Case Studies

Seán’s story

How gaining a broader network in Dublin inspired Seán to found a social enterprise

Seán Mullan, Founder & Director, Third Space

“Back in the “noughties” my life in a Dublin suburb was quiet and reasonably predictable. I had worked for twenty years in leadership of a faith community and in a variety of voluntary roles in the community sector. Then in my forties I felt I was “doing my bit” and enjoying it. I was keen to lead and open to challenge but safe in my familiarity with a sector I understood.

“An invitation to one of the early Common Purpose programmes in Dublin in 2005 changed that. I was exposed to the city as a whole, to sectors I had never given much thought to and to people I would normally never have met. I worked with leaders from finance, government, education and business and discovered how little I really knew about the city. That programme proved to be a wind of change that led me in a new direction.

“Six years after the programme finished I opened the doors of a social enterprise centred on hospitality. Third Space seeks to change the city around the table. It is a financially self-sustaining business that mixes top-notch urban hospitality with many additional community benefits. These include space for local community initiatives, social employment programmes, financial support for small causes in the area and a welcoming “hub” for the local workers and residents. With 25 staff and hundreds of regular customers in our two venues, Third Space crosses the sectors of the city and exists to promote the wellbeing of the city. And I’m still meeting people from across the city’s many sectors—they’re coming through our doors every day.”