REPRESENTATIVES from Dungannon Youth Community Centre and Coalisland Residents Forum in Dungannon joined more than 30 groups to mark the conclusion a major cross-community and cross-border training programme.
The Community Leadership Programme (CLP) was coordinated by NICVA and offered a suite of learning opportunities and accredited training specially-designed to strengthen the leadership capacity of community groups.
The programme was supported with more than £8million funding from the International Fund for Ireland since it was established in 1993.
More than 2,500 community leaders from approximately 500 community groups from both sides of the border have completed the programme. Each group enrolled in the latest phase also received £2,500 (€2,750) to undertake a specific project relevant to their areas, many of which initiated cross-community and cross-border contact and sought to improve communication within and between communities.
Dr Adrian Johnston, Chairman of the International Fund for Ireland commented: “This programme made an important and positive contribution to the lives of hundreds of communities on both sides of the border. Community leadership is vital to drive renewal and regeneration within and between communities affected by
conflict and sectarian tensions.
“The CLP has been hugely successful in supporting groups to address issues of deprivation, social cohesion, reconciliation and helping to make community-led change possible and sustainable.
“This programme will have a lasting legacy in the cross-community links and relationships that now exist between within and beyond the parish boundaries and between people of different religions and cultural backgrounds.”
Seamus McAleavey, Chief Executive of NICVA, said: “The aim of the Community Leadership Programme has always been to strengthen leadership capacity; and to enable greater contributions to be made to the social, economic and
community relations regeneration activities. The 30 groups that have completed the programme are actively employing the leadership skills they’ve gained to improve how organisations are run and their relations and interactions with other groups.
“It’s pleasing to see the significant progress that has been made at grassroots level. The participants must be congratulated on their significant achievements within this programme and within their wider community.”
The CLP celebration event took place at the Galgorm Hotel, Ballymena and included a roundtable meeting and presentation of certificates.
For more details see the CLP website cataloguing the activity and resources built up over the Programme - www.communityleadershipprogramme.org