Orchard @ The Foundry, a new café which is opening at The Foundry on Lower Newtownards Road in east Belfast, will provide a range of training and development opportunities to 20 local marginalised young people, aged from 16 to 25.

The café will be operated by Orchardville, a registered local charity and social enterprise committed to changing the lives of marginalised young people by offering opportunities to learn skills that will enhance their employment prospects.

Joan McGinn, chief executive, Orchardville, explains how the café, which will officially open on 8 July 2019, will provide a channel for developing young people’s skills:

“Orchard @ The Foundry is funded by the International Fund for Ireland under their Personal Youth Development Programme (PYDP) and the design and development of the space was supported by the Urban Villages Initiative. The café will provide meaningful work placement and training opportunities, as well as on-site support to young people to develop their catering and hospitality skills.

“It will help them develop their employability and communication skills as well as improving the life skills that foster good relations, build confidence and resilience.”

Ms McGinn continues: “We have invaluable experience of running our award-winning Orchard Café on Newtownards Road in east Belfast, and more recently our new café at Grove Wellbeing Centre in north Belfast and look forward to replicating this success at The Foundry. We believe that with the right support, any individual can reach their full potential and achieve their employment aspirations.”

The Foundry

The Orchard @ The Foundry initiative is part of Project Fusion, which is funded by the International Fund for Ireland Personal Youth Development Programme. It provides individually based activities to marginalised young people to support them to overcome personal challenges.

Each young person is mentored by a Youth Outreach Officer, who supports them to attend activities, training and work experience. Good relations and diversity activities form an integral part of the programme.

Paddy Harte, Chairman of the International Fund for Ireland added: “Project Fusion plays a critical role in capacity building and community cohesion. We are delighted to be supporting it and also the development of Orchard @ The Foundry. This café will connect with young people aged 16 to 25 and provide them with personalised training, boost skills and employability – all with a central focus on good relations, preparing participants for future job opportunities.”

The design and development of the space of the Orchard @ The Foundry was funded by The Executive Office (TEO) through the Urban Villages Initiative. Welcoming the opening of the café, Siobhan Broderick, Director of the Urban Villages Initiative, said,

“The Urban Villages Initiative is delighted to support the design and development of the Orchard @ The Foundry on the lower part of the Newtownards Road.  This project provides a fantastic opportunity for young people from the EastSide Urban Village area to develop their skills through the expert training by Orchardville, so that they can provide services for the boom in the local catering and hospitality sector. It also creates a safe and shared space for people from the community to come together, creating a thriving place to build an inclusive community.”

Orchard @ The Foundry is located within the East Belfast Enterprise premises.  Explaining the importance of having social enterprises integrated into the fabric of communities, Jonathan McAlpin, Chief Executive of East Belfast Enterprise, added:

“In any cohesive society, there need to be channels that support individuals who face challenges to overcome these obstacles and to maximise their own personal potential.  This project is a brilliant example of a range of funders and service providers coming together to collectively look at how they can channel their support in a meaningful way.

“We are delighted to have Orchard @ The Foundry on-site, particularly as it marries perfectly with our own mission to benefit those living within the immediate vicinity of our premises. The premises attract a broad range of people and I’m sure visitors will be very grateful to have a coffee shop at the start of the Newtownards Road, which in addition to providing great hospitality, also offers skills development for local young people.”

From its offices in East Belfast, Bangor, Lisburn and Derry-Londonderry, Orchardville facilitates occupational and vocational skills, wellbeing support, skills for life and work, OCN (Open College Network) accredited training, school transitions services work placements and paid employment.

Orchardville ( www.orchardville.com ) supports over 500 local people to access employment and other opportunities every year, working with over 100 employers across Northern Ireland. As the charity has grown it has extended its services to South Eastern and Western Health & Social Care Trust areas.

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