1325. Edel Doherty
Edel Doherty, from Belfast, is a businesswoman and board member of NOW Group, a Belfast social enterprise which has helped over 700 adults with learning difficulties into training and employment.
The social enterprise has supported over 80 people into paid work and over 120 to gain qualifications. They run several cafés across the city, and will host Valentine’s Day events staffed by people with autism who have been employed by NOW. They have also introduced JAM cards – ‘Just A Minute’ – to discreetly and easily enable people with a learning difficulty, autism or communication barrier to request patience while out in public using transport or being served.
In a personal letter to Edel, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:
“I know you do this with no thought of praise or reward, but allow me to offer my own recognition of how you have helped hundreds of adults with learning difficulties into training and employment. Your cafés across Belfast are a fantastic example of creative ways to support employment.”
“I feel it is my duty to give back and to serve alongside creating employment and contributing to our economy and society. I am truly humbled to receive this award.”