The difference development makes

17 Aug 2015 Sandra Bailie    Last updated: 10 Nov 2015

Mid and East Antrim Agewell Partnership Ready Steady Cook event

NICVA has been working with The Big Lottery Fund Reaching Out Connecting Older People (ROCOP) grant holders since 2011 supporting them to deliver their outcomes and effectively manage and deliver their projects.

The ROCOP development and support contract delivered by NICVA provides information, support, training and networking opportunities to all of the 65 ROCOP grant holders. Between February 2014 and May 2015 sixty-one training sessions were delivered with over 550 participants. One hundred and six people came along to two networking events on measuring your impact and engaging the hard to reach to discuss best practice, share ideas and develop straegies to deal with challenges they face. Grant holders have also benefitted from a number of accredited training programmes such as ILM level 3 in Leadership and Management, ILM level 3 in management of volunteers and TQUK level 3 in Education and Training.

 In June we surveyed all of the grant holders to evaluate the impact of the programme on the organisations involved and were delighted that 85% of them reported that the development and support programme had helped the to deliver their outcomes by increasing the confidence and skills of their staff and volunteers and supporting them to follow best practice.

Foyle Sign Language Centre said “We have grown in confidence as an organisation through training and because of advice and guidance received which in turn allows us to make decisions with confidence regarding our project."

78% said that the programme had resulted in them being better informed, more connected and more skilled which has helped them to effectively manage and deliver their projects. Cancer Focus commented "The variety of the training supported the project staff in terms of effectively managing the project particularly in the initial stages. Networking opportunities with the other ROCOP grantees also helped provided practical tips and useful information sharing in terms of project delivery."

Mid and East Antrim Agewell Partnership (MEAAP) is one of the ROCOP grant holders and Deirdre McCloskey, the Project Development Officer, commented on the impact that the development and support programme has had on their organisation.

"MEAAP have 130 core volunteers that deliver the majority of their services to older people, they are vital to the organisation and it is important that they are supported and managed well. We have volunteers in a wide range of areas: Good morning service phoning older people every morning, fitting security equipment, administration, giving advice, befrienders and on their board. We attended the volunteer management training to increase our skills and learn how to sustain the service and support volunteers, as well as finding out about legislation that impacts on volunteers. We have recruited a high number of new volunteers which has allowed us to expand the services we provide. As a result of the training we have reviewed our volunteer policies and procedures so that they comply with best practice. We have also developed a volunteer induction pack and an expression of interest form. The learning from the programme has helped us to more effectively communicate the impact of volunteers in our organisation and their valued contribution. Staff also completed practical skills in completing application forms and this has gave them tips and techniques to improve our funding applications. The social media training we attended has made us more confident in using social media. We are now using Twitter more and have more followers which means that we are getting our message out to more people and have a stronger base for lobbying and fundraising. The social media session has highlighted our need to learn more about online fundraising and how develop a clear message about the impact we are making."

by Sandra Bailie

Head of Organisational Development

[email protected]

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