First ILM social enterprise programme in Northern Ireland

12 Apr 2013 Roisin Kelly    Last updated: 8 Jul 2014

NICVA started delivery of the first ILM social enterprise programme in Northern Ireland this month, when 14 people from a range of organisations joined the ILM Level 5 Certificate in Social Enterprise Support.

On Tuesday 9 April the group discussed what social enterprise means and how to write a business plan.

Pictured are: Josephine McDonnell, Belfast Cleaning Cooperative Society; Patricia Jordan, Carers Matter; Alice McLarnon, Co-operative Alternatives; Audrey Murray, LEDCOM; Tiziana O'Hara, Co-operative Alternatives; Anne Molloy, Creggan Enterprises Ltd; Charlie Fisher, Development Trusts NI; Anne McAllister, Donegall Pass Community Forum; Brian O'Neill, Enterprise North West; Anita Flanagan, Rural Lift for South West Fermanagh; Sally Smyth, Grace Women's Development Ltd; Sean McKendry, Quantus; Fergal O'Donnell, Rural Community Network NI; Trevor Hollinger, Shine ur light; Michelle Clarke, The Workspace Group and Roisin Kelly, NICVA.

Emma McCaffrey, NI Manager for ILM (the Institute of Leadership and Management) said:

“ILM is delighted to support NICVA at the launch of the Level 5 Certificate in Social Enterprise Support.  This is the first ILM accredited programme of its kind in Northern Ireland that focuses on the needs and challenges facing social enterprises.

"Over the course of the programme we are encouraging those who are starting or already working in social enterprises to develop a comprehensive understanding of the principles, purpose and practices of a social enterprise and challenge their existing strategies to ensure sustainability of the social economy within these challenge economic conditions.”

Linda McKendry from Compass spoke about their five social enterprises and how they have developed and grown. She encouraged the group to be creative and follow their hunches but not to go it alone; collaborate with others with similar ideas.

She explained that not all of the social enterprises, including CAN Can Recycling, CAN Can Bazaar and CAN Can Up-cycle, had been in their long term plan, but had resulted from opportunities and solutions to problems.

Linda said: “Profit is not a dirty word. Social enterprise is a good way of developing an income to allow you to provide services as well involving your service users”.

Sandra Bailie from NICVA commented: “This was a great start to the five-day programme. Participants engaged in lively debate and there were lots of new ideas generated by the group. Being entrepreneurial is not a new thing for our sector; we just want to get better at it and become more informed about the support that is available to us. We are operating in an increasingly competitive environment and need to equip ourselves to meet the challenges that social enterprise brings such as cultural change and the new skills mix required."

Roisin Kelly, Skills Development Coordinator at NICVA, added:

“I think this is a really exciting opportunity for our sector and I'm delighted that NICVA is delivering the very first ILM Certificate in Social Enterprise Support in Northern Ireland. We have developed a great relationship with ILM over the last four years and this is an example of working collaboratively with them to provide our sector with the best quality service and an internationally recognised qualification.”

The remaining four sessions will be held over the next few months and include a day at the FRESH programme at E3 and best practice visits to Ashton Community Trust and East Belfast Mission. Through the programme, the participants will build up a network of support and consider what action they need to take to make their social enterprise work.'s picture
by Roisin Kelly

Skills Development Coordinator

[email protected]

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