TLP Participant Story – Jill McPeak, South Belfast TLP, Spring 2021
She took part in the course alongside participants from: Donegall Pass Community Forum, QUB, Springboard Opportunities, Inspire Wellbeing, Donegall Pass Youth Club, Northern Ireland Housing Executive, NUS-USI, NI Civil Service, the DUP and local residents.
“Looking back at the file I was amazed by how much information was delivered in such a short space of time. This ‘toolkit’ of approaches is a great resource to use…It has opened my eyes to the community…. I’m more inclined to pick up the phone and make connections.”
Introduction and Motivation
- What motivated you to sign up to this particular programme over any others?
It offered a range of skills building, with a focus on South Belfast. I came along to get a better understanding of the Community in South Belfast, the cultures, and how different communities operate. Networking with people in South Belfast. I don’t have a community background at all, so this was a new experience. Health is integral to the community, and health impacts on so many things; for example being lonely and isolated will negatively impact on mental health and emotional wellbeing.
Experience and Learning
- What topics stood out for you?
A number of things for different reasons:
- Understanding better the kind of behaviours I use when I am leading. This has helped frame my leadership styles a little bit more.
- Vision – sharing your vision; and hearing other people explaining their vision and trying to imagine in my head what they actually mean. Being clear and adaptable. Listen to all ideas. Team equality, share and adapt.
- Good relations – everyone together can achieve more.
- The ‘Mutual Interest’ approach, finding an area of consensus.
- Starting small – building relationships to be able to work towards a bigger goal.
- What are you likely to ‘take back’ to your life/work in the community?
A number of things for different reasons:
- People and approach to working on the ground – the drive to see a need and meet the need alongside other people. Having an impact and changing the community environment for everyone. See it and do it.
- My approach to leadership and organising things – be a little more structured and reflective
- Examine my behaviour and impact of my style.
- How would you summarise your experience of the programme?
Inspiring, affirming and levelling.
- Is there anything you could or would do now that you wouldn’t have felt able to do before?
I’m usually happy to get involved and lead if I can; at work I have done this. I want to be more involved with colleagues and the community, planning and organising. The course has given a ‘toolkit’ to dip into. It has opened my eyes to the community; I learnt about different projects and involving people in different ways.
- Are there people/agencies you feel able to talk to and work with now that you weren’t before?
Agencies are made up of people and it is relationships that move things forward. I’m more inclined to pick up the phone and make connections. I contacted a couple of the people who were on the TLP, and we are now working on a TLP Project together. I feel I can pick up the phone to any of them if I need to.
- What difference will this make to how you engage in your interface area?
The course opened my eyes to the number of different interface areas, in relation to race and culture; alongside poverty. There is more to it than that. Engaging is about human connections, finding common interest, mutual interest, and listening to people’s voices. Facilitating other people’s voices to develop the mutual vision.
- What difference will the course make to the interface area overall?
- Rhetoric approach: coming from the community, for the community, emotional connections, and people are invested in the outcome. This provides a foundation to build on.
- Understanding of the barriers to change.
- Finding a common goal and a common ground.
- Building capacity, increasing confidence, and building trust.
- Which issues in particular do you think you might get involved in?
A lot of ideas came from the TLP sessions. The TLP Project – my only concern is that we have decided what the community want. We will go back and forwards as we plan this event which will give the opportunity to evolve the events through co-production appropriate to each venue. Stepping into this world and experiencing it. Continuous improvement.
How will you apply new ways of working, ideas or approaches?
I will plan and reflect in a slightly different way. I am running an Involvement Group with the British Deaf Association – and I will use different approaches to progress with this group.
- To what extent do you think these changes would have occurred in the absence of this course?
I am motivated to learn and do things differently. Looking back at the file I was amazed by how much information was delivered in such a short space of time. This ‘toolkit’ of approaches is a great resource to use, I would not have previously had the opportunity to know about all these different models (I was familiar with some, but there were a lot of new ideas in the TLP sessions). I can also go back and reflect on all the information I have filed from the TLP. Some of the core themes have resonated with me, and I can see that I will bring them into the Involvement Team approach: co-production, partnership, making connections, and the overall ethos about supporting, informing, listening, and influencing.
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