Minister for Communities visits The Designerie social enterprise in Bushmills

The Designerie at Bushmills was delighted to welcome the Minister for the Department of Communities, Deirdre Hargey, MP, on a special visit today to meet Rachel Finlay, the store’s new Head of Digital Marketing.

Founded and run as a social enterprise by Enterprise Causeway in 2015, the Designerie provides a retail space, selling handmade products from across the Causeway Coast and Glens Borough, Northern Ireland and Ireland. ‘Ireland.

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Rachel’s position was made possible through the department’s Covid Recovery Program Jobs and Skills Initiative, part of the Future Screens NI partnership.

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Launched in January 2022, this three-year £20 million initiative supports non-profits with costs for a variety of new and improved roles, across the arts, heritage, creative industries, sports and development sectors. volunteering and community.

Supporting salaries and associated costs for new entry-level positions, its main objective is to support the sectors most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, aiding recovery and providing much-needed assistance.

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Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey said: “I am delighted to have been able to provide this much needed financial support to these sectors through my ministry’s Jobs and Skills Initiative, especially as they recover from the impact of the pandemic.

“These sectors play a huge role in all of our lives in supporting the health and well-being of society and this initiative has created over 300 jobs and training opportunities to help people and organizations take it to the next level and support our local communities through the important work they carry forward.

Praising the initiative, Jayne Taggart, chief executive of Enterprise Causeway, said: “Like many other areas of Northern Ireland, the creative industry sector on the North Coast has been significantly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Many small micro and social enterprises have been crippled by the loss of revenue which has affected their ability to operate, compounded by loss of staff and ongoing challenges in retaining and developing talent.

“It is so encouraging to see this first initiative of its kind for the arts sector and incredible to be able to offer a role like this to such an inspiring and talented young woman.

“We are delighted to have Rachel join the Designerie family, from our customers to our resident makers, she will be a vital part of helping to meet the challenges of increasing store footfall, as well as increasing reach, customer attraction and sales through by deploying creative stories and storytelling across its digital channels.

“Rachel’s role will also help to enhance the creativity and digital capacity of our creators in residence and local artists/artisans whose works are sold online and in-store. These combined activities will not only allow the Designerie to survive, but also to thrive after the pandemic.

“I would also like to thank Minister Hargey for taking the time out of her busy schedule to arrange a meeting with Rachel and our staff and creators in residence and I hope she enjoyed the visit and been able to see the tangible difference that his ministry’s funding is making. .”

Reflecting on securing the role and her hopes for the future, Rachel noted:“I never thought I would get a job so soon since I made the decision to pursue a role in digital marketing.

“I love being able to tap into my creativity through digital marketing and having the opportunity to be part of the team and work in such a creative environment like The Designerie, made me even more excited when applying.

“Since Covid, marketing has moved even closer to the digital spectrum, with more businesses engaging with their customers across digital channels. With technology continually improving and advancing, brands are able to connect with customers on a much larger scale, so it’s essential for businesses, especially small social enterprises like the Designerie, to have someone looking after their digital presence.

“I am so grateful that this opportunity has been made possible through this initiative and I look forward to working on the Designerie’s social media platforms and getting creative with them. I’m also looking forward to working on the website, as I love designing and figuring out how to create a good customer experience online. My goal is to be able to interact with existing and potential customers and increase website traffic, driving online sales. »

Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, Councilor Ivor Wallace said: “The support secured by The Designerie through The Employment and Skills Initiative is a welcome boost to both the creative sector and the local economy.

“Funding opportunities like this are critical for businesses as they continue to recover from the difficult trading conditions of recent years.

“This new role is a positive development for The Designerie and I was very pleased to have this opportunity to visit their premises in Bushmills to learn more about their future plans. Congratulations to Rachel and I wish her well in her new role.

For media inquiries, contact Cathy McGarry, Communications and Events Manager: E. [email protected] T. 07547 212 389.

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