Finance Minister visits Usel following award of social value contract

Date published: 05 May 2021

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Finance Minister, Conor Murphy has visited Usel which has been successful in being awarded one of the first tender opportunities reserved for organisations whose main aim is supporting disabled and disadvantaged people in the workforce.

Finance Minister Conor Murphy with Usel Chief Executive Bill Atkinson and Chair William Leathem

Speaking after visiting the premises and meeting some of the staff, Minister Murphy said: “It was great to see first-hand the impressive set up and to be able to meet some of the staff. Delivering maximum social value from public procurement is one of my key priorities and I am delighted that by awarding this contract we have been able to support this social enterprise which is supporting people with disabilities and health-related conditions into employment.

 “The awarding of this £317,000 contract will provide job security for those working within the organisation as well as potential employment opportunities for others and highlights that social enterprises have the skills and experience to deliver significant contracts to our public sector.”

The contract will see Usel manage the removal of materials from multiple public sector locations allowing further growth of the social enterprise within the Circular Economy.

Commenting on the partnership, Bill Atkinson, Chief Executive, added: “We are delighted to have been awarded this contract which has allowed us to further extend our provision having been awarded several significant contracts over the year.  This contract will allow us to secure jobs for people with disabilities or health conditions during this difficult time with the opportunity to create further jobs in the future.”

Notes to editors: 

  1. Usel was established in 1962 with the aim of providing supported paid employment for people with disabilities within its Belfast manufacturing base. In 1980 they incorporated the Workshops for the Blind becoming the largest direct supporter of people with disabilities and health related conditions in Northern Ireland. Usel train, support and employ up to 1,200 people with disabilities and health-related conditions across Northern Ireland every year.
  2. Usel deliver employment to people with disabilities and health related conditions through a 65,000sq ft factory situated on a 3-acre site in North Belfast.
  3. Media enquiries should be addressed to the Department of Finance Press Office on email dof.pressoffice@finance-ni.gov.uk
  4. Follow us on Twitter @dptfinance

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