NOW Group opens new Omagh office to help those with learning difficulties and Autism

William Smith

Reporter:

William Smith

Email:

william.smith@tyronecon.co.uk

A NEW regional headquarters and hub for award-winning social enterprise, NOW Group, has officially opened in Omagh.

The Hive (former premises of the Salad Bowl at the bottom of Market Street) will be the new regional home for the NOW group, a social enterprise supporting people with learning difficulties and Autism into jobs with a future.

Operating across Ireland, the NOW Group delivers a range of innovative programmes to enable participants to gain the skills and confidence they need to play an active role in their local communities.

Speaking ahead of the new premises opening, Maeve Monaghan, chief executive of NOW Group comments: “This is a fantastic opportunity to build something special, with the support of an amazing team and the local community.

“Our work is about social inclusion and leads to the people we work with having better health, better education and a brighter future. We want The Hive to become a place where our participants can access support, develop their skills and gain confidence, helping them to realise their full potential.”

In 2021, NOW Group supported 1,500 people with all levels of learning difficulty and learning disability, whilst also providing high-quality trained potential employees at a time when employers across many sectors are struggling to fill roles.

Maeve adds: “NOW Group now has a presence across all 11 council areas, and we work alongside many superb partners such as Woodvale Construction, Lough Erne Resort and Terex, on both jobs and community partnerships.”

The Hive was set-up with the support of The Western Trust as a principal funder and Omagh and Fermanagh District Council. Margaret Mulligan, Head of Service, Adult Learning Disability at the Western Trust, who attended the launch of the new NOW Group office said:

“The Western Trust is delighted to have partnered with the Now Group to provide a new Day Opportunity programme called ‘Now Connects’ across the Fermanagh and Omagh area. Now Connects is currently working with 29 service users and although this exciting new day opportunity service is still in its infancy, it has already supported service users to achieve positive outcomes, with a number of service users gaining OCN accredited qualifications and allowing some to consider employment options.

“Since February 2022, the Now Group has also commenced social evenings, which have provided a welcome outlet for service users to meet with their peers, enjoy trips to the cinema, go bowling and have the opportunity to have fun in a relaxed and friendly environment. We wish the Now Connects programme continued success for the future.”

Dianna Crozier, a parent of a service user who is currently enrolled with the Now Connects programme adds: “It’s wonderful to see the development of day opportunities and progress regarding choice for service users and families in the Southern Sector (Omagh).

“My daughter has set new goals and we are looking at how they are going to be actioned, she is hoping to volunteer in the future when she feels ready with NOW staff supporting her on placement.”

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