Employers For Childcare picks up top Awards at annual celebration of Social Enterprise

Marie Marin, Chief Executive of Employers For Childcare, has been recognised for her work within the Social Enterprise sector, having been bestowed with the ‘Lifetime Achievement’ Award at the annual Social Enterprise Northern Ireland Awards.    The Award was presented to Marie, in front of her peers and industry leaders from the Social Enterprise sector across Northern Ireland, at a gala awards ceremony in Belfast on Friday evening (11 October 2019). It was a double celebration for the Lisburn-based Social Enterprise, as Employers For Childcare also picked up the final award of the evening – Social Enterprise of the Year.

Marie’s vision led to Employers For Childcare being founded 20 years ago this year. Since then her tenacity and social entrepreneurial spirit have taken the organisation from a small community project to a successful self-financing organisation which encompasses the UK’s only Social Enterprise Childcare Voucher company. Her most recent achievement is the opening of a £2.5 million indoor adventure centre, High Rise, in Lisburn, which is inclusive and accessible for those with special and additional needs and allows families to enjoy outings and activities together, thanks to its innovative sensory rooms.

These achievements have been recognised at an international level, with former First Lady, Senator and Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton having written to Marie recently to commend Employers For Childcare on their milestone year and to acknowledge Marie’s own role in the organisation’s success.

Thrilled with her win, Marie commented: “I’m completely overwhelmed – and totally surprised – to have been given this Award, as well as incredibly humbled.  As anyone who knows me is aware, I am passionate about social enterprise, so to be recognised in this way by my friends across the sector means so much to me. My focus has always been around helping parents to get into and stay in work, and this remains at the centre of what we do in Employers For Childcare. We are very excited that our new indoor adventure centre, High Rise, which only opened earlier this month, will allow us to continue this work into the future.

“I would like to pay tribute to all of the Social Enterprises represented at these Awards. It was a privilege to be recognised amongst such worthy organisations, all of which do an incredible job in delivering positive social impact and helping to create a better world for all of us. The evening was a true celebration, and I would like to commend the team at Social Enterprise NI for organising such a superb event, we are already looking forward to next year!”

Adding his congratulations Michael Stevenson, Chair of Employers For Childcare, said: “I’d like to congratulate Marie and the whole team at Employers For Childcare on their double success at these prestigious Awards. Marie’s enthusiasm for Social Enterprise is infectious. In the last year alone, Employers For Childcare, under her leadership, invested almost £1 million into our charity as a result of our Social Enterprise activities. This investment allowed us to collectively identify almost £13.2 million in financial support for parents – that’s £13.2 million back in parents’ pockets and in the wider economy across the UK – a real demonstration of positive social impact in action.”

Colin Jess, Director of Social Enterprise NI said “Social Enterprise NI would like to congratulate both Marie and also Employers for Childcare on being recognised at last Friday’s Gala Awards evening which showcased the best that the sector has to offer.  Marie’s recognition was a fitting tribute from her peers and reflected the role that Marie has played in establishing and growing not only her own organisation but the social enterprise sector in Northern Ireland over many years.  The Social Enterprise of the Year award to Employers For Childcare reflects the amazing year that has passed and most notably the growth and strength of the organisation in face of significant challenges.  We are delighted to have both Marie and Employers For Childcare as part of our membership and sector”