TLP Participant Story – Paul Doherty, Suffolk Lenadoon TLP Autumn 2020

12 Feb 2021 Mary McCaughey    Last updated: 12 Feb 2021

Paul is a member of the SDLP and did the course in Autumn 2020 in West Belfast, along with participants from BCC, the Green Party, Springfield Charitable Association, Boys and Girls Clubs, Falls Women’s Centre, Ógra Shinn Féin and many others.

It was an enjoyable, enlightening experience, and one that I would recommend to anyone wanting to step-up and make a difference in their community

Introduction and Motivation

  1. What motivated you to sign up to this particular programme over any others?

This programme for me was the opportunity to link in with like-minded people involved within the community and create new working relationships and partnerships going forward. Working within an interface area was also a major motivation as it would provide an opportunity to work with people I would maybe not normally in this type of environment.

Experience and Learning

  1. What topics stood out for you?

Learning of various leadership styles and reflecting on my own approach was beneficial and left a lasting impression in terms of how I would deal with certain situations going forward.

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

That there isn’t one way of doing things. Leadership requires a different style and approach for certain situations. I have reflected on my own style of leadership and have taken on board a lot of what people have said around me and will incorporate it into my thinking going forward.

  1. How would you summarise your experience of the programme?

It was an enjoyable, enlightening experience, and one that I would recommend to anyone wanting to step-up and make a difference in their community.


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

I have built good working relationships with the people involved in this project and feel very comfortable approaching them and working together in the future.

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

An important part of this programme for me was learning more about the make up of the area and who is involved in various groups and what they do within the community. I look forward to engaging with them going forward.

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

I am always on the look-out for a way to build partnership and relationships in a community setting, especially in areas where there has been the need to bring people together. Participation in this programme has created opportunities that may not have existed otherwise in terms of bringing a group of people together from different backgrounds and allowing ideas to flourish for the betterment of the surrounding community.

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

Any step that allows communities from differing sides to communicate and build relationships and partnerships is a positive step and one that will grow beyond this course and for the betterment of people in the community long-term. Many of us discussed having a ‘lasting impression’ which is important for the little time and resource we can point towards the project.


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

As someone who works in the community, my main objective is to make life better for people who live there. Providing people with opportunities is key to that and I am glad to have made connections with groups in which I can link people within the community into. Part of the project we have created is about bringing people together within a community and celebrating diversity. This is something I look forward to progressing beyond this course.

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

You never stop learning, and there are many ideas and approaches in terms of leadership styles that will stick with me while dealing with situations that have been part of this programme. Working with the people around me on this course has also proved to be a massive learning curve in understanding how other groups work and what they do. As someone in a position of leadership, I will also use this learning to pass on to others and provide them with this knowledge as they make decisions and take on a leadership role in this area.'s picture
by Mary McCaughey

Programme Support Officer (TLP)

[email protected]

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