The Galgorm Collection has confirmed a new three year strategic partnership with the Now Group which will see the first ever Gold Jam Card membership on the island of Ireland awarded to a hospitality partner.

Established in 2000, the Now Group is a social enterprise focused on supporting people with learning difficulties and autism into jobs with a future. The group’s Jam Card Gold Membership is awarded to companies that demonstrably place diversity and accessibility at the heart of business.

Through the programme, Galgorm Collection will place its full team through training to become Jam Card friendly, which means that guests requiring additional time and patience can discretely alert team members and ask for ‘Just A Minute’. It is hoped that the new initiative will help to support guests and visitors with learning difficulties, autism, or communication barriers to experience its full five-star service.

Galgorm Collection has also committed to creating at least five new jobs for people living with autism and enrolled with Now Group’s employment service. The new jobs cover a range of hospitality roles throughout Galgorm’s collection of properties in Belfast, Ballymena, Crawfordsburn and Templepatrick.

Tiarnán O’Neill, Group Finance Director at Galgorm Collection, said: “As a responsible business and major local employer, Galgorm Collection is deeply committed to excellence and inclusivity which is firmly embedded within our business. We’re delighted to be the first hospitality partner on the island of Ireland set to achieve Gold Jam Card Membership status and affirm our commitment to supporting our communities.”

Maeve Monaghan, Chief Executive of Now Group, said: “Since launching the Jam Card initiative in 2012, the scheme has been a resounding success with more than 1,800 organisations across the region participating in the training programme. We’re delighted to now build upon that momentum by announcing a new strategic partnership with Northern Ireland’s leading hospitality group which will take the programme to the next level.

“Galgorm Collection is a key strategic partner for us and we’re excited to work closely with the group to deliver upon this new programme.”

In addition to the new jobs created, Galgorm Collection will further support the Now Group’s social enterprise Loaf Pottery. Located in Crawfordsburn, the café and ceramics shop sits directly opposite Galgorm Collection’s newest venture, The Old Inn, which was acquired by the group earlier this year.

Through the partnership, pottery and ceramics crafted from the shop will be made available for sale across Galgorm Collection’s properties, reaching an expanded customer base and promoting the enterprise to new audiences.

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