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Earlier this month participants from Newry, Mourne and Down celebrated the end of the £2.7 million Social Investment Fund’s ‘Work It’ training and re-employment programme at it's closing event at Craigavon Civic Centre.

The Social Investment Fund (SIF) received £80 million from the Northern Ireland Executive, under the Delivering Social Change framework. The Fund is intended to make life better for people living in deprived areas by reducing poverty, unemployment and physical deterioration.

The programme identified a number of investment zones; Newry, Mourne and Down District Council, along with Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council, and Mid Ulster District Council were grouped together in the Southern Zone.

The success of Social Investment Fund 'Work It' Training and Employment Programme was celebrated at the closing event in Craigavon Civic Centre by (L-R) participant , Sorcha Mulgrew,  Network Personnel, Carla Campbell, Area Manager of Jobs and Benefits Office, Kieran Fegan, Executive Office representative, Jonathan Lamont, Chairperson Southern Zone Steering Group, Hilary Singleton, Network Personnel, Cathy McGarvey, Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Programmes Unit, Sarah McClory, Director of Bespoke Communications, Sarah Travers and participants, Abigail Telford and Noleen Burns.
The success of Social Investment Fund 'Work It' Training and Employment Programme was celebrated at the closing event in Craigavon Civic Centre by (L-R) participant , Sorcha Mulgrew, Network Personnel, Carla Campbell, Area Manager of Jobs and Benefits Office, Kieran Fegan, Executive Office representative, Jonathan Lamont, Chairperson Southern Zone Steering Group, Hilary Singleton, Network Personnel, Cathy McGarvey, Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Programmes Unit, Sarah McClory, Director of Bespoke Communications, Sarah Travers and participants, Abigail Telford and Noleen Burns.

Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Chairperson, Councillor Roisin Mulgrew said, “The programme has been a great success. The individual success stories from those who have participated are a testament to the impact of the Social Investment Fund. Everyone who has taken advantage of the opportunities offered by this programme have their own stories of personal and professional success and the closure event captured a snapshot of these accomplishments.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank The Executive Office’s Social Investment Fund; the Southern Zone Steering Group for guiding our project; Network Personnel as our Delivery Agent and all the employers and community/voluntary groups that supported our participants through their individual journeys.”

The aim of the Southern Zone ‘Work It’ programme was to give those who are most removed from the labour market a bridge to the world of work. It did this by improving participant’s skills and general employability through providing 48 weeks training and employment for 160 participants. The participants gained 352 accredited qualifications, including 99 improving employability courses, while 107 or 80% of those who completed a work programme secured employment.

The programme also aimed to build confidence, increase self-esteem and provide accredited training opportunities for participants of the programme, while delivering 500 community regeneration projects, including reimaging, community events, gardening, health and wellbeing, training, summer schemes and sports activities.

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