Destined for success

7 Jul 2011     Last updated: 20 Jun 2014

Beginning with Duties of Directors training in 2010, now eight members of Destined - a support organisation for people with learning disabilities - have completed an ILM Level 3 Award in Effective Management.

Destined, established in 2002, is a user-led organisation, with most of the members of the Board of Directors, Management and Project Committees having learning disabilities. The organisation has an ethos of empowering its members to increase their self-confidence and independence through a programme of skills acquisition.

Destined aims to integrate its members into mainstream society and has adopted a two stranded approach to achieving this. Firstly through empowering its members - over the last eight years Destined has delivered a range of programmes designed to empower members to become more independent in the community. Secondly through empowering the community to be pro-active towards integration and social inclusion. The group has developed a range of partnerships within the community to increase awareness about issues affecting people with learning disabilities.

Empowering people and communities

Destined’s mission statement “access to citizenship through empowerment” reflects the importance placed on the personal development of every member. Dermot O’Hara, Destined founder member and manager, explained the concept behind the group and how getting involved with NICVA’s training programme has assisted the organisation in achieving its mission:

"Destined was set up by a group of four people in 2002 with the purpose of offering a new concept to people with learning disabilities. We wanted to deliver effective empowerment to the individuals and ensure that everyone was on a development programme that would lead to increased levels of independence, regardless of the pace.

At the beginning we were talked about in the learning disabled community because we allowed our members to make their own tea and coffee and this was considered to be a great thing.

As a community organisation we had a flexibility that other organisations including the health trust could not provide. We wanted to create an organisation that was truly user led with our members involved in the decision making process at all levels.

Through the Big Lottery Fund we were able to access training from NICVA and we immediately got into discussions about how to develop training to suit the needs of our directors and our management team, to ensure they had the skills to perform their duties as the decision makers in the organisation.

The journey has been a good one and we will be exploring more options for training in the future." 

The programme

The training programme took place one day a week over four weeks. Participants worked through learning journals, improved their skills in running effective meetings, project planning and managing conflict.  Destined members were regimented in their approach to completing their workbooks, being interviewed on camera and posing for a few photos.

Jim O’Reilly, treasurer, explained:

“I made a new year’s resolution to spend no more money in Destined.  When the opportunity came about to take part in this training I thought it would help me manage this idea a little bit better – and it has!”

This innovative training programme was designed by the NICVA with some assistance from Mencap as part of the Big Lottery Fund Reaching Communities programme.

Roisin Kelly, Skills Development Officer at NICVA, designed and delivered the training and found it a hugely rewarding experience from both a professional and personal point of view.

Roisin commented:

“This is one of the most exciting pieces of training I have delivered. Destined members are very open to new ideas and challenges and they don't half enjoy the banter as well!

In one of the sessions we used Destined's own book Invisible Lives as a basis for learning about conflict and how we can reduce the effects of conflict - this meant it was more tangible for the participants. 

They have worked hard for this Award and deserve recognition for all their hard work - I am really very proud of what they have achieved. It has also refreshed my own approach to learning and development.”

Roisin went on to say that the design of this bespoke training course was aided by staff at Mencap.

“Paul, Joanne and Ciara from Mencap provided an extremely beneficial role in providing guidance on how to pitch the training sessions. Getting the right balance of language and technical terms in a way that participants will understand is always an important concern for a trainer and I was particularly conscious of this when working with Destined.”

To find out more about Destined visit

For more information about this training programme or to discuss the potential for bespoke training courses please contact Roisin Kelly on 028 9087 7777 or email [email protected]

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