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SOCIAL ENTERPRISE TRANSFORMS BUSINESS MODEL TO PROTECT JOBS

In the face of Covid-19 adversity, a County Antrim-based social enterprise has transformed its business model to keep adults with disabilities in employment.

Clearer, known for selling its premium purified bottled water to the Irish hospitality sector, has diversified its product offering to launch Clearer Hand Sanitiser – an environmentally responsible sanitising product range.  

The social enterprise, which was launched back in 2016 by Access Employment Ltd, saw a significant Covid-19 impact, with 95% of its customer base being from the hospitality sector. The profits made from the hand sanitiser will be reinvested back into the business to keep nine people in paid employment and continue creating work experience opportunities for young people with additional needs.

Access Employment Ltd provides work for disadvantaged adults, many of whom begin training from as young as 16, supporting them with effective training, enabling them to qualify for paid positions and progress within the organisation or with other employers.

Proven to kill 99.99% of bacteria and viruses including COVID-19, Clearer Hand Sanitiser will be bottled on site at its Larne-based factory. Its ‘Return, Refill and Reuse’ proposition encourages customers to return their empty containers after use to reduce plastic waste. Each time an empty 5lt container is returned for refill, the organisation will donate £1 to Northern Ireland Cancer Fund for Children, a local charity that is facing a significant shortfall in funding due to the pandemic.

David Hunter, CEO of Access Employment Limited spoke about the organisation’s latest innovation, saying:

“As a social enterprise, all Clearer profits go directly back into the organisation, where the money is used to change people’s lives and create job opportunities for them. When the sales of the bottled water dropped significantly, the organisation looked at ways to diversify its product to sustain people in employment.

“Despite the fact everyone’s lives have been affected by the pandemic since March, the demand for hand sanitiser continues to grow, especially now we’re in the winter months and infection rates are on the rise.

“Each bottle of Clearer Hand Sanitiser carries a QR Code that can be scanned by our customers and they can find out more information about the work we do and about the people they have helped support in employment by their decision to buy Clearer Hand Sanitiser. We hope that the narrative behind the new product will encourage people to support the organisation so we can continue to assist disadvantaged people in the community.”

Prices for Clearer Hand Sanitiser start from £23.76 for the 100ml range and can be purchased from clearerhands.co.uk Follow the organisation on Twitter @clearer_water / @AccessEmployme1 and on Facebook  www.facebook.com/accessemployment.co.uk