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eNews 19 September 2011

  1. Managing Information - communicate, calculate, comply
  2. Opportunity to observe Public Accounts Committee at NICVA
  3. Sector Matters offers practical support
  4. CutsWatchNI reports £2million loss of public funds
  5. Final few places available for Collaborative Excellence
  6. Promote your events on BBC
  7. A new vision for health and social care
  8. BIG offers funding advice on connecting older people programme
  9. Improve children's lives - plea to Northern Ireland Executive
  10. Parents in Northern Ireland need more support
  11. Making work pay
  12. Is your organisation a hidden helpline?
  13. Join Belfast Healthy Cities at KidSquare
  14. IEF grant programme to encourage discussion on education
  15. Keeping up to date with employment and equality law
  16. NICCY Participation Awards 2011
  17. Common Purpose leads the way
  18. Yoga like it used to be


1 Managing information - communicate, calculate, comply

NICVA's latest members' session will focus on the ever popular and important theme of managing information. 

This session will begin with an overview of NICVA’s priorities for the next three years, outlining our strategic plan. This will include some of our commitments to our members for the coming years. Information sessions will include: ‘Complying with data protection’, covering elements of the data protection act relevant for this working in the voluntary and community sector; ‘Calculating, monitoring and evaluating information’, covering practical Social Return on Investment methods of measuring the impact of the work you do; ‘Communication - Information as a promotional tool’, which will cover both traditional forms of communication in the written word, for example press releases, as well as using modern technologies like social networking. 

When: Thursday 27 October 2011 The session will begin with tea, coffee and registration at 10.00am and close at 3.30pm
Where: The Navan Centre, 31 Killylea Road, Armagh, BT60 4LD
Free for full NICVA Members (Two free places per organisation). Extra member delegate rate is £30 per person. Non-member rate is £70 per person

To book a place please visit and fill out a booking request or contact Georgie Finlay: or call 028 9087 7777.

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2 Opportunity to observe Public Accounts Committee at NICVA

On Wednesday 13 October at 2.00pm the influential Public Accounts Committee of the Northern Ireland Assembly will hold its meeting in NICVA’s Duncairn Gardens offices.

The meeting will consider the 2010 NI Audit Office report ‘Creating Effective Partnerships between Government and the Voluntary and Community Sector’ and will hear evidence from DSD Permanent Secretary Will Haire and NICVA Chief Executive Seamus McAleavey.

The meeting will be conducted by Northern Ireland Assembly staff in the same way as it would be if it was being held in Parliament Buildings but, holding the meeting in NICVA means there will be much more space for people to come and observe the work of the committee.

Seats in the public gallery will be allocated on a first come first serve basis and so anyone interested in attending is advised to arrive in NICVA around 1.30pm. Tea and coffee will be available from then which should also offer the opportunity to meet with committee members before their meeting begins.

More information can be found on NICVA's website

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3 Sector Matters offers practical support

Are you considering the impact of potential cuts in funding? Do you need support in specific areas of your organisation such as Finance, HR or strategic and operational planning? Have you considered external support and help?

With a proven track record of success, Sector Matters could be the solution or support you need.

Sector Matters gets to know each individual client and agrees a plan of action with them, based on the services listed, to ensure all solutions are tailored to meet the needs of each organisation.

For more information and to find out what past clients have to say about Sector Matters go to or contact Paula Reynolds at or telephone 028 9087 5018.

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4 CutsWatchNI reports £2million loss of public funds

Children, families and people with disabilities are amongst the groups that have seen cuts to the services delivered to them by voluntary and community organisations according to recent case studies on NICVA's CutsWatchNI.

NICVA’s CutsWatchNI project, established to monitor the impact of cuts to services provided by the voluntary and community sector, has identified over 30 funding cuts totalling £2,027,468 resulting in job losses and reduction or discontinuation of services.
Organisations hit by cuts include The Family Fund, which has recently seen a cut to funding resulting in at least 200 less families with severely disabled children getting help this year than last year. The Family Fund is the UK’s largest provider of grants to low income families raising severely disabled or seriously ill children. They are funded across the four UK Governments. Last year the Fund received a total of £33 million and helped over 56,700 families, 2,833 of these were in Northern Ireland. 

Family Fund Country Manager, Eddie Casement, put the loss of funds into perspective saying:

"This reduction in funding means at least 200 families will not receive help. This is even more difficult as there is a 19% increase in applications from vulnerable families across the Northern Ireland”.

To report a cut to your organisation's funding or to find out more about the cuts reported to date visit

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5 Final few places available for Collaborative Excellence

Designed for senior executives and board members, this one day workshop will examine how to collaborate successfully on a cross-organisational basis.

28 September 2011, 9.30am-4.00pm at NICVA, 61 Duncairn Gardens, Belfast BT15 2GB

Cost: £25

This training event is part of the CollaborationNI project, funded by the Building Change Trust and delivered by a consortium of NICVA, CO3 and Stellar Leadership.

Delegates will explore the opportunities and challenges of the many different ways of working collaboratively and will consider the critical importance of planning and of effective communication in achieving collaborative goals.

To find out more about the event and to book your place visit

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6 Promote your events on BBC

BBC’s Lifeline programme is running a Community Noticeboard feature, which airs on BBC1 Northern Ireland on 16 October and 17 October and BBC two on 19 October. It will also be shown on Ceefax page 619 which accompanies the TV programme. 

The Community Noticeboard will take the form of a list of events and diary dates for the weeks ahead, starting from the 17 October 2011 up until April 2012 along with an accompanying graphic either of the event or of the organisation's logo. 

If you would like your upcoming event to be publicised on the BBC Lifeline programme, please email your logo or graphic (as a high resolution Jpeg) along with details of your event (date, name, brief description) to

There's limited space so it's first come first served.

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7 A new vision for health and social care

CO3's Health and Social Care Special Interest Group has organised a leadership seminar to consider the role of the third sector in a reformed health and social care system.

CO3 will use the seminar to consider the shape of changes and to develop a shared vision for health and social care. This will help align third sector organisations but also ensure that beneficiaries and communities have better outcomes. There is no better time to act together. 

This seminar will:

  • Hear from the Minister his perspective on the reform and the future role of the third sector.
  • Hear an economic perspective on health and social care
  • Consider some new models for designing and delivering health outcomes
  • Develop a new vision for health and social care and the sector’s role in the achieving this vision.

Monday 17 October 2011, 9.00am – 1.00pm, Island Centre, Lisburn BT27 4RL
: £40 members/£50 non members
by Mark Simpson BBC
Minister Edwin Poots MLA, Dr Esmond Birnie, Angiolina Foster
Workshop facilitated
by Anne McMurray

Please note space at the event is limited. For more information on this event visit To book a place contact

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8 BIG offers funding advice on connecting older people programme

Northern Ireland organisations planning to apply for a grant from the Big Lottery Fund’s Reaching Out: Connecting Older People programme have been advised to get their project proposals in as soon as possible.

The £20million programme supports the most isolated and excluded older people across Northern Ireland, including those affected by bereavement, disability or long term illness, or those who live in residential care or sheltered housing.

Organisations in Northern Ireland can apply for grants of up to £500,000 to help improve their lives by running activities such as physical and mental health projects, volunteering programmes or projects that bring isolated older people and young people together.

The Big Lottery Fund has advised that the closing date for organisations to send in the Outline Proposal Form for their project is 29 February 2012.

So, if you are an organisation with an innovative idea for a project to improve the lives of the most at risk older people in society, then you should consider the timescales involved and not leave it until it is too late.

To find out more information about the programme go to:

If you have any queries about the programme please contact the Big Lottery Fund’s Information team at 028 9055 1455 or at

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9 Improve children's lives - plea to Northern Ireland Executive

Sectors join forces to urge Executive to champion integrated outcomes based planning to improve children’s lives

The NI Executive was recently (14 September 11) urged to improve local children’s lives by championing integrated outcomes based planning and aligning all of the planning processes for children’s services into a single coherent framework for action.

The call to action was made as leading researchers, policy makers, commissioners and service providers joined forces at a conference entitled “Improving Children’s Lives: Outcomes, Partnership and Planning”, at Queen’s University Belfast. The conference was extremely timely, as Northern Ireland now has a process in place through which all agencies can plan together for improved outcomes for children and young people through the newly established Children and Young People's Strategic Partnership (CYPSP). 

More information on the conference can be found on the Improving Childrens Lives website

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10 Parents in Northern Ireland need more support 

Parenting NI, formerly Parents Advice Centre, called for a more coordinated approach within and across government departments regarding parenting policy, at an event to launch the Parenting NI manifesto. 

Pip Jaffa, Chief Executive Parenting NI commented,

“From the work of our organisation we are noticing trends which show that parenting in Northern Ireland is now tougher than ever...Parenting is a challenging role and most parents at some time need support. As the leading voice on parenting in Northern Ireland, we are seeing an increased requirement for our services."

The Parenting NI manifesto calls for a series of policy changes in four areas that the organisation feels parents require the most assistance; namely, support, education, giving parents a voice and valuing parents  These changes are being called for based on the indisputable fact that parents are a major influence on children’s lives.

For further information on Parenting NI please visit Parenting NI also needs helpline volunteers. If you have substantial parenting experience and/or significant experience of working with families…and are ready for a new challenge why not train to be a Parenting NI helpline volunteer! Preparation course commences Tuesday 4 October 2011. For further information please contact Andrea on 028 9031 0969, e-mail or visit

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11 Making work pay

A new survey from Save the Children and the Daycare Trust has shown that many families in the UK are now having to turn down jobs or are considering leaving work because the childcare versus work calculation no longer makes sense for them. The research also paints a worrying picture of parents who say they can’t afford not to work but are struggling to meet the costs of childcare. Despite cutting back on their spending, almost a quarter have got into debt in order to meet childcare costs.

Not surprisingly, it is worst for parents living in severe poverty. In Britain, parents spend almost a third of their incomes on childcare but in Northern Ireland, the average spend is 45%. This means that we are facing higher childcare costs as a percentage of net familiy income than any other OECD country.

Save the Children and others are calling on the UK Government to increase the amount they plan to spend on childcare support under the new universal credit in a bid to prevent low income families from being priced out of work and into poverty. It is calling on people to ask their MP to call on the Chancellor to give childcare support a boost at

This is an issue Save the Children will be campaigning hard on in Northern Ireland also because it is so important not only to children and families but to our communities and the future of our economy. Save the Children is calling on the Northern Ireland Executive to make the provision of childcare a priority in the child poverty delivery plan and Programme for Government. Read Save the Children's Northern Ireland briefing on childcare costs here.

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12 Is your organisation a hidden helpline?

You might not think of your service as a ‘helpline’. After all, you might be an advice agency, information centre, drop-in, counselling service, a befriending scheme, or any number of other types of service.

Do you speak to your clients on the phone? Do you provide information and support by email? Different issues can arise when the client is not in the room with you. The Helplines Association can offer you guidelines, information, support plus training courses and networking meetings in Northern Ireland.

Why not start by joining THA's free online community, and downloading THA's free guidelines for good practice for telephone, email, and internet services.

Visit to find out more.

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13 Join Belfast Healthy Cities at KidsSquare

KidsSquare is a free space for children and families and aims to explore what child friendly space in the city centre could look like. Activities include Active Space, Creative Space and Free Space, provided to help children make the square their own for the weekend. KidsSquare is open to children of all ages and abilities but children must be accompanied by an adult.  

The event takes place at St Anne’s Square, Belfast over three days: Friday 23 September (Belfast Culture Night) 4.00-9.00pm, Saturday 24 September 1.00-6.00pm and Sunday 25 September 1.00-6.00pm.

The three day event is organised by Belfast Healthy Cities in collaboration with Play Resource, Sportopps, Belfast City Council, Belfast Health and Social Care Trust and Public Health Agency. The event is supported by the Northern Ireland Executive through the Department for Social Development.

For further information, please go to or phone 028 9032 8811.

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14 IEF grant programme to encourage discussion on education

The Community Engagement in Education (CEE) grant programme has been opened by the Integrated Education Fund. This is a new grant programme (with an initial overall total of £20,000) which offers grants of up to £5,000. CEE is open to constituted voluntary and community sector groups in a particular geographic locality to develop discussions both about how their children and young people currently learn with and about each other in school, and possibilities for the future. The purpose of these community led discussions would be:

  • To value and explore what is currently happening within and between local schools with regards to sharing
  • To explore local interest and demand for greater sharing both within and between local schools that enhances the sustainability of quality local education provision
  • To explore possibilities for the future
  • To engage in dialogue with key decision makers on local possibilities

The total amount of funding available for the programme is limited and therefore the number of grants that the IEF can award is also restricted. Closing date for applications is 7 October 2011. For further information contact Sara Shields, Grants Officer on 028 9033 0031 or email Information can also be accessed on

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15 Keeping up to date with employment and equality law

In partnership with NICVA the Equality Commission delivers a programme of events and support services aimed at assisting voluntary and community sector employers to meet responsibilities under employment equality legislation.

The next event will be a Briefing Seminar on Tuesday the 27 September which will involve a succinct update on current developments in employment legislation.  Click here for further information

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16 NICCY Participation Awards

Since April 2011 the Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People (NICCY) has been working with a group of young people to explore the theme of participation and develop an awards programme for government and other public bodies to recognise their efforts to involve children and young people in developing their work. The inaugural Commissioner’s Participation Awards Panel is made up of a group of eight young people aged 14-16 from throughout Northern Ireland. The aim is to further encourage government bodies to work more with young people and take their views into account. All aspects of the awards including the application form and guidance notes have been created and overseen by young people.

Applications are invited from all government departments/public bodies/agencies (eg Department of Education, Public Health Agency, Equality Commission, Health and Social Services Trusts, Education and Library Boards, etc).

Projects must:

  • involve young people from Northern Ireland
  • have involved direct work with children and young people
  • clearly demonstrate young people’s involvement in the development of the project
  • be supported by a reference from a young person or a supporting adult.
  • have been initiated on or after 1 September 2010

Further details can be found at If you have any queries, contact Laura McFall on 028 90311616 or

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17 Common Purpose leads the way

Are you or one of your team interested in attending Common Purpose’s Middle Management Leadership Development course this Autumn?

Navigator Northern Ireland 2011 increases leadership capacity, confidence and skills for leaders in the middle stages of their career across Northern Ireland’s public, private and voluntary and community sectors.                 

Leaders in Northern Ireland need to be ready for the next level of leadership in which they will have to embrace a collaborative approach to working with a diverse and wide array of stakeholders and providers. Leaders in Northern Ireland will be required to have a good understanding of the “big picture” in their locality so they are aware of the key roles, responsibilities and challenges of its stakeholders. Navigator gives participants an understanding of the local context in which they do their jobs, the impact of their decisions and the contribution they can make.

The course takes place from 13 October -15 December 2011. Please contact CP NI on 028 9043 5890 or to discuss the course and fee as there are limited reduced fee places available. Applications can be made via

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18 Yoga like it used to be

Renowned yogini, Susan Johnson is delighted to make a return visit to the Yoga Fellowship of Northern Ireland (YFNI) on Saturday 24 September 2011. Anyone with an interest in yoga is invited to join YFNI for what will no doubt be a thoroughly enjoyable and accessible day which will help ease the stresses and strains of daily life. 
The day will be held at NICVA (Duncairn Gardens) starting at 10.00am and cost £40 (non-members: half day £25) and £30 (members half day £20)
Further information and to book:

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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 Bangor, Carrickfergus, Derry and Enniskillen.

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CEE Economic Insight

NICVA's Centre for Economic Empowerment (CEE) has just published the first instalment of its Economic Insight. 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.

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PA to the Chief Executive

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Pick of the Websites

Need Room Hire? Book Yourself in at Volunteer Now - If you or your organisation are looking affordable and comfortable room hire this autumn, try Volunteer Now’s Shaftesbury Square Offices, for any event, meeting or training session.

International Peace Day festival - This year the cultural relations arts organisation, Beyond Skin, has partnered with Forestside Shopping Centre, Belfast Metropolitan College and Volunteer Now to organise a series of activities during Peace Week with a festival on Peace Day 21 September at Forestside Shopping Centre

Citizens Advice Bureau encourages councils to co-ordinate the response to the looming winter crisis. Research on fuel poverty published by Citizens Advice makes grim reading.

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Make Your Move - new jobs from CommunityNI

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

Evaluation and Support Officer at Community Development and Health Network

Administration and Finance Manager at ArtsEkta

Community Engagement Officer at Integrated Education Fund

Childcare Assistant (full time maternity cover) at Orana Children and Family Centre

Chief Executive at Nexus

Finance Assistant at Volunteer Now

Community Fundraiser NHSCT at Tinylife

Sustainability Development Manager at AgeNI

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