From humble beginnings
Partas, formerly known as Get Tallaght Working (GTW) was set up in 1984 in response to increasing levels of unemployment and disadvantage within Tallaght. The founding members believed that enterprise creation and self-employment offered real opportunities to those who found it difficult to find employment during the bleak 1980s. In 1986 Partas appointed its first enterprise officer who was located in the old Telectron building, then owned by the IDA. With financial support from St Vincent de Paul and FÁS, the old factory was transformed into an enterprise centre in the mid 80s and has been managed by Partas ever since. In 1991, Partas appointed its first Chief Executive Office, Gerard Doyle, an important decision which helped to shape the organisation, and positioned it well for the rapid growth which followed. In 1999 Partas successfully purchased the building from the IDA, marking an important achievement for the ambitious Community Business.
Social enterprises like Partas constantly face funding challenges, and so it was of significant import that Tallaght Partnership, following its inception in 1991, sub-contracted a significant portion of its enterprise programme to Partas. This enabled the organisation to expand its services to its client base, and firmly established Partas as a key player in the development of the local economy. In addition to enterprise supports for individuals, Partas established a Social Economy Unit in 1997 to provide management & enterprise supports to community businesses in Tallaght; for example, it has supported The Fettercairn Youth Horse Project, Tallaght Childcare Company and HEAT ltd.
A dedicated Staff team
Partas started off with one part time enterprise officer and now employs 23 staff members and manages a further 30 staff via the FAS Community Employment (CE) and Job Initiative (JI) Schemes. Partas has successfully sponsored a FAS CE programme since 1994 and is proud of the fact that more than 50% of the permanent staff members are former CE/JI participants.
An appropriate space for enterprise
A key factor in creating and supporting an entrepreneurial culture in Tallaght is the provision of affordable and suitable workspace. Since 1984 Partas has worked with State agencies, NGOs, Businesses and Community Representatives in developing enterprise space and now manages four successful Community Enterprise Centres, namely:
- 1986 Tallaght Enterprise Centre - 19,000 sq ft
- 1995 Bolbrook Enterprise Centre – 8, 000 sq ft
- 1998 Brookfield Enterprise Centre - 26,000 sq ft
- 2002 Killinarden Enterprise Park - 22,000 sq. ft
In addition to its core work in Tallaght, Partas has participated in many EU programmes over the past 25+ years and has significantly benefited from its experience with European partners. Some of the programmes it has been involved in are highlighted below:
- EQUAL - SONAS Programme – EU funded EQUAL programme dealing with Asylum Seekers with partners from Cork,Dublin, Limerick and Wexford.
- EQUAL EMERGE – (2005) – Ethnic minority entrepreneurship
- EQUAL Senior Select Retrain Retain – (2005) – Older age employment
- WISELINK – Interreg IIIA (2001) - Wales & Ireland Social Economy Link, capacity building programme for community businesses.
- WINSENT – Interreg 4a (2009) – Wales Ireland Network for Social Entrepreneurship
The story behind our name
In 2001, Get Tallaght Working was renamed Partas. The name was chosen through a public competition in The Echo newspaper. As an organisation based in Tallaght, and proud its achievements in Tallaght we felt that the name should have some relevance to its history. The winner Mr Jerry McSwiney , recalled how his mother, who was a keen folklorist, used to refer to Partas’ people in relation to the people of Tallaght. This was a reference back to the mythical Partholonians, for whom Tallaght is their resting place, as still recalled in the Irish version of the Tallaght name: “Tamhleacht Muintire Parthalon”
The Partholonians came to inhabit this island some 2,500 years B.C. When the Partholonians arrived in Ireland, it was one treeless, grassless plain. The people of Partas worked to increase the size of the land and through their work it flourished and many new livelihoods and skills sprang up that had never before existed. It is claimed that they were the first to cook, brew and engage in other new and productive activities, even establishing the first guesthouse. They thrived successfully for many centuries until wiped out by a mysterious plague.
The name PARTAS was again used by the early monastic scribes when they referred to Tallaght as ‘Partas Eireann’ orIreland’s Garden of Eden and it was here that that Archbishops of Dublin had their summer residences for many hundreds of years.
The logo for the company was designed by Cathal Sweeney I.C.A.D.
- the stylisation of the initial letter in Partas is meant to symbolise the tree of life, the flame of hope and the leaf of growth.
- Manages 4 enterprise centres
- 53 staff (23 employed directly by Partas and 30 employed via FAS community Employment or Job Initiative)
- Advice and support given to over 6000 enterprise clients
- 71,000 square feet of Community & Enterprise space
- 140 workspace units
- 400 staff employed in its centres
- Tackle increasing unemployment in our communities through the promotion of self employment and social entrepreneurship
- Continue to expand and widen our services
- Tackle new and emerging target groups in our community
- Continuing to lobby on issues affecting target groups
- Concentrate on further developing EU partnerships and capitalise on funding opportunities