Eight community groups, including Killargue Development Association, involved in the Community Leadership Programme (CLP) recently took part in a special round table workshop in Cavan which looked at diversity, inclusion and community relations.
The event is one of three organised by NICVA, in conjunction with the International Fund for Ireland as part of the innovative training and learning programme which strengthens leadership capacities within voluntary and community groups in Northern Ireland and the southern border counties.
By increasing leadership skills, the CLP seeks to support groups in the development of sustainable, social, economic and community relations regeneration in their local areas.
Eight of the thirty groups involved in this year’s CLP attended the event and heard a range of speakers present challenging ideas about Community Relations practice.
Úna McKernan, Deputy Chief Executive of NICVA commented “This is now the fourth year of this very successful programme. Ninety-seven groups have so far completed the training and all are showing lots of evidence of improved leadership skills. This year’s groups are about to start Action Learning Projects in their communities with a bursary through the programme and we look forward to seeing the results over the months ahead.”
John Carson from the International Fund for Ireland said: “Community leadership is vital to drive renewal and regeneration within and between communities affected by conflict and sectarian tensions. This programme works directly with groups to help them identify how they can transform their communities for the better. The participants have invested a lot of time and effort so far and we wish them success as they begin their community projects.”
During the event, Social and Economic Development Advisor, Paddy Harte, encouraged individuals to view each situation from other perspectives and urged community groups taking part in the CLP to remember why they had started – to do something good for and in their community.
Director of the LINC Resource Centre, Derek Poole, challenged participants saying, “Borders have a way of psychologically making a difference to relationships and as community leaders you have to help manage your community’s reaction to difference, because as human beings we are naturally threatened by difference.”
Groups had the opportunity to attend fundraising training sessions and for group chairpersons completed special leadership workshops. They also had the chance to share experiences with others on the programme and focus on their priorities for the rest of the programme which concludes in November 2013.
Groups involved in the programme groups now have the opportunity to tailor this training programme to meet their local needs and will work with their own mentor/facilitator to complete a level three award in Leadership from the Institute of Leadership and Management.
A bursary of €2,750 has been awarded to each group to undertake an action-learning project and many will be running community projects over the months ahead. Some participants are also undertaking a Certificate in Management Practice through the University of Ulster as part of the CLP.