Developer behind new Belfast hotels honoured with European award

Lawrence Kenwright is the developer behind the Lanyon Hotel, which will be located in the former Crumlin Road Courthouse

A LIVERPOOL hotel developer, who plans to create over 400 hundred jobs in Belfast, has been recognised with a prestigious European award.

Lawrence Kenwright, whose Signature Living company is behind the George Best and Lanyon Hotels in the city, has been named ‘Role Model of the Year' at the European Diversity Awards, in recognition of the hundreds of jobs he has created for people from working class and disadvantaged backgrounds.

Signature Living is developing the George Best Hotel through the renovation of the Scottish Mutual Building in Belfast city centre and is undertaking the £25 million redevelopment of the historic Crumlin Road Court House for the Lanyon Hotel. The former is due to open in June next year, while the latter project is due for completion in October. In September Mr Kenwright also confirmed that the War Memorial Building on Waring Street will be the location for the third of at least four hotels in the city. Through the various developments the company is expected to create up to 100 apprenticeship opportunities for young people in Belfast, with the George Best and Lanyon Hotels expected to employ over four hundred local people when they open.

Lawrence Kenwright grew up in inner city Liverpool and now oversees his company's employment and training social mobility programme, which has resulted in hundreds of young people securing long-term employment across the various UK cities in which they operate.

“You don't have to have the best education in the world to make something of yourself," Mr Kenwright said.

“There's a perception that working class people don't want to work anymore, or that they think they're too good for certain jobs. Some employers treat people from disadvantaged backgrounds with a lot of caution. In reality, if you give someone a good job with the prospect of learning new skills, and with opportunities for advancement, you will find that they will work hard and do themselves proud.

“We don't want people who sit behind a desk all day, we want motivated people who are passionate enough to be brilliant: and believe me, there are loads of them in Belfast," he added.

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