On 2 April NICVA joined with over 40 participants from the East Belfast Community Capacity and Leadership Programme to celebrate all that had been achieved and look to the future.
The networking event held in The East Belfast Network Centre was an opportunity to celebrate success and plan for the future. The programme has been a real success for the people, organisations and communities in East Belfast. We are delighted that 449 people and 181 organisations have participated in the East Belfast Community Capacity and Leadership Programme since it started in May 2017. Over 100 people have achieved accreditation during this time as well, which is an amazing achievement.
Helen McLaughlin, Programme Coordinator at NICVA remarked on what a great achievement this was for East Belfast, which was down to the enthusiastic participation of community and voluntary groups and organisations in the programme. She thanked EBCDA for managing the programme, and all the programme partners – Interaction Institute, Youth Action and Tides for their work, as well as her colleagues at NICVA.
Michael Briggs, EBCDA, then conveyed how the programme had started and shared his reflections on the programme's success. He thanked all those who had contributed to the programme’s success, not least The Executive Office for funding the programme through SIF.
"The East Belfast Community Capacity & Leadership Programme has achieved beyond our expectations. Whilst it was very much a training programme targeted at the community sector in East Belfast, It has been a great process for developing contacts and networks across East Belfast. It has provided so many opportunities for organisations in East Belfast to participate in high quality, accredited and non-accredited training and support the development of organisations and the staff, volunteers and structures of those organisations. The professional delivery by NICVA and their partners of Interaction Institute, Tides Training and Youth Action NI has been a wonderful experience for our organisation."
Michael Briggs, Executive Director, East Belfast Community Development Agency
Participants shared the impact that the programme had on their groups and organisations as follows:
- More confident
- More productive
- Better community cohesion
- Stronger relationships
- New relationships
- More collaborative working
- Increased community engagement
- New people on boards
- Using new methods and processes
- More effective management of volunteers
- Better governance
Dr Mark Browne, from The Executive Office, congratulated all those involved in the programme and commended the impact that it has had on individuals and communities. He spoke of the other work The Executive Office were doing and how people could get involved. He then presented certificates to those who had completed the programme. Within the programme there was a wide range of courses including: evening /half-day/one day sessions, TQUK Level 3 Education and Training, Facilitative Leadership, ILM Level 3 Management of volunteers, ILM Level 3 Leadership and Management, ILM Level 5 Coaching and Mentoring and OCN courses.
Jacinta Linden then spoke of her experience developing the work of Space-NI. SPACE believes that every person has the right to access services and support to reach their potential and Jacinta shared about the work that they do and the people they serve. She spoke of the importance of strengthening individuals and communities first and then building on this to improving infrastructure and access to service and ultimately improving social and economic conditions for people. She told of how Space-NI gets along side people at their point of need and helps with challenges in their lives. Through their work they help people take better control of their lives and sustain healthy relationships. Jacinta urged us to:
"Listen to your community and improve what you do. Build understanding and connections, work with others to meet the challenges. The culture in your organisation is key to success, develop the people around you and have audacious goals. You know your community and your practice, be confident."
The participants then discussed what they thought should happen next to continue the good work that the programme had started. They suggested:
- Develop a coaching culture
- Build on the networks
- Continue networking
- Use existing networks and forums more effectively
- Share information
- Champion community and individual development
- Organise best practice visits
Finally, thank you to all who participated in the programme, congratulations to those that achieved accreditation and we look forward to continuing to work with you all after the programme ends on 30 April.