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Traditional crafts power jobs and enterprise in Ballymoney

Published on:  28 Mar 2018

A community group that set out to preserve traditional crafts and turn lives around has won a raft of contracts that are propelling people towards employment and economic activity in Ballymoney.

Launched in 2014, with support from the International Fund for Ireland, Ulidia Training’s Peace Impact Project (PIP) has equipped more than 100 young people with a range of skills including banner and drumhead painting, fabric printing embroidery and leatherwork.  Its work is also geared towards facilitating community dialogue on issues linked to conflict and division.

In the last two years, the social enterprise secured orders from businesses, sporting organisations and social groups in the UK and Ireland for high quality bespoke work wear and uniforms. That success has also spurred the group to begin looking at potential opportunities in new markets.

In November 2016, the International Fund for Ireland allocated £206,666 to support the project for two years and Paddy Harte, a Board Member of the Fund said:

“Ulidia Training deserves great credit the progress it has made in a relatively short period of time. In four years, this group has taken a derelict building in Ballymoney and established a thriving operation that is supporting social, economic and community transformation.  They have tapped into a demand for traditional skills and invested a lot of energy to ensure the opportunity benefits the people here as much as possible.

“The social enterprise activity is only one thread of activity delivered by Ulidia Training and operates in tandem with other efforts that have brought better opportunities for personal and community progression. Projects like this are critical and build momentum for positive change, stability and prosperity. It is pleasing for us as a funder to see an international appetite for the products developed by Ulidia Training PIP and the difference it is making locally.”

A second strand of the Ulidia Training PIP gives young people accredited training to enable them to become tour guides and develop tourism products.

Kenny Blair Ulidia Training PIP Project Worker said:

“We’re excited to be in a position where people and businesses are taking an interest in what we’re doing and the high standards of our work. From initially hoping to preserve traditional skills, we’ve been able to identify a unique gap that can support employment and promote crafts that were in danger of being forgotten. 

“Our ambition is to build on our early achievements and translate the enthusiasm here into activities that can further boost this area. This project is about creating a vibrant community and giving people the means to access to new skills and opportunities, to make better choices and take control of their own lives.  Enterprise activity is an important part of the mix.”

Ulidia Training offers five main strands of activity: Traditional Skills Training Programme; Cultural Awareness Programme; Major Events Programme; Restorative Justice Programme; and a Social Enterprise Programme.

For further information about our funding programmes, or for information on how to apply for funding, please contact the person(s) or organisation(s) identifed at the end of the relevant programme summary in the areas of activity section.

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