We’ve picked out 11 social enterprises in Belfast where you’ll be able to satisfy your hunger and thirst in the knowledge that your cash is being put to good use.
Like any other businesses social enterprises compete to deliver goods and services and to make a profit. The difference is that they are driven by their social and environmental purposes and the profits they make are reinvested towards achieving those purposes.
12-24 University Avenue
Since they opened in 2004 Common Grounds have donated more than £60,000 to charities helping vulnerable people is some of the poorest places of the world
Most recently they gave away their 2015 profits – amounting to £2,600 – to South Belfast Foodbank – working with people struggling to put food on the table – and the Belfast Friendship Club – helping to integrate newcomers to Belfast. Each of them received £1,300 each from Common Grounds.
27 Castle Lane
This part cafe, part art studio is a not for profit creative community that supports local artists and designers. One of the main focuses for us is the idea of ethical consumerism and the environmental benefits that go along with it.
307 Grosvenor Road
Run by NOW Group, Loaf operate two cafes in Belfast and an outside catering business. Across their enterprises they provide accredited training sites where 40 placements-a-week are provided for people with learning disabilities/difficulties.
2k Queens Road
The Dock Cafe opened its doors in March 2012 with little more than a few deckchairs and kettle – but as the months went by, more and more donations started to fill the place, as the people who ate, relaxed, met up and chilled out in The Dock Cafe began donating sofas, dining tables, mugs, art, sculpture, games, armchairs, and a thousand other quirky little touches to make a big empty concrete space a home-away-from-home.
The Dock is an ethos, a momentum, a vision to build Life in the Titanic Quarter. The cafe is a space where absolutely anybody can feel at home – no-one is attacked with Bibles, tracts or evangelistic slogans when they come in through the door.
Available at location throughout Belfast
Avoca and General Merchants 361 became the latest locations to stock Mango Street cold pressed juices. Colin Mackey uses surplus profits and products from his social enterprise to support local organisations who are committed to combating homelessness, alleviating food poverty, ensuring environmental sustainability and promoting health and wellbeing. His business was started up with the help of South Belfast Social Enterprise Hub.
Belfast City Hall
Loaf’s social enterprise cafe, The Bobbin, is open seven days a week in the heart of the Belfast at City Hall. Like Loaf this social enterprise cafe is run by NOW group.
395-405 Newtownards Road
This cafe is run by The Orchardville Society to celebrate human differences, create opportunity and accommodate choice for all. They work in partnership to prepare people with learning disability for employment and greater independence.
Elim Church, Dundonald
Level Ground Cafe in East Belfast is staffed by young people with special needs. They employ five people aged from 16 to 23, serving up delicious treats on a not-for-profit basis from 9am until 4pm, Monday to Saturday. They made the news earlier this year when celebrity chef Marco Pierre White popped in for a visit.
407 Lisburn Road
The Book Reserve run two businesses under one roof – The Thinking Cup cafe and an online retail business selling second hand books. It’s been set up specifically to employ up to 12 young parents who have had contact with the justice system. The project is led by Social Indigo and also supported by a range of partners including Barnardo’s and Bryson Charitable Group who will be working closely with these young adults offering tailored parenting advice and guidance both pre and post release.
3-5 Malone Road
Another cafe run by Orchardville Society, an organisation who support over 250 people with a learning disability each year in Belfast in employment each year.
Skainos Square, Newtownards Road
Refresh is East Belfast Mission‘s vibrant and busy cafe based in Skainos Square. Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, the cafe sources the finest local ingredients to create great tasting food.