ programme supporting new start social enterprises and cooperatives in Belfast, with a showcasing event. An enthusiastic audience filled the vault at the Catalyst Belfast Fintech Hub to hear about the programme achievements from Councillor Carole Howard from Belfast City Council and were inspired by three amazing speakers from Usel, Angel Eyes and Brewgooder (the world’s first clean water beer) outlining their own unique social enterprise journeys. 


We are incredibly proud of what we have delivered with a brilliant team of highly skilled and committed trainers and mentors. Four years ago the board at Work West started to invest in developing a model that would support third sector organisations to develop new solutions to long-standing challenges. Our thinc methodology combines design thinking and creative problem solving approaches and facilitates organisations to think creatively in terms of designing new products and services. With our third sector lagging behind in terms of digital transformation which is impacting upon our ability to be competitive and deliver services there is no time like the present to support organisations to shift their thinking patterns and reimagine new approaches to service delivery.

Work West Enterprise Agency
Work West Enterprise Agency

‘Thinc Schools’ celebrate graduation of 91 P7 imagineers

‘Thinc schools’ by Work West is a no tech, experiential programme underpinned by creative practice and theory which creates a safe space for critical self-reflection allowing for the development of transferrable life skills. The thinc schools team were delighted to have the opportunity to work with the P7 students from St. Oliver Plunkett Primary School during May 2019. 


As the P7 students are preparing for their move into secondary school, the thinc team focused on making this transition as seamless as possible. Over the course of the programme imaginations were stretched, confidence & resilience was built and inventions were created. The students worked diligently through a diverse range of exercises and activities which kept the energy and engagement levels elevated throughout. 


Highlighting the positive results from the programme, feedback from the imagineers included, ‘I learnt that working together can create something incredible’, ‘I loved that the programme helped me to work with other people and helped me to build my confidence’, and I learnt that going to big school is not that scary’.

Work West Enterprise Agency Thinc Schools
Work West Enterprise Agency Thinc Schools

Events

18th October

Social Enterprise: Ards & North Down

10am - 12pm

Signal Centre 2 Innotec Drive Balloo Road Bangor BT19 7PD

Event Details

18th October

Social Enterprise: Ards & North Down

We are delighted to be launching a new support programme for Social Enterprises and Cooperatives in the borough thanks to Ards & North Down Borough Council.

10am - 12pm

Signal Centre 2 Innotec Drive Balloo Road Bangor BT19 7PD

19th November

Social Enterprise: Get the best out of Social Media

09.30am - 12.30pm

Conference Room, Social Economy Village, Work West, 1B Hannahstown Hill, Belfast, BT17 0LT

Event Details

19th November

Social Enterprise: Get the best out of Social Media

As part of Global Entrepreneurship Week, this free workshop will  take a look at Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, LinkedIn and Instagram  trends and audiences and help you decide what’s right for your business.

We’ll look at how to tackle social media as an organisation –  including planning, setting goals, developing processes and great  content to tell your story, engage your audience and build followers.  And we’ll cover how to measure and improve your social media strategy.

Register today at https://dof.belfastcity.gov.uk/GetTheBestOutOfSocialMedia/Default.aspx

09.30am - 12.30pm

Conference Room, Social Economy Village, Work West, 1B Hannahstown Hill, Belfast, BT17 0LT