East Belfast

The East Belfast Community Capacity and Leadership Programme

The East Belfast Community Capacity and Leadership Programme, funded by the Northern Ireland Executive’s Social Investment Fund as part of the Delivering Social Change programme, aims to work with community groups and individuals in East Belfast to improve their capacity and leadership. It will help groups identify solutions to address the challenges and issues that they face in their local communities. The programme aims to improve leadership skills and confidence and provide the chance to work together and network with others.

The programme is managed by the East Belfast Community Development Agency, and delivered by a partnership of NICVA, Interaction Institute, TIDES training and Youth Action.

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Celebrating success in East Belfast

Graduates celebrate at the East Belfast Networking event

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 

Discussion time for participants

Participants shared the impact that the programme had on their groups and organisations as follows: 

  • Empowered
  • 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.

Dr Mark Browne, from The Executive Office congratulates participants

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."

Jacinta Linden from SPACE NI speaking at the event

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.

East Belfast Community Capacity and Leadership Programme (NICVA) from NICVA on Vimeo.

East Belfast Community Capacity and Leadership Programme (Youth Action NI) from NICVA on Vimeo.

 

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Another buzz in East Belfast!

Thursday 22 November saw yet another busy networking event take place in East Belfast as part of the SIF funded East Belfast Community Capacity and Leadership Programme.

The event, held at the East Belfast Network Centre, had as its main focus “The Belfast Agenda” which is the Community Plan for the whole of Belfast.

The event was attended by over 60 members of local community and voluntary sector organisations, including a number of students undertaking a Youth Action UU Certificate course as part of the programme.

John Tully, Director of City and Organisational Strategy at Belfast City Council, outlined what the Belfast Agenda is, what the findings of their consultations have been to date, and which priorities have emerged as a result. He also explained why the Belfast Agenda is so important and relevant for everyone living and working in East Belfast. He was joined by three members of his team who facilitated roundtable discussions with participants. Community Planning partners from Belfast MET were also in attendance.


John Tully speaking at the East Belfast Networking event

Jonny Currie of EBCDA outlined the work that they had been doing to date to ensure that people in East Belfast had a say in the Belfast Agenda. There were also inputs from Danni Blackstock, a Youth Action Participant, and Susan Ellison from East Belfast Counselling, about their involvement in the East Belfast Community Capacity and Leadership Programme.

Participants shared their views and ideas at roundtables, identifying top priorities for East Belfast, and discussing the best way to stay involved and engaged with the Belfast Agenda. They were also invited to use an online polling tool called Mentimeter, which was used to capture and give an immediate visual representation of priorities in the room. All ideas generated will be written up and passed on to the Community Planning Partnership.

The event ended with a firm commitment from John Tully to stay engaged with East Belfast groups, including returning to the final networking event in March 2019.

East Belfast Programme Co-ordinator Helen McLaughlin commented: “This has been an important event for groups taking part in the East Belfast programme – participants had the opportunity to find out more about the Belfast Agenda, and to share their views with Community Planning Partnership stakeholders who will be aware of their views as the Community Planning process continues. We’re looking forward to taking the conversation forward in the Spring”.


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Access to online training for East Belfast Participants

Do you struggle to attend training sessions during the day due to other commitments? Would you rather learn in your own time at your own pace? Then our online training options may be for you. 

We are delighted to be able to offer online training as an option as part of the East Belfast Community Capacity and Leadership programme.

Online training is a good opportunity for organisations to train their staff and volunteers flexibly. The courses are a great way to increase skills and confidence as well as achieving an internationally recognised qualification.

We asked those who have already taken part in the online programme to tell us what they liked about it, this is what they said:

  • Easy to follow
  • Good support materials
  • Variety of materials
  • Learning at my own pace
  • Studying at a time that suits me
  • Ease of access
  • Video resources.

We also asked them how they will use what they have learnt in their roles and some of the responses are below:

  • I will revise my practice and use the tools
  • I have changed my attitude towards coaching and mentoring
  • I’ll use what I learnt in supervision and appraisal meetings
  • I will use this management style in all areas of my work.
  • I will use a coaching approach in practice and development meetings with staff
  • I will use coaching in my day to day interactions with staff and in formal programmes.

The online course is a great way to provide training and development to your staff, board and volunteers that fits around their needs and their timeframes. NICVA provides the guidance and support for assignments.

The courses that we offer online are:

ILM level 5 Certificate in coaching and mentoring

ILM level 3 Award in Leadership and Management

The next start date for logging on for 2 months access is 19 November 2018.

Please contact Helen at [email protected] to register your interest.

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A buzz in East Belfast

There was great excitement in the air as voluntary and community organisations in East Belfast attended the East Belfast Community Capacity and Leadership Programme’s first networking event on Tuesday 24 April.

The event saw 57 individuals from 35 groups and organisations across East Belfast meet at East Belfast Network Centre, with many groups setting up stands to let others know about their work in the area.

The East Belfast Community Capacity and Leadership Programme is funded by the Northern Ireland Executive’s Social Investment Fund under the Delivering Social Change Framework and aims to work with community groups and individuals in East Belfast to improve their capacity and leadership.

The programme helps groups to identify solutions to address the challenges and issues they face in their local communities and to improve leadership skills and confidence and provide the chance to work together and network with others. It is managed by the East Belfast Community Development Agency, and delivered by a partnership of NICVA, Interaction Institute, TIDES Training and Youth Action.

The 24 April event – the first of three in the programme – provided participants with the opportunity to meet and discuss community issues with people from other groups and organisations in East Belfast with similar issues, in roundtable discussion groups.


They also heard inspiring inputs from Brendan Patterson from Focus on Family and the Cornfield Project in Coleraine, and from Tracey Wilson of East Belfast Sure Start. Brendan gave an excellent account of the challenges and opportunities of partnership working in an engaging and entertaining presentation.

Tracey talked about the East Belfast programme and the difference it had made to her organisation. She said: "This programme has been a gift to our organisation. We took part in a range of training courses such as: Facilitative Leadership, Project Planning, Social Media and Team Building. We also benefited from support in governance and with our appraisal system.  The impact on our staff and organisation has been amazing. People have grown and gained skills. We have learned practical tools and it has given us confidence. The programme has helped us to see what we are good at and what needs to be improved, as well as bringing us together as a team. My plea is that if you haven't done anything yet - do something, keep using the programme. Thanks as well to the Executive Office that fund the programme and to EBCDA".

And of course, we had some fun with a live networking exercise!

What participants said about the event

“Lots of fantastic ideas from group workshops that we will go on to explore. Well done! Inspiring!”

“The informal atmosphere allowed for people to make new connections which weren’t forced.”

“Connected with a few like-minded people – great!”

“Thank-you, excellent event, learnt a lot”.

What can groups get from the East Belfast Community Capacity and Leadership Programme?

The programme supports leadership by offering a wide range of interventions and support to suits different kinds of groups, from small volunteer-led groups to partnership organisations running many projects and services, with staff teams in place. The programme offers:

  • Training tailored for your group: trainers can work with groups at a time and place of their choosing, on a topic of their choosing (e.g. committee roles, better meetings, communication skills, team building, strategic and operational planning, managing money, fundraising, recruiting and managing volunteers, managing diversity, conflict management and much more.
  • Formal accredited training: the programme offers courses accredited by ILM, OCN and TQUK – you can see the list of accredited courses at www.nicva.org/eastbelfast.
  • Governance support: the programme helps groups to keep themselves right on governance and identify strengths to build on and areas for improvement.
  • Mentoring support for leaders: The programme provides one-to-one support for leaders so that they can explore their leadership with an external mentor.
  • Networking events: the programme includes networking events where groups come together and meet other groups dealing with similar issues and challenges.
  • Qualifications in youth work: Youth Action provides accredited training for young people in Youth Work Practice.

Because the programme is funded by the Northern Ireland Executive’s Social Investment Fund under the Delivering Social Change Framework, there is no cost to participating groups.

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Governance Support for East Belfast

Groups in East Belfast are being offered free governance support as part of the East Belfast Community Capacity and Leadership programme.  

The East Belfast Community Capacity and Leadership Programme is delivered by a partnership of NICVA, TIDES Training, Interaction Institute and Youth Action, and managed by East Belfast Community Development Agency. 

This programme, funded by the Northern Ireland Executive’s Social Investment Fund as part of the Delivering Social Change programme, aims to work with community groups and individuals in East Belfast to improve their capacity and leadership. It will help groups identify solutions to address the challenges and issues that they face in their local communities. The programme aims to improve leadership skills and confidence and provide the chance to work together and network with others. 

One area of support on offer is governance – but you may wonder what does that actually mean, and why do it?

Here we answer some questions about the governance support on offer.  This should help you to decide whether governance support is something your group would like to take advantage of.

What is governance?

Governance means how your group or organisation is constituted and run.

What is governance support?

Governance support means that we can provide you with an expert – at no cost to you – to work with your group or organisation on governance and ensure that you’re getting it right.

Which kinds of groups or organisations should have governance support?

Any group or organisation, however large or small, can benefit from governance support. Even the smallest groups need to be well run and keep themselves right, and even the most well-run organisation can find ways to improve.

How would governance support benefit our group?

If your group is able to demonstrate that it is well run and has good governance in place, it makes it easier to get people involved – whether committee members, volunteers or participants. It will re-assure current funders and make you a more attractive organisation to new funders – and potentially make your group and its services more financially sustainable.

With good governance in place, your group is less likely to be at risk of fraud, conflict or reputational damage.

What kinds of issues can governance support help us with?

Governance can help you with a range of issues and challenges. A governance review could be right for you if:

  • Your group was set up a long time ago - and your constitution now needs need to be updated. You may not even be sure whether you have a constitution at all;
  • Your group is new and just getting to grips with how to run things;
  • It could be that your organisation is facing particular challenges in how it is run.  For example, you may have skill gaps on your committee - or you might be finding it difficult to recruit new committee members - or fill the role of Chair, Treasurer or Secretary;
  • You think that your committee meetings could be better run;
  • Your committee members need training to better understand their roles and responsibilities;
  • You might not be sure whether your group is fully compliant with all the requirements of company law or the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland or other statutory requirements relating to key areas such as child protection, the protection of vulnerable adults or data protection;
  • You want to reduce the risks faced by your group;
  • You are concerned that conflicts of interest are not being properly dealt with;
  • You want to make your group more attractive to funders.

If any of these ring a bell with your group or organisation, you could benefit from governance support.  

What does it involve?

Our governance expert will:

  • meet with your Board or committee and work with you to identify governance strengths and weaknesses and complete a Governance Health Check;
  • review your constitution and your governance arrangements and check that you have appropriate systems in place;
  • prepare a brief written report for you – which will be presented to your committee or Board;
  • Identify areas where your governance could be improved and sign-post you to other support and training which might be available under the Programme.

We’re interested – who do we contact?

Just get in touch with me at [email protected] or ring me on 028 90 877 777.

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Leadership in communities - why it matters

To mark the launch of the new East Belfast Community Capacity and Leadership Programme, NICVA's Head of Organisational Development, Sandra Bailie, reflects on why effective leadership is of crucial importance. 

We all know that effective leadership is vitally important in community development. Community leaders help shape the community focus, listen to people's needs, make important decisions for the benefit of the community  and develop partnerships that will benefit the community. They are someone that people can talk to who will listen and take action. They engage others, ask about people’s needs and work together to find solutions to the issues in the community. Community leaders also play an important role in developing partnerships that will contribute to a better community for all.

Leaders are not just those with “leader” in their job title or role - leaders are people who fit the description above and have a desire to improve their community and work hard with others to make that happen. We need these people in our communities to take our community forward and we need to be encouraging and developing new leaders to  carry on that work into the future.

As leaders we all benefit from having the opportunity to further develop our leadership skills, to refresh our passion for our community and to connect with others who have a desire to see their community thrive. Community leadership programmes allow the space and time for both experienced and new leaders to reflect on how effective they are and to invest time in improving their skills and learning from each other. There is real energy when you get a group of community leaders together to learn and connect, and out of that can come new ideas, new ways of working and new partnerships.

We are excited about the new East Belfast Community Capacity and Leadership programme and the opportunity that it provides to learn new skills, develop new partnerships, involve new people and work together to improve the lives of those living in East Belfast.

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New programme in East Belfast

NICVA is pleased to be the lead partner delivering the East Belfast Community Capacity & Leadership Programme.

This new programme is managed by East Belfast Community Development Agency and funded by the Social Investment Fund and aims to work with community groups and individuals in East Belfast to improve their capacity and leadership. NICVA is working with partners: Interaction Institute, TIDES training and Youth Action to deliver the training and support. The programme will help groups identify solutions to address the challenges and issues that they face in their local communities. It also aims to improve leadership skills and confidence and provide the chance to work together and network with others.

It is for groups and people involved in groups in East Belfast in the following areas: The Mount 1&2, Ballymacarrett 1, 2 &3, Sydenham 1 &3,  Island 1, Belmont 3, Bloomfield 1, Enler, Tullycarnet and Cregagh.

The programme will be delivered between September 2017 and April 2019 and we look forward to working with as many groups as we can in this time responding to their development needs and providing the support they need. The programme includes training, one to one support, roundtable workshops and governance reviews. If you are a group in any of the above areas of East Belfast don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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