The festive season is a time for reflection, for love and cheer, for making memories and spending quality time with family and friends. It is also a time for community and for charity.
The cost of living crisis continues to affect people across the island of Ireland, but also social enterprises and businesses striving to deliver social impact in the Community and Voluntary Sector.
As you contemplate your Christmas list this year, why not consider some of the gifts and activities that support social enterprises in your area? Delivered by volunteers and community champions, these home-grown experiences and products are great gift ideas, and will also deliver social impact to communities that are local to you in Ulster.
Here are just a few ideas for you to think about:
The Strand Arts Centre, Co. Antrim
Strand Arts Centre is the only remaining cinema from Northern Ireland’s golden era. A jewel of Art Deco design, the venue has been at the heart of the East Belfast community for decades.
This year’s Christmas movie offerings include classics and family favourites: It’s a Wonderful Life, Home Alone, Elf, Muppets’ Christmas Carol and Die Hard (Is it a Christmas movie?).
Their live Christmas spectacle for 2022 is Once Upon A Time: A Magical Princess Adventure with shows on 2nd and 3rd December and the CBeebies Panto Dick Whittington and His Cat (which will screen live at the Strand on 3rd,4th, 10th and 11th December) are a great excuse for some quality time with the kids to get you in the festive mood.
For more information, to book your tickets, or to buy Strand gift vouchers for the cinephiles in your family, visit the Strand’s website.
Bolster Community, Co. Down
Bolster Community (formerly Space NI) is a charity and social enterprise that offers practical support for individuals and families, helping them to get through and get ahead.
As part of their activity the organisation manage the candle-making social enterprise Acorn. Every Acorn product is handmade in Northern Ireland by a gifted community of young adults with additional needs. They provide their makers with a ‘scents’ of achievement and ensure every purchase provides them with pride, purpose and opportunity. By buying social, all profits from your purchase goes back into supporting Bolster Community’s vital services.
You can buy one of their unique scented candles from their website, a perfect stocking filler.
Martin Hurls, Co. Antrim
Martin Hurls is an artisan maker of hand-made hurls used in Gaelic Games. As well as producing some of the best hurls in Ireland, they also have a range of equipment, apparel and mementos to keep you looking & playing your best. The perfect gift for sport lovers at Christmas time. Check out their range online.
Community Finance Ireland have teamed up with Martin Hurls to offer a £100 voucher to spend on their wares. One lucky winner will win this in our Facebook Competition running in the lead up to Christmas. To be in with a chance of winning simply visit our the Facebook post and follow the instructions to be entered into the draw.
Spending your time and money in these venues and on these products not only helps deliver social impact but is an endorsement that, the local volunteers and committees’ efforts are valued.
#SocialTime is always a good time.