In recognition of their contribution in delivering significant social impact, leading Larne-based business, Kilwaughter Minerals Limited has won the prestigious ‘Stakeholder of the Year’ title at this year’s Social Enterprise NI Awards.

The coveted accolade, which is awarded to an organisation demonstrating excellence in social responsibility, was announced during a virtual ceremony attended by more than 200 guests from social enterprise, private, public, and educational sectors, and hosted by Social Enterprise NI Ambassador, Cate Conway.

For almost 20 years, Kilwaughter has enjoyed a business and social partnership with Access Employment Limited (AEL), Northern Ireland’s first social firm, established to support those with disabilities, health conditions, and social disadvantage into meaningful employment.

Over this timeframe, the partnership has enabled almost 300 additional-needs adults in Larne and surrounding areas to gain a beneficial insight into working within construction and manufacturing, learn new skills, boost their self-confidence, and explore options for further career and educational opportunities.

Speaking of her pride at beating stiff competition to be named ‘Stakeholder of the Year’ 202, Head of Organisational Development at Kilwaughter Minerals, Fiona Byrne said:

“Here at Kilwaughter, we believe that our local communities should benefit from our presence.

“Commitment to social value is in our DNA and our business strategy has been built around inclusion of the social enterprise sector so it is wonderful news that our partnership with AEL has been recognised this year and it is an honour to be named ‘Stakeholder of the Year’.”

Explaining how AEL is not just a bit-part in its operations but an integral link in the Kilwaughter supply chain, Fiona continued:

“AEL is now responsible for manufacturing and distributing more than 50% of our K Rend sample tiles which are often the very first touchpoint we have with potential customers.

“As a trusted partner, we know we rely on AEL to produce products to the highest possible standard and specification that enable customers to make an informed decision about their product needs and ultimately help them chose Kilwaughter as their provider of choice.”

Initially focused on the manufacturing of samples for Kilwaughter’s K Rend brand, the remit of AEL has grown simultaneously with Kilwaughter’s growth over the last decade and now supports Kilwaughter’s other segments, K Systems and Kilwaughter Lime.

David Hunter, Chief Executive at Access Employment Limited who also picked up an individual accolade at this year’s Social Enterprise NI awards, the ‘Leader of the Year’ award, said:

“Kilwaughter Minerals should be applauded for its progressive approach to business as it has been championing social impact since social enterprises were in their infancy in Northern Ireland and long before social value was deemed a measurable component of a company’s success.

“What started as an outsourcing of one function all those years ago has evolved into a multi-faceted partnership where one organisation is almost synonymous with the other in our local community.”

David, who has been at the helm of AEL for the past decade, continued:

“There is no other organisation in the County Antrim area who is delivering the social impact, empowering the social sector, or enhancing the lives of local residents quite like Kilwaughter Minerals, and no other company more deserving of the ‘Stakeholder of the Year’ award.”

For more information on operations at Kilwaughter Minerals and how the organisation harnesses social enterprises to maximise economic, environmental, and social benefits, visit