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About Ashton

About Ashton

Ashton started in the Eighties as a small community organisation in the New Lodge which launched a share drive in the local community. Over  seven hundred people purchased shares which allowed the group to  purchase the land on which the Ashton Centre now stands. It has since  developed and it now has a turnover in excess of £3million and employs  over 120 people in some of the most deprived wards in Northern Ireland.  It owns five centres across North Belfast and is seen internationally  as a model of best practice.

It has won a BURA Award for best practice in regeneration, Best  Social Enterprise 2011 in Belfast Business Awards, Enterprising Britain  Award, first community/ Voluntary sector organization to be part of  OFMDFM Best practice scheme, highly commended in Irish News best place  to work 2011.

Ashton’s mission, as defined in its 3 year strategic plan, is ‘To  promote positive change and improve the quality of life of the North  Belfast community’.

Ashton Community trust (ACT) operates in without doubt one of the  worst urban areas in Northern Ireland.  This part of Belfast, as well  suffering the severe social and economic demise of many communities  found in old industrial centres, was doubly hit throughout the period of  the conflict with the highest rates of violent deaths and destruction.   This bold initiative took place in the pre-Good Friday period and was  an enormous risk, but one that paid off and was to be the beginning of  the transformation of the area.  Since then they have remained in  community ownership and continued to build in an extremely  entrepreneurial way a large and successful Community Trust with major  assets and job creation.

Over the last three years Ashton has developed three new Centres in  North Belfast at a cost of over £4 million and it now employs over 110  people. This has been done by re-investing surpluses and managing its  income.

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