MEMBERS of a South Belfast social enterprise gym are biking their way to better health thanks to a £20,000 from the Housing Executive.

The Shaftesbury Community and Recreation Social Enterprise has received the funding to purchase new gym equipment. Twenty brand new Pulse Group spin bikes, with onboard computers, are now in place in the Laganside facility off the Lower Ormeau Road.

Dozens of local projects across the north are also celebrating after receiving grants totalling £500,000 for a range of social enterprise initiatives from the Housing Executive.

Community cafés, mental health support services, furniture upcycling initiatives and shared space projects are among a number benefiting from the Social Housing Investment Scheme.

Aimed at building services and creating new jobs in local housing communities, the individual awards ranged from £1,000 to £50,000. The scheme forms an integral part of the Housing Executive’s new Social Housing Enterprise Strategy.

Gerard Rice, Manager of the Shaftesbury Community and Recreation Centre, said: “We’d like to thank the Housing Executive for this great support – it really is going to provide big improvements for our service users.

“Without doubt, the biggest challenge for a social enterprise like ours is the ongoing maintenance and replacement of equipment. The fitness industry is so competitive and it’s hard for us to get the edge against large, private, commercial gyms and our new spin bikes are already in use.”

Housing Executive Social Enterprise Liaison Manager Paul Carland said: “Supporting projects like this helps our society tackle employability issues and helps improve quality of life for our tenants.

“We wish the team at the Shaftesbury Community and Recreation Centre the very best of luck in for the future.”

For more information on the Shaftesbury Community and Recreation Centre, please visit

For more information on the Housing Executive’s Social Housing Investment Scheme, go online at