Investing in Community Leadership – Holywell Trust

15 April 2021

Investing in Community Leadership | NICRC

An ambitious programme will identify and develop leaders in the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector.

The “Investing in Community Leadership” programme is a 3-way partnership between Holywell Trust (who are core funded by the Community Relations Council), Fermanagh Trust, and the Rural Community Network.

“This is an exciting 5-year project that has received £500,000 from the National Lottery Community Fund through their Great Ideas Fund,” explained Gerard Deane, Holywell Trust.


Addressing leadership challenges

The need to address leadership challenges across the sector is a key goal of the programme.

“Each of the partner organisations has been aware for some time of the need to address the leadership challenges facing the community and voluntary sector,” Gerard said, “of the need for succession planning, supporting and educating volunteer leaders and board members and the need to bring younger people on board community organisations if we are to have a strong independent sector into the future.”

Over the next 5 years, the project will deliver a range of programmes including the innovative Future Leaders, Grant Making Apprentice programmes, and the Diploma in Community Development Practice. There will also be a range of shorter accessible courses and one-off sessions from introductory courses on community development and community relations to lunchtime sessions and transformative facilitative leadership courses.

Speaking about the “the target area for the programme,” Gerard continued:

“The partner organisations involved in the programme see this work as an opportunity to help to positively transform the sector west of The Bann.

“This programme is a great example of partnership working and is a reflection of the community and voluntary sector at its best – delivering for people who need it most by creating positive change from the ground up.”


Needed now more than ever

An important aim for the project is to support those who are making things happen at a community level, while also giving the next generation training and opportunities.

“This type of programme, and the approach taken to deliver it, is needed now more than ever,” Gerard said. “As we find ourselves isolated from our communities and normal support structures, it is reassuring to know that there are still groups working together to create the change that they want to see in society through collaboration and partnership.”

Further Information

Find out more information about the Community Leadership programme here:

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