One of Lurgan most popular and well established childcare centres – Zion’s Den Childcare Ltd at Mount Zion House, scooped a prestigious prize at the annual Social Enterprise Awards which took place at the Hilton Hotel, Belfast on Thursday, October 23.
Social enterprises are businesses that reinvest any surplus profits back into their local community to help improve communities and tackle social problems.
The award category Education, Training and Jobs Social Enterprise, sponsored by the Department for Social Development, saw Zion’s Den Childcare Limited beat off stiff competition from seven other short listed social enterprises from across Northern Ireland.
A panel of independent judges including Ulster Bank, Invest NI, Charity Bank, NIFHA and the Ashton Trust came together to judge the awards.
Judges commented on the significant social and community impact that Zion’s Den Childcare Limited had made in their local community through their reinvestment and job creation programme.
Janice Bunting, the Chief Executive of the Mount Zion Group commented: “This was a well deserved award and rich recognition of the significant contribution that Zion’s Den has made and continues to make within the local community.”
The Manager of Zion’s Den, Grainne Thornton, commended the staff team of Zion’s Den who worked tirelessly to provide high quality childcare at an affordable rate.
Speaking at the event, Andrew McCormick, Permanent Secretary of Enterprise Trade and Investment said: “With social enterprise playing an increasingly significant role in our economy, it is important that the efforts of the sector are rightfully acknowledged and rewarded.”
Director of Social Enterprise NI, Juliet Cornford added: “Social enterprises are a growth area in terms of the business world. Increasingly we are asked to look at the social value a business creates.”
The event comes shortly after a visit by the Rt. Hon Theresa Villiers MP to Mount Zion House and Zion’s Den Childcare.
During this visit, the Secretary of State heard how Mount Zion had been established by local people with a shared vision and a principal ethos of being at the heart of the community, through the services, programmes and activities it provides.
The Secretary of State had an opportunity to meet with staff and board members, as well as interact with some of the children who attend the Zion’s Den childcare centre.