The Transformative Leadership Programme: Participants tell their story John Williamson, East Belfast TLP, Autumn 2019

Here, John Williamson, local interface community worker, shares his story.

John did the first East Belfast Transformative Leadership Programme in Autumn 2019 – his group are now well underway with their collaborative project.

The course will help the area through improved relationships, newer people getting involved and it will help the area move on through new practical projects.”



What motivated you to sign up?

I wanted to learn more about leadership and apply it in the area.

Experience and Learning

What did you like about the course? 

I enjoyed the whole programme, especially the community walkabout, and the specific focus on applying our learning to interface areas. The exercises were very practical. It was relevant, practical and enjoyable.

What are you likely to ‘take back’ to your life/work in the community?

A better understanding of how we can get help from others in the interface area.

 What difference has it made?

Is there anything you could or would do now that you wouldn’t have felt able to do before?

I would play a more direct role in chairing difficult meetings. And I know who to speak to for support. It has given me more confidence in myself and greater understanding of others.

Are there people/agencies you feel able to talk to and work with now that you weren’t before?

Yes, like Alternatives, local councillors, EBCDA, Department of Justice - through our own group committee, and other community groups, and engaging with councillors. We’ve set up a What’s App group for people who did the course and keep each other updated on our project.

What difference will this make to how you engage in your interface area?

I would engage more in environmental stuff, street based youth work, cultural and historical projects. Our course group is now working on a funded project together – we are transforming a piece of waste ground at Beechfield Street into a children’s garden and play area. We’ve already got it cleared and have a kids’ shed and planters. There will be picnic tables and greenhouses going in too. Our plan is to have individual planters for kids, and next year we’d hope to run courses for them to learn about planting. The kids love it already.

To what extent do you think these changes would have occurred in the absence of this course? i.e. would you have developed these skills and be motivated to do something new anyway?

I wouldn’t have been as confident. This is the first course of this kind that I’ve done and I’ve become very confident in talking to people – I’d be happy to come along and talk to any of the other courses if people want to hear from a past participant.

What difference will the course make to the interface area overall? Especially in terms of relationships, collaboration and increased understanding in the area?

The course will help the area through improved relationships, newer people getting involved and it will help the area move on through new practical projects.

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