About Us

Belfast Unemployed Resource Centre
Who we are
The Belfast Unemployed Resource Centre (BURC) was set up in September 1984 and the premises were open in 1985.
The Northern Ireland Trade Union Education & Social Centre (NITU) is a charitable organisation operating as Belfast Unemployed Resource Centre (BURC) whose aims and objectives are to provide support, education/training and facilities to the unemployed and other groups suffering from social and economic disadvantage.
NITU/BURC aims to be recognised as an innovative provider in effecting change towards a fair and inclusive society.
To promote equality, through supporting the participation and inclusion of all individuals, groups and communities.
The core values of the organisation are to deliver sustainable activities and services, through a flexible creative approach based on partnership, networking, accountability and leadership.


Our History
The early 1980s is remembered largely for an economic recession coupled with the election of a Tory Government led by Margaret Thatcher.
It was also marked as the beginning of the global influence of neo-liberalism which was the rational for Thatcherism as it is now known.
Subsequently the prevailing economic strategy led to a focus on services, privatisation and deregulation of public assets and services.
This strategy had a devastating impact on mining, shipbuilding and manufacturing sectors in the UK.
Northern Ireland was one of the areas that suffered disproportionately due to our reliance on engineering, shipbuilding, textiles and light manufacturing.
The net result was decline and closure of most of the above sectors with corresponding rise in unemployment and poverty throughout Northern Ireland.
In 1984 the Northern Ireland Committee of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions examined a range of initiatives, which might be taken to highlight the plight of the unemployed and to provide them with community support. Accordingly, in association with the Workers’ Educational Association and the Belfast Law Centre, it established the Belfast Unemployed Resource Centre, which was formally opened by John Hewitt, (Poet). (Hence the name of the John Hewitt Bar).


The objectives and political philosophies of BURC are to:
• Provide a Centre which will promote the interests and benefits of the unemployed and other social and economically disadvantaged groups without prejudice of age, gender, sexual orientation or religious opinions.
• Provide education, training, advice, representation and counselling to the unemployed, the citizens of Belfast and Northern Ireland.
• Provide information and campaign on the issues, problems and social benefits affecting the unemployed.
• Promote and conduct research into the causes of unemployment.
• To campaign against and expose the broader issue of poverty.

Originally in 1984 our premises were leased, however BURC negotiated a purchase clause and in 1987 we purchased our premises.
Since then we have expanded through purchasing 3 adjacent buildings.
BURC has always been an advocate for the Social Economy through the expansion of Social Enterprises. In 1999 BURC setup the John Hewitt Bar & Restaurant in one of our adjacent premises.


Download our Annual Summary here, read our news and what we have been up to

Annual Summary 2019 – 2020

BURC_Annual_Summary_2020- 2021


Meet the BURC Staff

Aisling CartmillRoutes to Resilience Co-ordinator


Adele MooreFinance Manager


Joanne FarrellWelfare Advice


Claudia BelloniCo-ordinator Orientation Programme


Arthur McKeownEnglish for Employability | The Belfast Programme


Download our Annual Summary 2017

Annual Summary in PDF format
Click to Download