TLP Participant Story – Amanda Laird, PUP, North Belfast TLP, Spring 2021

30 Apr 2021 Mary McCaughey    Last updated: 30 Apr 2021

Amanda is Chair of North Belfast PUP & completed the Transformative Leadership Programme in North Belfast with local residents & people from BCC,Westlands Community Group, SENSE NI, TAMHI, PlayBoard NI, STAR Neighbourhood Centre & CLARE

“I’d definitely encourage people to go ahead and do the course - you learn so much about parts of leadership you didn’t even know existed… I’ve put the course on the agenda for our next meeting”.

Introduction and Motivation

  1. What motivated you to sign up to the course?

I decided to do the course as someone in the party suggested it and I thought I’d like to do it.

Experience and Learning

  1. What topics stood out for you?

I liked the session on vision, especially the equality and inclusion aspect of it. I’d definitely encourage people to go ahead and do the course - you learn so much about parts of leadership you didn’t even know existed – there’s so much more to being a leader than saying ‘I know what to do and people should do what I say.’ I’ve put the course on the agenda for our next meeting.

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

Certainly there are things I can take back to my work and community. Especially as a political activist you can have a one-track mind and just think your own way. But eradicating prejudice regarding religion and belief is about realising the other side is exactly the same – we all think the same and have the same problems. The course showed the benefits of the community getting to step back and see the bigger picture – that has been quite inspiring to be honest.


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

I’d probably have a bigger recognition of my own strengths and assets and an ability to reflect and think about things I could have done differently in the past.

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

Yes the girls that do the community work in LOCA (Lower Oldpark Community Association) – I now have a connection with them.

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

It will make a difference because my level of capability and confidence has come up – I wouldn’t be so scared to come forward, for example to talk to young people and question the need for violence, and to speak to people on their level.

7. What difference will the course make to the interface area overall?

I certainly think this course can make a difference in the area - the more people in communities and community hubs etc. who can do this, the better – it gives people a voice.


8. Which issues in particular do you think you might get involved in?

The social media issue is massive to me – and finding a way round it is quite difficult – it really bothers me how people say what they like, and with no retribution. And, the news media also have a responsibility for the content they share.

9. How will you apply new ways of working, ideas or approaches?

The biggest thing I got out of the course was probably confidence levels – even being able to speak to another group of people. It can be difficult to stand up in front of people you don’t know - maybe Zoom made it a bit easier (you’re comfortable in your own environment) and definitely my confidence levels in that regard have rocketed.


10. To what extent do you think these changes would have occurred in the absence of this course?

The course has definitely helped – with lockdown there are no face-to-face meetings and it’s so difficult to connect with others – this has helped with that because even though it’s on Zoom you are connecting with people.'s picture
by Mary McCaughey

Programme Support Officer (TLP)

[email protected]

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