Ashton is an award winning social regeneration charity that works to deliver real benefits for local people. It was formally established in 1991 with a mission ‘To promote positive change and improve the quality of life of the North Belfast community.’ Located in the New Lodge area of North Belfast it works to address severe levels of social and economic deprivation. 

Over the last 25 years Ashton has supported thousands of people through its community accessible programmes. These services are delivered by Ashton’s departments which include: Bridge of Hope, FabLab, Kinderkids Daycare, New Lodge Arts, New Lodge Youth Centre, Social Enterprise Hub and Training & Employment Services. The organisation, underpinned by a strong community development commitment, aims to provide a one-stop-shop for local needs. This holistic approach includes services that work to support educational, employment and training requirements; childcare needs; physical and emotional health as well as cultural and arts expressions.

Ashton’s policy of reinvesting in the North Belfast community means the majority of their 230-strong workforce are local people which in turn has brought stability to the area. The organisation has sought to regenerate not only by creating jobs but also by turning derelict pieces of land into thriving social spaces.  ACT has an operating turnover of circa £7m.

Ashton is viewed internationally as a model of best practice for its community regeneration achievements. In 2013 and 2017 it was appointed NI Social Enterprise of the Year and was recognised for its community ethos and social impact. It currently holds ISO9001:2008 certification and in 2015 was awarded the prestigious “Excellence 5 Star” accreditation by the European Foundation for Quality Management (EFQM). In January 2016 a further assessment was completed by EFQM in which Ashton were awarded an Ireland Excellence certificate for its culture of excellence, robust systems and processes as well as its capacity to drive innovation and continually improve results.

Ashton Departments are:

Training & Employment

Culture & Arts

Design Fabrication

Health & Wellbeing

Childcare & Family Support

Youth Development

Community Impact

Mike Mullan Chair

Sharon O’Connor Interim Chief Executive

Why Ashton Community Trust is supporting Boardroom Apprentice

“We have a strong board but are keen to develop further and believe that fresh eyes on our strategic mission as it is renewed would be helpful to us and to the development of the individual Apprentice.”

Location of Board and Committee Meetings

Monthly, Belfast 

Frequency and timing of board/committee meetings

Board meetings are at 6pm committees vary but the majority are late afternoon/5pm.

Date of Board Meetings (September 2021 – August 2022)

2nd Thursday of each month 

Committee of the Boards and meeting dates (September 2021 – August 2022)

Vary but the majority 2nd week