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eNews 13 February 2012

  1. Full programme revealed for welfare reform conference
  2. Valuable lessons to be learned from CCNI report
  3. First meeting of unemployment policy forum
  4. Making a difference in your organisation
  5. The complete HR solution
  6. Matching services to need in an age of austerity
  7. Minister launches Social Enterprise Franchising Programme
  8. Opportunity to host an unpaid placement
  9. Northern Ireland Charity retail conference
  10. Be a saint - Volunteer
  11. Landmark event to help Northern Ireland's rural community enterprises
  12. Successful fundraising with social media
  13. Deadline fast approaching for BLF funding
  14. Craigavon to get 'Healthier choices, healthier families'
  15. Belfast City Council funding rounds closing soon
  16. Belfast and Lisburn Women's Aid awarded £900,000 by Big Lottery
  17. Bursaries available for People Power conference
  18. Bursary support for Northern Ireland Games Makers


1 Full programme revealed for welfare reform conference

Major conference on welfare reform – Tuesday 6 March 2012 from 9.15am – 4.30pm at NICVA

In light of the imminent changes and potential negative consequences for quite a substantial proportion of the citizens of Northern Ireland, NICVA and the Law Centre (NI) invite you to come along and attend a one day conference on the subject of welfare reform. You will have an opportunity to hear from and directly engage with prominent decision-makers, policy makers, and eminent contributors to the welfare reform debate both here in Northern Ireland and within the UK.

We are delighted to announce that Baroness Ruth Lister, who contributed significantly to the Bill as it passed through the House of Lords, has agreed to come and share her experience. Neil Couling, Director of the Department for Work and Pensions, will address the conference detailing the Government’s intentions behind the welfare reforms. Professor Malcolm Harrington who is currently working through the review of the Work Capability Assessment for Northern Ireland will be in attendance.  

Contributions will also be made by Les Allamby, Director of Law Centre (NI), and Professor Eileen Evason chair of Northern Ireland Joint Standards Committee for the Social Security Agency and Child Maintenance and Enforcement Division and senior members of the Social Security Agency. Political representatives Owen Patterson Secretary of State, Alex Maskey MLA, Chair of the Committee for Social Development, and other local MP’s and MLA’s, will likewise share their views on welfare reform with the audience.

Visit NICVA's website for further details on the conference programme and to book a place. Places are going quickly for this event so sign up soon to make sure you don't miss out!

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2 Valuable lessons to be learned from CCNI report

A report published by the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland (CCNI) has revealed that charities could learn valuable lessons from the concerns raised by members of the public with the Commission. The report entitled One hundred lessons to be learned highlights common mistakes and problems within charities and advises them on ways to get the basics right.

Since the Commission gained the power to investigate Northern Ireland charities in February 2011 it has received "a steady number of concerns about charities. The vast majority of these concerns have come from members of the public". January 2012 marked the one hundredth concern reported to the Commission, an average rate of one concern every other working day.

The Charity Commission's report found that many of the concerns raised to date by the public follow four main themes. These themes are:

  • poor governance in charities
  • poor financial controls
  • lack of transparency
  • the damage of disputes.

For more information on the report visit

In addition to the lessons for charities contained in CCNI's report, NICVA offers a range of resources, advice and training to enable charities to better meet their obligations. For more information visit

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3 First meeting of unemployment policy forum

The new Unemployment policy forum will hold its first meeting on Friday 17 February at 10.00am in the Belfast Unemployed Resource Centre (BURC) and will be chaired by Frank Tipping from BURC.

The aim of the forum will be to enhance the capacity of organisations active on the issue of unemployment to build links with each other, make policy responses and participate in policy development. Jim Russell from the Department for Employment and Learning (DEL) will attend the meeting to provide information and advice on how to develop a forward work plan for the forum.

As this will be the first meeting of the forum, the main objectives will be:

  • to develop a Terms of Reference
  • to discuss the future of DEL and how this will impact on any work carried out by the forum
  • to develop a forward work plan for the forum.

If you would like to attend the meeting, please book your place online or contact Cathy Breslin at

Date for your diary
The next Lobbying and advocacy policy forum will take place on Thursday 8 March at 11.00am in NICVA and will be joined by Vernon Coaker MP, the Shadow Secretary of State and Labour MP for Gedling in Nottinghamshire.

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4 Making a difference in your organisation

NICVA's training calendar offers a wealth of courses to help you update your skills and make a difference to the day to day management of your organisation. Outlined below are just two of the courses on offer, however, to find out more about the full range of training available visit

Financial Management - This practical course will show you how to interpret financial information and in doing so make better decisions. This is a detailed introductory session that will suit anyone who has financial responsibility. The session will equip participants to interpret the main features of a balance sheet, a profit and loss account and a cashflow forecast. Using Excel, participants will examine the use of budgets, how they are produced and how they are used within an organisation.

Wednesday 22 February 2012, 10.00am-4.00pm, lunch included. Cost: members £75, non-members £110.

Managing Absence

Recent research by CareerBuilder found that 26% of staff had pulled a sickie last year with a fake excuse. Of those who called in sick, 16 per cent “just didn’t feel like going into work”, 13 per cent had a job interview lined up and 12 per cent wanted to catch up with housework or just to relax. Seven per cent said they wanted to avoid a client or colleague and six per cent to dodge the wrath of a boss. Six per cent called in because of bad weather or they had plans with friends or family.

This session will help you identify the main factors that lead to high levels of employee absence and looks at ways to reduce and manage absence. Participants will explore and improve policy and practice of absence management within their own organisations in an interactive way.

Tuesday 28 February 2012, 10.00am-1.00pm, lunch included. Cost: members £50, non-members £70.

For more information or to book a place on these courses please click on the links above.

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5 The Complete HR solution

As the end of the financial year approaches, many organisations are finding themselves in need of Human Resources (HR) advice and support. At this time of year, employers in the sector may be faced with fixed term contracts coming to an end and uncertainty regarding further funding.

If you need reassurance, advice or more in-depth support Sector Matters and NICVA are here to help. Together we offer a complete HR service to suit all budgets:

NICVA HR support - NICVA continues to offer free telephone guidance or a second opinion on any HR issue. Susan Lavery, NICVA HR Manager has a wealth of expertise and knowledge on the full spectrum of HR issues.

Sector Matters' HR services - If your HR needs extend beyond telephone/email advice, Sector Matters, NICVA’s social enterprise, offers a comprehensive HR service delivered by Louise Foster, our in-house HR consultant along with a bank of experienced HR associates. For a competitive rate, Sector Matters can undertake work on your behalf such as recruitment and redundancy support, HR handbook and policy reviews, salary benchmarking and hands on employee relations support.

For NICVA telephone/email support contact Susan on 028 9087 7777 or email

For more details on Sector Matter’s HR services contact Louise on 028 9087 5015 or email

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6 Matching Services to need in an age of austerity

The manner in which the Northern Ireland Executive delivers public services is continually evolving. However, with the current period of financial stringency, coupled with changing demographics and ever increasing user expectations, we are potentially entering into a period of considerable change. It is clear that the voluntary and community sector will need to be abreast of changes in the commissioning, procurement and delivery of services.

The Centre for Economic Empowerment’s final masterclass in its current series will examine the changing nature of service delivery in Northern Ireland and introduce up to date analytical techniques that can be accessed to bring about the best possible services based on user need. The masterclass is on Friday 24 February from 10.30am-12.30pm at NICVA. For more information and to book your place please visit  

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7 Minister launches Social Enterprise Franchising Programme

Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster has announced a new programme that will provide intensive business support to help boost job creation in the social economy. The Social Enterprise Franchising Programme (SEFP) delivered by Ortus, The Business Development Agency, will help 10 social economy franchisors to accelerate their business growth and 20 franchisees to start up new social economy businesses. The programme is part of Invest Northern Ireland’s Jobs Fund and aims to create 285 new jobs.

The SEFP will provide participants with a package of intensive business support including one-to-one mentoring and an individual implementation plan for each franchisee and franchisor. If you would like to find out more about social franchising please come along to one of the following free awareness sessions:

  • Fermanagh - 20 February 2012, The Fermanagh Trust, Enniskillen
  • Tyrone - 21 February 2012, An Creagan, Omagh
  • Antrim - 22 February 2012, Stepping Stones, Lisburn
  • Derry/Londonderry - 23 February 2012, The Play House, Derry / Londonderry
  • Armagh - 24 February 2012, Shankill (Lurgan) Community Projects Limited
  • Down - 27 February 2012, Confederation of Community Groups, Newry
  • Down - 27 February 2012, Banbridge District Enterprises

If you would like to attend any of these sessions please contact

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8 Opportunity to host an unpaid placement

Interested in hosting an unpaid international placement in IT, admin., or social/community work?

Could your organisation benefit from some extra help for 8-11 weeks beginning in March or April? A group of graduates from Spain are coming to Belfast on an EU-funded programme to do unpaid work placements. Hosting a placement would give your organisation added capacity, and would give the participant the opportunity to develop personally and professionally. Participants have a range of skill sets, including IT systems management, marketing, and administration—participants are ‘matched’ to your organisation’s needs. The scheme is managed by the International Programmes team within RSM Tenon, which looks after accommodation, transport, insurance and closely supports the placement. Cooperation Ireland, DePaul Ireland, the British Red Cross, the National Trust, and East Belfast Mission are among the organisations which have previously hosted participants on successful placements. There are no costs to an organisation for hosting a participant.

For more information, or to express your interest in hosting a participant, please contact Ruth Baxter at or call 028 9072 5570.

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9 Northern Ireland Charity retail conference

Do you run a charity shop? Is collecting Retail Gift Aid a hassle for staff and volunteers? Want to streamline your admin and reporting systems from van deliveries through to stock management and even integration with web and mail order systems? Are you coming to the NI Charity Retail Conference? Answer yes and you should be sure to book into the session presented by Siobhan Robinson, the Trading Manager at St Wilfrid’s Hospice in Chichester at 1.15pm on 14 March.

For more information:

Northern Ireland Charity Retail Conference 2012

Date: Wednesday 14 March 2012 at NICVA, 61 Duncairn Gardens, Belfast

Alex Attwood MLA, Northern Ireland Minister for the Environment is the Keynote Speaker at this year’s Northern Ireland Charity Retail Conference. Designed to offer guidance to charity retailers, it will be of value both to current charity retailers and to those who are just considering starting a retail operation.

Full programme and details of costs available at:

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10 Be a Saint - Volunteer

Could your organisation benefit from a ‘saintly army of volunteers’?

Volunteer Now, in partnership with Business in the Community, is organising a day of voluntary action on Friday 16 March 2012 entitled Be a Saint – Volunteer! This annual event encourages employers to release their employees (in teams) to undertake volunteering projects in the community.

Many local charities have already received valuable help with a range of projects. Private and public sector organisations are now realising that team volunteering brings the opportunity for their employees to ‘get together’ away from the usual work environment and use their skills and experience to help others. Projects must be time limited to one day, be realistic in the nature of the work and offer a positive experience of volunteering. Past projects have included conservation / gardening work, decorating, mural painting and DIY.

If your organisation has a challenge which could be promoted as part of the programme or if you would like advice on how to benefit contact Lindsay Armstrong  or call 028 9020 0851.

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11 Landmark event to help Northern Ireland’s rural community enterprises 

A Northern Ireland group that has turned a struggling coastal village into a vibrant community hub will be in the spotlight at a major UK event offering advice and information on their experiences. Local organisation, Ballgally Community Development Association, near Larne, is attending the Big Lottery Fund’s Village SOS national conference - a landmark event in Birmingham that will help rural communities in the UK save vital services and reverse the trend of rural decline. The free-to-attend event - taking place on Monday 27 February Burlington House Hotel, Birmingham - is open to anyone in Northern Ireland with an interest in rural communities and community enterprise.

They will be joined by specialists from across the UK, including the East Down Rural Community Network, and business, funding experts, planning, and marketing professionals. The event will feature specialist workshops on topics like business planning and accessing finance, debates on issues facing rural communities and how they can be overcome, and the chance to have your say on what you need to rejuvenate your village.

For more information about the Birmingham event contact the Advice Team on 0845 434 9123 or visit

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12 Successful fundraising with social media

The Institute of Fundraising's Lunchtime Bites series continues with the February Bite: Social Media
Organising successful fundraising events with facebook: a white collar boxing case study - hosted by Dean Langasco

Wednesday 22 February 2012 from 1.30pm-3.00pm at NICVA, 61 Duncairn Gardens, Belfast, BT15 2GB

Dean Langasco set up his events and marketing business  'I Love Mondays'  seven years ago and since then has helped many organisations market their business as well as putting on fresh and exciting events, an area where Dean has undoubtedly found his niche. In one year I Love Mondays raised over £250,000 net for charities with Bungee Jump and Abseil events throughout Ireland. In the last year Dean has developed his own unique White Collar Boxing events. These events have raised substantial funds for charities and have been marketed solely through facebook! Come along and find out how Dean uses facebook to drive his events. This is a seminar not to be missed!

Cost: Institute of Fundraising members £7.50, non-members £10.00, payable at event and includes lunch. If you would like to attend please email or call 028 9080 8036. This Lunchtime Bite is sponsored by MyDonate - the free online fundraising service from BT.

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13 Deadline fast approaching for BLF funding

Northern Ireland organisations that want to apply to the Big Lottery Fund’s Reaching Out: Connecting Older People programme should be aware that the deadline is approaching. The deadline for voluntary and community organisations to get their outline proposal forms in for this programme is Wednesday 29 February 2012 at 5.00pm.

The £20 million programme supports isolated and vulnerable older people who have been affected by issues such as bereavement, disability, long term illness or who live in residential care or sheltered housing. Organisations can apply for grants of up to £500,000 to run projects that support older people through activities such as physical and mental health projects, volunteering programmes and projects that will bring isolated older people and young people together.  

To find out more about the programme visit:

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14 Craigavon to get 'Healthier choices, healthier families'

New free healthy lifestyle programme ‘Healthier choices, healthier families’

This free 12 week course for you and your child (8-11 years old) is designed to help families make healthier food and activity choices, in what can be a confusing consumer market – delivered locally in a fun and interactive way! The programme will include fun activities around healthy eating and a chance to try different sports and games throughout the next year to help keep your family active.

Try out this new exciting family focused programme starting on Wednesday 22 February 2012 at Craigavon Leisure Centre from 6.00pm – 8.00pm

To find out more information contact Diane on 07791 334 012 or visit

Early Years – the organisation for young children and Craigavon Borough Council are working in partnership to support you and your family in becoming more active and healthy. This project is part financed by the European Union’s European Regional Development Fund through the INTERREG IVA Cross-border Programme managed by the Special EU Programmes Body.

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15 Belfast City Council funding rounds closing soon

Belfast City Council opened the Community Festivals Fund and the Development and Outreach Initiative on Friday 3 February. Both funds promote access to culture and arts participation, and community / skills development through arts, cultural and heritage activities.

The Community Festivals fund offers grants from £2,500 to £10,000 for Festivals happening between 1 April and 30 September 2012. The closing date is 24 February at noon. (A second Tranche will open on 20 June and close on 10 August for Festivals taking place from 1 October 2011 to 31 March 2012).

The Development and Outreach Initiative offers grants up to £20,000 for partnership projects taking place between May 2012 and April 2013. The closing date is 5 March 2012 at noon.

Please see full details and the application forms / guidance notes on Belfast City Council's website:
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16 Belfast and Lisburn Women’s Aid awarded £900,000 by Big Lottery

Belfast and Lisburn Women’s Aid has been awarded £900,000 from the Big Lottery Improving Futures programme which provides funding to improve the lives and opportunities of children living in families with multiple and complex needs.

This three year project tackling domestic violence is the first of its kind in Northern Ireland. It will promote an innovative inter-agency approach, enabling earlier intervention and prevention. The Project partners are Belfast & Lisburn Women’s Aid (Lead), Belfast Health & Social Care Trust, South Eastern Health & Social Care Trust and North Down and Ards Women’s Aid.

A new Women’s Aid team will work alongside social workers in seven gateway teams, the single point of contact and entry for all new family and childcare referrals to social services in and beyond Belfast. The team will enable a co-ordinated early intervention response across all levels of risk, in particular focusing on children and mothers whose needs have been assessed as low risk by social services and requiring no further statutory intervention. The team will include a health visitor who will assist in providing a pathway to holistic and specialised services for the family. In the long-term, the project will explore developing a sustainable comprehensive multi-agency team as an integrated model of practice across all of the Trust areas.

For more information on this project visit

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17 Bursaries available for People Power conference

Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International and Dame Vivienne Westwood, Patron of human rights charities Liberty and Reprieve will book-end this years Sheila McKechnie Foundation (SMK)  ‘People Power’ conference being held in London on 6 March. Between them will be an impressive array of speakers that will generate challenging debate and discussion on the latest trends, hot topics, and ideas that will shape the future of campaigning.

A limited number of free conference places are available for campaigners.

The bursary scheme covers the cost of a ticket to People Power, as well as reasonable travel and accommodation expenses. If you are currently a campaigner who cannot afford the conference fee, or work with a not-for-profit organisation with an income of less than £150,000 then you will be considered. To apply email Harmit Kambo

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18 Bursary support for Northern Ireland Games Makers

Volunteer Now is calling on Northern Ireland Games Maker applicants to apply for the 2012 NI Volunteers Bursary which will support volunteers taking part in London 2012. The Bursary is being funded by DCAL and a number of local councils, private sector businesses and health and social care trusts, who are making the dream come true for many.

Wendy Osborne OBE, Chief Executive, Volunteer Now said: “The inspiration of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games is motivating thousands of individuals to volunteer their time...The Bursary not only enables Games Makers from Northern Ireland to take part in this once in a lifetime opportunity, it will support them in sharing their learning and experience, on their return, to make a difference in the community".

Sports and Culture Minister, Carál Ní Chuilín said, “Being a Games Maker will be a once in a lifetime experience. It will give local volunteers an opportunity to play their part in delivering the world’s largest sporting event."

Bursary applications are available from Closing date for applications is 4.00pm on 29 February 2012.

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CEE Economic Insight

Economic Insight - 13 February 2012
This weekly roundup and review of economic news from home and abroad is an invaluable tool for keeping up to date with all the latest developments. You can find CEE's Economic Insight on our website at along with other news and information on the project.


Pick of the Websites

Nicva member Housing Rights Service has been awarded the EFQM Mark of Excellence at an awards ceremony at City Hall. The EFQM standard is designed to recognise organisations that have achieved an outstanding level of sustainable excellence, based on assessment against the EFQM Excellence Model. The housing charity was delighted to receive this accolade on their first assessment against this prestigious standard. 

The 2012 Adult Learners Festival takes place from 20-24 February. AONTAS believes that all adults in Ireland should have equal access to learning opportunities and that adult learning has a hugely important role to play in the economic and social future of Ireland. Visit the website to find out about events in your area.

Strabane District Council is seeking talented people out there to work on two projects. Script Writer/Director required to create a tour guide product for Strabane District. Also the Alley Arts Centre requires arts practitioners to assist with the delivery of a project entitled ‘Stagewrite’, including choreographers and performing arts specialists.

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All of a Twitter

James Laverty - 13 February 
EC opens ICT Policy Support Programme to stimulate wider uptake of ICT across Europe

Neil Irwin - 13 February
NICVA Fundraising Advice in Derry tomorrow for funding clinic, Easkey on Wednesday and Dungannon on Thursday

Leeann Kelly - 13 February
No Monday blues with us! Heading to deliver training with ! Looking forward to a healthy debate.
UTV - 13 February
Disabled children’s group fears cuts: A group which aims to highlight the difficulties faced by disabled childre...
Disability Action NI - 13 February
Download a copy of the CDSA manifesto and find further info

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NICVA Out and About

If you are interested in NICVA's activities, events and training and would like to know what goes on in your area then take a look at the brand new Out and About feature on our website. This feature contains a map enabling you to see where activities are taking place across Northern Ireland and the types of activities delivered by NICVA staff. To find out more about what's going on just click on the activity to find out more about that project.

This week NICVA staff will be seen out and about in Rathfriland, Ballymoney, Craigavon, East Belfast, Randalstown, Strabane, Holywood and Lisburn.

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Make Your Move - new jobs from CommunityNI

A random selection of jobs posted on communityni. For full listings visit

Project Worker at DePaul Ireland

Project Co-ordinator at Enable Ireland

LET Training Officer at Youth Enterprise NI

PA/Administrator at National Children's Bureau

Community Outreach Worker at Bogside and Brandywell Health Forum

Assistant Administrative Officer at Rural Community Network

Outlook Project Worker at The Cedar Foundation