On behalf of the Department of Rural and Community Development, Moate based Irish Rural Link, the national network representing the interest of rural communities will host a regional stakeholder consultation in the Ard Rí Hotel, Tuam, County Galway on Thursday, February 23, from 9.30am-1pm.
The first National Social Enterprise Policy was published in July 2019 covering the period 2019-2022. This represented a watershed moment for social enterprise in Ireland. Long awaited, it was the first Government policy in the history of the State aimed at developing and realising the incredible economic, social and environmental potential of social enterprise. Not long after publication Covid-19 presented an unprecedented challenge. From delivery of ‘Meals on Wheels’ in huge numbers to helping many more of us get back cycling, Irish social enterprise in countless ways made an immeasurable contribution to the response. In the years since the sector has grown considerably.
Social enterprises are businesses that work primarily to improve the lives of people. Their core objective is to achieve a social, societal, or environmental impact through trading goods and services. This covers a multitude of operations from small community initiatives to larger national and international operations. In Ireland, the sector employs between 25,000 and 33,000 people in over 1,400 social enterprises, with a total income of around €1.4 billion. In European terms however the sector is still relatively underdeveloped and it’s widely acknowledged that there is huge potential for growth.
There are six in-person regional stakeholder consultations arranged across Ireland to help inform the new National Social Enterprise Policy. The Tuam event will cater primarily to the western counties of Roscommon, Galway and Mayo. All individuals and organisations with a social enterprise interest, from the local community centre exploring opportunities to the well established enteprise are invited to attend and contribute to the new policy. The event will be attended by officials from the Department of Rural and Community Development.
“Irish Rural Link are delighted to be hosting this very important stakeholder consultation in Tuam. It’s more obvious than ever that social enterprise is part of the answer to many of Ireland’s challenges and gratifying to see this recognition at government level. The Tuam consultation event will ensure the voice of the west of Ireland is heard and views are considered in the new policy . The event is also a rare networking opportunity for social enterpise stakeholders in the west of Ireland," Seamus Boland, CEO of Irish Rural Link, stated.
The Consultation event takes places in the Ard Rí hotel, Tuam, from 9.30am-1pm followed by lunch. Registration in advance is essential. To find out out more and to register to attend please visit www.irishrurallink.ie