Fold Housing Association marked its 40th anniversary as a social enterprise with staff, tenants, volunteers and clients who gathered at Cultra Manor for a celebratory dinner.
Fold, which began in 1976 to meet housing and care needs for older people, has developed a network of sheltered housing, housing with care and related care services across Northern Ireland.
Diana Fitzsimons, Chair, said: “I congratulate Fold for its achievements. And credit must go to Fold’s pioneers for their leadership and foresight. Other great housing associations emerged at the time for whose partnership we have been grateful over the years.
She added: “Fold has close to 100 sheltered schemes across the province, each an oasis of community support and a shared future, offering value for money and relief from social isolation and fuel poverty. We have over 6,600 homes under management and 23,000 TeleCare service users. We have expanded our offering on projects such as Visteon to include employment and community investment.
“Fold is now a very significant SME in Northern Ireland terms. We have a turnover of £40m, private borrowings of £115m and employ 900 staff. With an annual programme of around 350 new houses, we are investing close to £50m each year in the local construction and servicing industries.
Diana commended the work of Fold’s senior teams, managers and all the staff who have made it all possible. She added: “ In terms of board members, I must praise their work – all voluntary – over the years. They have all made a difference, helping to shape the organisation we see today. Volunteers are invaluable and what they do is special.
“Just as 40 years ago, customers remain at the core of what we do and we remain fully committed to providing the very best in housing, care and support.”
Guests enjoyed entertainment from Sullivan Upper Cultural Group and St Patrick’s Primary School choir.
Pictured above: John McLean, Chief Executive of Fold Housing Association and Shauna McRandal, a Primary 7 pupil at St Patrick’s Primary School in Holywood, putting the finishing touches to Fold’s 40th anniversary cake.