I work for a public sector body - why should I take part in the TLP?
Public Sector staff who work at interface areas in Belfast have taken part in the programme as participants, alongside local residents, staff and volunteers from voluntary and community groups and members of political parties. We’ve been joined by staff of the Housing Executive, PSNI, Belfast City Council, Belfast Health and Social Care Trust, Queen’s University Belfast, Department of Justice, Department for the Economy and others who have a direct interest in making life better in interface areas.
The participation of public sector colleagues has added so much to the course – they have been able to share their experiences, perspective and challenges in a way which has really helped to build relationships – and their feedback tells us they have really valued sharing and learning with others in the local community.
Many of our other participants told us that they have very much valued the participation of public sector colleagues and feel that they can now work more easily with them. A common piece of feedback from course participants is that they feel that taking part in the course with those from other sectors has helped them to build understanding and trust with others, not only across sectors, but even within their own sector. May report feeling that they now have connections and contacts who they can “lift the phone to” if needed, all as a result of the course.
Terry McCallum works for Belfast City Council’s Community Services Department. He did his TLP course in Falls / Shankill in Spring 2020 – the course managed to finish just before lockdown. Terry agreed to do a “Q & A” style case study for us when he finished his course. Terry works in the greater Shankill area, so is familiar with the Crumlin Road/Twaddell interface, the Highfield / Black Mountain interface and also Lanark Way, Northumberland Street, Howard Street and Carlisle Circus.
Why did you sign up for the course?
“I work for a statutory organisation. What makes me want to get involved is the opportunity to work with community organisations within the community that I work in and that I live in. So I’ll take that opportunity if it relates to my work, anywhere, anytime”.
What did you like best about it?
“The variety! Let me try to be clear about this. While it’s clear TLP is about one topic i.e. interface areas, transformation and leadership skills, there was still the variety of issues. Within the modules there are so many points that you can use. There are so many reference tools within each module that are really useful and you’re probably using them. But this is pinpointing how to use them and how to move on”.
What difference will this make to how you will engage in the interface areas?
“It has opened up relationships with those statutory groups i.e. the participant from DOJ and I have attended the same meetings quite a lot together but we didn’t have any personal relationship – we now do. So it’s been a good networking opportunity. For other participants, community reps I feel this has also allowed for some relationships to be built.
Are there new ways of working, ideas or approaches that you will use?
“Yes. The reference tools within all of the modules. I think it is so important for statutory agencies to be give networking opportunities with communities. How do you know what’s happening at community level if there isn’t that engagement?”.
Colleagues from other statutory bodies echo these sentiments in their comments about the course:
“The course is thought provoking. It will help me when engaging with residents and community reps. I will use the learning through the various forums I attend to help boost collaborative working. Interesting, engaging, good to hear from other people” (John Chittick, Department of Justice, Falls / Shankill TLP 1 Autumn 2019).
“Very enjoyable, informative and hugely beneficial” (Sandra Buchan, DoJ Interfaces Team, Duncairn TLP 1 Autumn 2019).
“Important skills have been further developed and strong relationships / contacts forged. Great course run by great trainers! Thank-you!” (Suzanne Garrett, Interface Officer, DOJ Interfaces Team, Short Strand Inner East TLP 1 Autumn 2019).
“Working with new people and organisations has been wonderful – a breath of fresh air – coming with new ideas and different perspectives, particularly when they are local residents" (Yvonne Cowan, CD Practitioner, Belfast Health and Social Care Trust, Short Strand Inner East TLP 1 Autumn 2019).
“A really interesting and useful opportunity to learn about collaborative partnerships and community networking” (Karen Pateman, Deputy Principal, Department for the Economy, Limestone Road / Alexandra Park TLP 1 Spring 2020).
“It’s probably the most beneficial course I’ve done in years” (Anthony McKenna, Assistant Manager, NIHE, Limestone Road / Alexandra Park TLP 1 Spring 2020).
“Great group sessions, conversations and knowledge” (Pól Hamilton, Safer City Coordinator, BCC, Suffolk Lenadoon TLP 2 Spring 2020).
“Even though you have experience, a good opportunity to contextualise your experiences” (Niall Eastwood, Good Relations Officer, NIHE, Suffolk Lenadoon TLP 2 Spring 2020).
“If you get the opportunity to attend, take it!” (Paul Cleary, Anti-Social Behaviour Officer, Belfast City Council, Duncairn TLP 1 Autumn 2019).
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