Transformative Leadership Programme

The Transformative Leadership Programme (TLP) is a leadership training programme funded by the Peace IV programme through Belfast City Council (BCC). It runs from July 2019 until December 2021.

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The Transformative Leadership Programme: Participants tell their story South Belfast TLP Autumn 2019

Here the first South Belfast TLP group share their story.

This South Belfast TLP group came from diverse community and organisational backgrounds, comprising local residents as well participants from the following organisations: Ethnic Minority Support Organisation NI, An Droichead, Mornington Community Project, Youth Link NI, Afro-Community Support Organisation NI, BOMOKO NI, Ormeau Business Park, Greater Village Regeneration Trust and Radius Housing.

“It has been brilliant for me to bring back… answers to problems; the group has built a freshness and generated new ideas”.

 

Experience and Learning

What did you like about the course?

Participants talked about the value of the course, the content, and the impact this had on their confidence to influence and challenge in the community:

“It has been brilliant for me to bring back [to my colleagues] answers to problems; the group has built a freshness and generated new ideas”.

“The hand-outs and instructions are so practical – a lot of the materials and interaction we have had on the course have already solved the problems. My group were going around in circles developing the vision and planning the way forward. I talked with one of the trainers and that afternoon when we were looking at social innovation one of the hand-outs gave me the questions to ask. As it happened the meeting was the evening after the TLP training; and it went so well looking at what we wanted to achieve, why, and what difference we could make”.

What topics or learning stood out for you?

The group had many lessons to take away about leadership:

“One of the biggest things we’ve learnt is that there is a time to lead and a time to be led. We need to do both, and as a leader know when to lead and when to be led. Know when to apologise, when mistakes have happened. Learn from the mistakes, own up to it, and say sorry. Leaders also need to be vulnerable and show vulnerability; and know when to let others take over”.

“Leadership can be messy at times, but you have to get in and be humble and be prepared to learn. We need to push decision makers and government, but we need to get stuck in at the grassroots on the ground as well”.

What difference has it made?

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

The group identified gatekeeping and outdated approaches as challenges in the interface area, and talked about their intention to challenge these when they arose, but also to bring people with them on the peace journey, motivating, influencing and inspiring:

“Because of the TLP I felt empowered to be able to take the first scary step of challenging something positively. I spoke out at a meeting and said that we could look at the situation in different ways. I said I will work with you to resolve this. Sometimes we need to think out of the box to see more clearly and be able to achieve more”.

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

There was a real sense that by the end of this course, people had got to know each other and had developed not only a preparedness to work together to improve their area, but also they were excited at the prospect:

“We’ve really got to know each other during the past weeks; there is a genuine wish for future collaboration – I think we all like idea of doing a project together”.

An indication of their willingness of future collaboration was demonstrated by the suggestion made by one of the participants to set up a TLP WhatsApp Group. Following unanimous consent this was set up prior to the last two modules:

“We walked in as strangers, but I know we will see each other again, and I know you all as individuals”.

What difference will this make to how you engage in your interface area and to the area overall?

The participants brought a cross cultural set of experiences, values, and skills that were shared within the group. This resulted in discussion about ‘cultural diversity’ and ‘cross-community’, with consensus that the former terminology is now more appropriate:

“The community now is a lot more than being about two communities; ‘cross-community’ is an outdated term because we are talking about more than two communities. I prefer ‘cross cultural’; and in fact personally I prefer the term ‘blended community’. In a blended community you can’t see the individual differences because the blend signifies co-existence and co-dependency. In Zimbabwe there is a word ‘Simunye’, which means ‘we are one’ – with the vision to be able to live the expression out. Simunye exceeds gender, race, age, cultures, and religion”.

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The Transformative Leadership Programme: Participants tell their story Ciaran Mc Neill Ligoniel, Spring 2020

Ciaran Mc Neill is recreation manager at Ligoniel Improvement Association. He shares his TLP story here.

Ciaran did his TLP course in the Ligoniel area in Spring 2020 – the course had completed 4 days before the COVID lockdown kicked in. The course was finally completed in September. The group has now planned a joint project together – a community farm in the Ligoniel Dams area.

“The course reminded me that community is everything in community development.”

Motivation

What motivated you to sign up?

I saw the course leaflet – I thought that would really benefit the community and I was keen not just to do it myself but to have other members of our team take part – this would mean that everyone would learn together.

Experience and Learning

What did you like about the course? 

I loved leadership styles – I saw a bit of myself in every one and have had to change styles with different job roles and different people. The examples were really relatable – they simplified it. And I also loved social innovation and really enjoyed examples we looked at – it showed how something so small and easy can have such an impact in their communities. 

The course was very informal but educating – you knew the facilitators made sure you wouldn’t miss out. It was so relatable, even if the terminology at the start was a bit “What’s that?” the examples made it simple and relatable.

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

Definitely social innovation – how easily it can be done, but that it has to be community led, especially if you’re changing things. You’ve got to get their go ahead and build trust and relationships, otherwise it can have a negative impact – the course reminded me that community is everything in community development.

 What difference has it made?

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

Yes. In our team I’m the youngest, with others having been there much longer. I think that the course has given us a new lease of life and will renew our processes. It reminded us we have the power to bring about positive change. We are so aware often of the lack of resources in the area, it reminded us we are a resource and about what we can bring to the table. It will get the team motivated.

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

We were introduced to the participants from the Housing Executive and got a sense of what they do and how they played a part in the area. It would easier for me now to talk to others like them, and also other community organisations. I’d be confident with our new approach, and how involved the community should be in everything we do. I’d be more inclined to work with others, e.g. Ballysillan Community Forum. Those connections will be invaluable. We all have targets to work to and there’s no reason not to meet them together.

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

The main difference is the need to engage with community. And in terms of any projects we do, we don’t shout from the rooftops enough here – we will now get the media involved, Belfast Live etc. that would be a massive change. We need to get the message out to others, and to use our Councillors more.

The project which is funded through the programme will make a difference because the wellbeing garden will allow us to bring more people in and we’ll be able to use it as a basis for community consultation – kids, mums and dads, word of mouth travels very quickly. This all feeds into the community led approach – bring your father to shed day, bring a friend – this will allow us to be innovative using the community resource we have, it will be a cracking resource.

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

The course has created a feel good factor, not just for me but for the whole team. It has brought a lot of energy to all of us, reinvigorated things, reminded us of our goals and what we do have. It has given us a new lease of life – using good ideas and thinking outside the box.

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

It has made us think about why Ligoniel is lagging behind and how things could be fast-tracked – I feel more motivated about this and more inclined to get involved. For example the pitches at the back of two local primary schools - the two pitches project. There has been talk with developers and other external organisations about the potential of developing houses and a community hub with facilities there and this has the potential to blow the peace line out of the water because it would bring the communities together to do activities. The course has led us not to take second best and fight for our community to develop positively, it has enabled us to think clearly about things we can do for positive change in the area.

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The Transformative Leadership Programme: Participants tell their story - North Talks Too & IFI Peace Walls Group, Girdwood TLP, Autumn 2019

This group was made up of young people who had been engaged in an International Fund for Ireland Peace Walls programme, staff from Cliftonville Community Regeneration Forum and BCC, along with 2 political party representatives.

I think the Transformative Leadership training was very relevant to the situations we face working with young people in the Girdwood Community Hub, especially those related to anti-social activities.” John, participant on Girdwood TLP.

 

Motivation

What motivated you to sign up?

The majority of participants were a cross-community group of young people living across the Lower Oldpark Cliftonville divide who had been recruited by the North Talks Too project to engage in the Peace Walls programme. The initial idea was to provide space for young people to provide feedback on the purpose of the Peace Wall and whether it should remain. The aim was to take young people from both sides of the Peace Wall on a journey of friendship and accomplishment through teambuilding, breaking down barriers and building relationships. Through that programme, they had undertaken 3 years of activities including teambuilding, surveying attitudes to the Peace Wall and doing accredited courses and challenges.

It was clear that by the end of that process, the young people were emerging as young leaders, with many volunteering for local youth organisations and gaining knowledge about the youth sector and youth work practice, and some helping out with the North Talks Summer Programme.

The group identified leadership training as an important next step for them, so when Brenda Lappin, their Project Worker, heard about the Transformative Leadership Programme, she was keen to have the young leaders take part. The course was offered over 10 evenings between October 2019 and January 2020 in Girdwood Community Hub – the course was offered at the time and place most suited to the young people.

Experience and Learning

Which topics stood out for you?

During the 10 weeks, participants took part in interactive and participative modules covering leadership styles, managing conflict, collaboration, social innovation, communication, and many other leadership topics. This required them to do collaborative group work, small group discussions and also to lead the final evaluation session each week. Some of the young people also suggested and led group exercises which were felt to be in keeping with course modules. The course was delivered by trainers from NICVA.

What difference has this course made to you?

The impact of the course on young people was evident in their evaluation comments throughout the course. Here, two participants say more about their backgrounds, and the difference the course made to them.

Lauren, aged 21 – Protestant participant from Lower Oldpark now living in the Shankill area

Lauren joined the Girdwood Youth Forum group in 2016 having completed the first TBUC (Together Building a United Community) Camp programme to be held at the Girdwood site and represents young people from the Lower Oldpark/Shankill areas. She is currently doing an apprenticeship in retail through Impact Training and most of her free time is spent working and volunteering with cross-community youth groups at the Girdwood Youth Space.

She started attending youth groups with North Talks Too when she was 16/17 years old. The first group she participated on was a TBUC Camp group:  “I really enjoyed meeting new people from across the peace wall, one of the people I met was John, during our group we realised that years before we started our group we would have engaged in conflict with each other as we both lived on either side of the Cliftonpark Avenue interface and now four years later, we are still friends and have even co-facilitated our own TBUC Camp group in 2019. We are working alongside each other to build a stronger and healthier community and hope to work together again in 2020 on another TBUC Camp project”.

Lauren has also been working on the Girdwood Youth Champions project for the past four years. This project involves meeting new people, gaining new skills and confidence and being a youth role model. She really enjoys participating in this project and loves working with and inspiring young people. Lauren says:

“During the Transformative Leadership training I gained knowledge on different leadership styles and I learnt that within myself I am a coaching/creative leader. I also learnt that plus/delta is a really good technique for adding things to groups that we might need to fix or that we might forget to add and I am going to use in the future to help myself bond closer to groups that I facilitate.  Attending this training alongside the Girdwood Young Leaders group made all our friendships stronger and helped us work so much better in a team.  Our social action project (The Girdwood Foyer project) has worked really well with the help of Helen and Mary and I couldn’t thank them enough.”

John, aged 18 – Catholic participant from the Cliftonville area

John has been a member of the Girdwood Youth Forum since 2016. He joined the Girdwood Youth Forum to represent the young people of the Cliftonville area as he had been an active youth participant in the Manor Street youth project which is located at the Lower Oldpark/Manor Street interface. Before joining the Youth Forum John had actively participated in a number of cross-community youth projects and was keen to be a cross-community role model to young people from his area.

Before his involvement with Manor Street John had no interaction or contact with members of the Protestant community and had never ventured beyond the Nationalist end of Cliftonpark Avenue. He freely admits he was involved in sectarian rioting at the interface as a young boy and was involved in the building of internment bonfires in his area despite widespread community objection to these bonfires.

His involvement with the Girdwood Youth Forum has built on the cross-community activities he took part in whilst a youth participant in Manor Street.  He now has as many Protestant friends as Catholic and moves freely in and out of the Lower Oldpark and Shankill estates to meet with these friends and is widely respected by both communities for his volunteering work within the Girdwood Youth Space.  He has taken part in a wide range of learning and training programmes to build his community relations leadership capacity and his participation in the interface-based Transformative Leadership Programme will further enhance this capacity.

John says:

“I think the Transformative Leadership training was very relevant to the situations we face working with young people in the Girdwood Community Hub, especially those related to anti-social activities.  This training has helped me deal with conflict situations involving young people and encouraged me to see the bigger picture when dealing with situations because young people could be dealing with problems which could influence their behaviour and it is important that youth leaders are aware of this.”

What difference has it made?

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

It was evident throughout the course that there were community safety issues in and around the Girdwood site which were causing serious concern. This included rioting with the police, throwing of missiles, and other forms of anti-social behaviour. This was felt to be impacting on the site itself and its facilities as well as of course the local community and meant that collectively “young people” were being demonised.

Naturally, the Council faced the challenge of how to deal with the situation, whilst maintaining the open and welcoming approach which Girdwood was intended to enshrine. Because the Transformative Leadership Programme brought the young leaders together with Council staff, an idea for engaging young people in helping to solve the problem was able to be developed outside of the programme itself with coordination from Council staff and CCRF. This became known as the Foyer Project, whereby the young leaders would reach out to local younger people coming into Girdwood and finds ways to guide and engage them. It was hoped that this would direct young people to positive activities, leading to an increase in positive engagement of young people in the Girdwood site, and a reduction in the community safety and anti-social behaviour issues.

As well as the practical signs of increased collaboration around local issues, evaluations suggest that the course was the right intervention at the right time for the young people. Comments included:

  • “It has given me confidence to be a leader to young people or adults. So far I have learnt how to deal with conflict and to agree on a solution to solve it. I will apply this by being a better leader to young people.”
  • “I will put everything I have learned into practice in both of my jobs. It was really good to learn something different and to see things differently.”
  • “I understand that everyone is different and needs to apply different styles of leadership at times.”

Council staff also rated the course highly with comments as follows:

  • “The course was very varied with a good mixture of theory and practical. It was inspiring to meet different community leaders.”
  • “Well facilitated, practical and interactive sessions. I enjoyed working with the young people of Girdwood and seeing them develop and contribute within the sessions.”

The young people’s Support Workers also enjoyed the course, with Brenda commenting that the course was “really enjoyable, relevant and practical training delivered by experienced and knowledgeable trainers”.

Demi Dunlop talked about the personal benefit to her of the training: “I can now implement more leadership skills and have a better adaptability. I thoroughly enjoyed this training.”

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

In addition to the collaborative effort already underway between the young people and Belfast City Council, the programme itself provides the opportunity for each course group to apply for funding from Belfast City Council of up to £4000, aimed at bringing participants together to address a local issue. A major focus of the course was on identifying local issues, especially ones that impact on young people and generating ideas for how they could support young people in the local area. During the 10-week run of the course, North Belfast experienced a spike in suicides amongst young people, raising concern about mental health issues. The participants felt strongly that they wished to use their project funding to develop a peer support approach in the local area addressing mental health issues. They have had their first project development workshop, aimed at developing their idea further, and will be submitting their plans to Council for approval.

As well as continuing to develop the Foyer Project with Belfast City Council, and their funded project through the programme, Brenda felt that the course had set the young people up well for working collaboratively in the future in the local area, stating: “I will encourage the young people I work with to play an active role in peacebuilding within and around the Manor Street interface and ensure the voice of young people is heard in relation to the future transformation of this interface”.

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The Transformative Leadership Programme: Participants tell their story Lesley Doherty, North Belfast Resident Limestone Road TLP Spring 2020

Lesley Doherty who runs her own tour guide business in the North Belfast area shares her TLP story here.

As well as running her own business, Lesley is involved in local community and voluntary activities for example with Storehouse which is a charity hub which provides a range of support for the community including a foodbank, as well as activities and classes for local people. She did her TLP course in the Limestone Road in Spring 2020 – the course managed to finish before lockdown! For Lesley, the course was something that she could easily not have done – and now is glad that she did:

“I feel more positivity now about interfaces – I think I felt in a rut about them before –this has given me more hope.”

 

Motivation

What motivated you to sign up?

I signed up as I was interested in the idea of peacebuilding in interface areas, as I  drove up and down Limestone Road every day, and was familiar with the Peace Walls thanks to my work as a tour guide around these areas.

Experience and Learning

Which topics stood out for you?

Leadership Styles: This stood out as I hadn’t thought of there being different leadership styles which could be learned.

Barriers to Transformation: I found it useful to be aware that there will always be barriers to change, and that there will always be a mix of positive and negative that you have to work with.

Social Innovation: This was great – it brought it down more to local level, and the idea of working with other people. It made it more realistic to know that we’d be planning a project.

It was good to get the speakers in from local organisations (Duncairn Community Partnership, Duncairn Community Health Partnership and Belfast City Council). It was good to get feedback from the speaker from Duncairn Community Health Partnership that our social innovation project idea was good and that we could really make a difference.

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

For Lesley, the course meant she would take a different approach in future: “I do work with peers a lot but tend to be more reluctant to lead. But with my voluntary work with Storehouse for example, I would now be more inclined to step up and contribute ideas – and to know that it’s OK to use your strengths, step forward, have ideas and express them. Also, for me, I’ve realised that you need to plan and work through things step by step – I am ideas person, but you need to work through that to the practical implementation stage too”.

What difference has it made?

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

I’d be more inclined to lead a group of peers – I’d be more confident to do that now, and to contribute more to a planning team and to leadership. I learned a lot about my community and about myself.

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

Yes – in the local area I’d feel more able to contact the Ashton Centre which I might have been less inclined to go to before. Ashton have a list of local services, and even this week, in the current Coronavirus crisis, when I was trying to identify sources of help for people, I looked at Ashton, Newington Housing Association and Duncairn Community Partnership. It was great to have Ciaran Shannon from the partnership to talk to us – the timing was important as the wall at Duncairn had just been lowered. It was lovely to see the faces behind making progress and how much work they have put into it and how long it took.

I’m interested to find out even more about how Council works – it was great that the Belfast City Council Manager for North Belfast came in to talk to the group, and I’d  like to engage more with them and be more aware of what the Council is doing. It’s also clear that North Belfast still needs some kind of connecting organisation as provision – especially at a time like this – can be disjointed and inconsistent across areas.

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

I think that the course has already given me the desire to be more aware of what’s going on in the area. I now make a point of looking at Ashton, North Belfast News, North Belfast Facebook etc. It has made me engage more and I feel it’s easier to get a sense of who’s doing what. In the current crisis, I’ve already let my own organisation – who are planning to meet various local needs – know about the importance of finding out what’s already going on and complementing it.

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

It’s easier to lift the phone to people now. For example, Israel who was on the course is dealing with Asylum seekers – I’m also dealing with Asylum seekers through Storehouse so we’ve already been connecting. A teacher who was on the course is already engaging with Newington Housing Association.

For me the leadership aspect was central – if I’d really thought about it being a leadership course I might not have done it, but I loved that it developed personal skills in this area. I feel more positivity now about interfaces – I think I felt in a rut about them before – this has given more hope.  The course will have a positive effect on interfaces, especially if over 900 people do it! It also helped to know that others are prepared to invest in your community – it gives you hope.

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The Transformative Leadership Programme: Participants tell their story - Shannon Downey, Groundwork NI Duncairn TLP Autumn 2019

Shannon Downey of Groundwork NI shares her TLP story here.

Shannon did the course in Autumn 2019, in the Duncairn area of Belfast.

I enjoyed making connections and hearing from people and seeing things from their point of view. I’d say the USP of this programme is bringing the sectors together.

 

Motivation

What motivated you to sign up?

I was looking for training in the area of Good Relations and it was difficult to find. I hadn’t seen anything with this particular focus – there’s not a lot of training that brings other sectors together – this is ambitious and different and so it was attractive, as was the ILM Level 3 accreditation.

I’m working in North and West Belfast Primary Schools, and this was my first time working in North Belfast so I don’t have a lot of experience in this area. So I was interested to meet others working in the area to get to know what other work is going on and make connections with others with similar roles – networking and meeting others was the main motivation.

Experience and Learning

What did you like about the course? 

A high quality approach with good tools. I liked that there was a choice of topics. I thought the personal leadership bits were good, we tend not to think of this, so it was good to have the space to think about your leadership and how it affects change.

And there was a great bunch of people in the room – the course engaged people who brought a lot to the table. I enjoyed making connections and hearing from people and seeing things from their point of view. I’d say the USP of this programme is bringing the sectors together – it’s so easy to get into working in silos so promoting collaboration is really important.

What topics stood out for you?

I liked Collaboration and building relationships – this was very important. It can be difficult to collaborate with different people and communities, but nearly every project has to do it if you’re working for social change.  There were very useful tools for this that I will use in the future. And also Power and Systems – the course gave a new angle on this.

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

I’d use the planning tools – we learned a tool called the planning pathway. I worked with kids to design an anti-bullying comic and I used this pathway approach. Also, much of my work is about identifying issues, community mapping etc. This course provides good teamwork tools for approaching this sort of work. I have also passed on the learning about communicating your vision to our fundraising person. I already use Social Innovation tools anyway.

What difference has it made?

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

Yes, thinking about leadership styles I use, and confidence that it’s OK to use different styles in different situations. As a young woman it can be difficult so it’s good to have the confidence and tools to reflect on my style and how to improve it.

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

Yes, I now have connections in the Council and have more understanding of their work and willingness to work to make change in interface areas. Through the relationship-building on the course, I know I could lift the phone and we could work together. This applies to the Good Relations team in Council, Department of Justice and other groups such as Ashton and Cats Protection – people coming together under pressure with a shared purpose of wanting to make life better.

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

The tools around collaboration and relationship building will change how I’d approach this. We can go in with assumptions, but we’re not always right. This changes how you interact with people. The good tools and content around this changed how I’d approach it.

To what extent do you think these changes would have occurred in the absence of this course? i.e. would you have developed these skills and be motivated to do something new anyway?

I wouldn’t have thought of the leadership reflection and other tools if I hadn’t done the course. I had ILM accreditation down as a goal, but I wouldn’t have done that for a long time if it wasn’t for the course. It also allowed me to meet people I wouldn’t otherwise have met. The tools, content and facilitation are all relevant to what I do and of a very high quality. It’s hard to find courses like this.

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

With the wider Transform for Change events outside the training there will be more relationship-building and networking and this could translate into more collaborative working. It’s very important that there is a mechanism for this to happen as people still work in silos so bringing people together is really important and we often don’t get the time to do this. The Collaborative Projects will also have a benefit, as will meeting people from other interface areas.

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The Transformative Leadership Programme: Participants tell their story - Terry McCallum, Belfast City Council Falls Shankill TLP Spring 2020

Terry McCallum works for Belfast City Council’s Community Services Department. Here she shares her TLP story.

Terry McCallum from Belfast City Council did her TLP course in Falls / Shankill in Spring 2020 – the course managed to finish just before lockdown! Terry works in the greater Shankill area, so is familiar with the Crumlin Road/Twaddell interface, the Highfield / Black Mountain interface and also Lanark Way, Northumberland Street, Howard Street and Carlisle Circus.

I work for a statutory organisation. What makes me want to get involved is the opportunity to work with community organisations within the community that I work in and that I live in.

 

Motivation

What motivated you to sign up?

I work for a statutory organisation. What makes me want to get involved is the opportunity to work with community organisations within the community that I work in and that I live in. So I’ll take that opportunity if it relates to my work, anywhere, anytime.

Experience and Learning

What did you like about the course? 

The variety! Let me try to be clear about this. While TLP is about one topic i.e. interface areas, transformation and leadership skills, there was still the variety of issues. Within the modules there are so many points that you can use. There are so many reference tools within each module that are really useful and you’re probably using them. But this is pinpointing how to use them and how to move on.

What topics stood out for you?

Nothing particularly, because every day I have taken away something that was pretty good. I enjoyed that! So far, I have really liked breaking down what’s a positive thing that you could do about a chosen issue i.e. ASB at an interface area; who can support that and who is a blockage to it. So I’m really enjoying that type of exercise and that is happening at every session. It helps me identify a pathway but it has also helped me recognise that I am already doing this but I’m just not breaking it down in my head as much, I’m slamming on a bit - maybe.

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

The reference tools within all of the modules. I think it is so important for statutory agencies to be given networking opportunities with communities. How do you know what’s happening at community level if there isn’t that engagement? We’ve looked at good relations and how good relations takes in everything and I think there needs to be more awareness about that for those working in the good relations field. The importance of the elements within Good Relations, such as community safety & community development.

What difference has it made?

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

I will be using the templates to monitor, for myself: I have tried this, I have tried that; this is working, this is not working, and where do I go from here.

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

It has opened up relationships with those statutory groups i.e. the participant from Department of Justice and I have attended the same meetings quite a lot together but we didn’t have any personal relationship – we now do. So it’s been a good networking opportunity. For other participants, community reps, I feel this has also allowed for some relationships to be built.

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

Within our class if there is something people want to get involved in I would be more than happy. Within my personal life as a resident if there is something that’s happening, if there is a project, yes, absolutely.

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

Every module has delved a little bit deeper. So within each day attended and each module - we have looked at something different. Looking at people living at the interface, breaking up into working groups. There were some great ideas about how marginalised people might address fears and meet. Or a conduit to them meeting - we looked at that. There were some great ideas shared on that. I will be encouraging people that I work with to register for this course.

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NICVA calls for spring participants for interface-based Transformative Leadership Programme

nicva transformative leadership programme

Spring dates have now been set for the Transformative Leadership Programme (TLP)—a leadership training programme funded by the PEACE IV Programme through Belfast City Council.

“An amazing, thought-provoking, informative and inspiring leadership programme, I leave feeling refreshed, inspired and motivated to make change”

— Autumn 2019 Participant

This inclusive programme is being delivered across 15 interface areas in Belfast, and NICVA is delighted to be delivering it along with locally based partners across the city: Falls Community Council, West Belfast Partnership Board, East Belfast Community Development Agency and Forward South Partnership.

Spring dates for TLP courses

This course is unique in that it brings together people from local communities, public sector agencies including the Council and government departments, and local politicians and activists, to build leadership skills and share ideas on how to make life better in interface areas

This collaborative programme is tailored to suit local need and to help participants learn skills for building solution-focused approaches that can make lasting changes in Belfast.

Participants on Autumn TLP courses told NICVA that as well as enjoying learning new leadership skills and tools, they placed great value on working together with others from different backgrounds and sectors to make a difference

“Very worthwhile training, increasing collaboration between community / residents and statutory bodies is welcomed

A trainer on one of the Autumn TLP courses commented:

“It has been encouraging to see participants from our autumn cohort have already begun to build relationships with those they may otherwise have not engaged with prior to this programme. We are seeing participants as young as eighteen actively challenging and working towards changing the narratives around our interface areas.”

Helen McLaughlin, the Programme Co-ordinator says:

“Whether you’re brand new to learning about leadership, or you’ve been involved in working to make life better in your area for many years, as a volunteer or as a professional, this course could be for you”.

Spring dates have now been set so to find out the dates for your area, contact Helen McLaughlin at NICVA. Email [email protected] or phone 028 9087 7777.

You can also visit the TLP webpage for more information and to complete an Expression of Interest form.

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