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Gary Irvine Appointed as Chair of the NOW Group

Published on: 16 June 2016

NOW Group, one of Northern Ireland’s leading social enterprises, has named Gary Irvine as their new chairman.

Gary Irvine, managing director at 4c Executive Search, will work alongside the NOW Group CEO, Maeve Monaghan, the board and full staff team to drive further development of the charity across Northern Ireland.

Recently awarded ‘NI Social Enterprise’ Regional Winner by PwC, NOW Group works to move people with learning difficulties into paid employment, training, transition and volunteering.

Commenting on Mr Irvine’s appointment, Maeve Monaghan said: “This is a very exciting time for NOW as we look to expand our core services across Northern Ireland and scale up our social enterprises – Loaf Catering and Cafés, and Gauge CIC.

“Gary is a highly reputed and respected business leader in Northern Ireland, having grown a large, £40m recruitment organisation over 26 years, which was sold last year to a UK plc.  It goes without saying that we are thrilled to have someone with his reputation on board. Gary’s experience and networks in the recruitment industry will no doubt prove to be an extremely valuable asset to NOW, in helping us to work closely with companies across the province to provide new employment opportunities for people with learning difficulties.”

NOW Group also operates Loaf Catering, a fast-growing social enterprise, with two cafés in Belfast and a corporate catering business.  The profits generated from Loaf provide great opportunities for people with learning difficulties.  The two sites, namely the Bobbin Café in Belfast City Hall, and the Loaf Café in West Belfast are accredited training sites, in which 40 placements-a-week are offered to people with learning difficulties in need of employment.

The appointment was also warmly welcomed by incoming chairman, Gary Irvine, who commented: “I have long been an admirer of the work of this wonderful organisation and am delighted to be appointed chairman of NOW.

“I believe that, if given the chance to get into learning and employment, adults with learning difficulties and disabilities can be a huge asset to society, so NOW’s work is extremely encouraging and inspirational.

“I am confident that my expertise in the recruitment industry in Northern Ireland, coupled with NOW’s commitment and ambition to help these people overcome these barriers and achieve their goal of paid employment, will prove to be a successful combination, during this period of growth for the NOW Group.”

Gary has previously chaired Manchester-based Neuven Solutions Ltd, and between 2005 and 2007 was the Chairman of the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) UK, the official trade body of the £30bn UK recruitment industry.  Gary still holds his position as Director at the REC.

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