Training Links 2008-2010: Successful Networks

The Training Links grant programme will relaunch for applications on 13 July, 2011. Please check back closer to that date for fully updated details.

The 2008-2010 Training Links grant programme saw the formation of 11 new training networks. Over 60 applications were received, and the independent assessment panel commented on the high standard of all the applications.

The Training Links programme encourages community and voluntary organisations to unite in "training networks" to identify shared training needs and to apply for a grant to address these needs. This approach offers participants significant cost efficiencies and other collective benefits.

Click on names below to jump to a specific network:

  1. Ability West Training Network
  2. The Community Education Network of Crosscare (CENNC)
  3. Partners in Policymaking Network
  4. Community Radio Forum of Ireland (CRAOL) Network
  5. The Meath Training Links Network
  6. One Family South East FRC Training Networks
  7. The South West Community Development Training Network
  8. West & Midland Community Development Network
  9. Kerry Community & Voluntary Forum Training Links Programme
  10. Safe Ireland Network
  11. Integrating Ireland Network

1. Ability West Training Network

The Ability West Training Links Network is a group of 14 health and social service providers from the community and voluntary sector, based in the midlands and west of Ireland. The target group for this training network will be senior and middle managers in the member organisations, and those with a particular brief for the management of volunteers.

The network will focus on a small number of key training priorities, including:

  • Skills for staff involved in recruitment, including those participating as members of interview boards;

  • Managing conflict between individuals or small groups, within the workplace and within workplace teams

  • Conducting formal investigations and issuing formal reports

  • Managing volunteers, developing associated policies and procedures, and managing the relationship between volunteers and paid staff.

Ability West led the network, and organisation which provides a range of services and supports for people with an intellectual disability throughout Galway City and County.

Network Co-ordinator: Adrian Harney, Ability West

Visit for further information. 

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2.  The Community Education Network Of Crosscare (CENNC)

The Community Education Network has been established under the auspices of Crosscare, the social care agency of the Catholic Archdiocese of Dublin. Its objective is to provide hands-on support to coordinators of centres in the archdiocese, which provide community education.

The network reflects the principles of the organisation by supporting and valuing community education, which operates from the core principles of 'empowerment', 'equality', 'leadership' and 'celebration'.

The CENC Network will provide support to its members in three areas:

  • Personal Support: The disadvantaged encountered by participants who attend Community Education Centres is often mirrored by the coordinators who manage and lead such centres. Consequently one of the functions of the CENC is to provide a 'sacred space' whereby individual coordinators can experience a real sense of community, of validation and support.
  • Peer Support: Emanating from this 'sacred space' coordinators, by listening to each others experiences and approaches to similar problems, encourages lateral thinking, creativity and a gathering of new ideas together with intra-networking with fellow coordinators.
  • Professional Support:
    • To provide relevant information that impacts on the work of members inclusive of a database of facilitators
    • To provide capacity building training
    • To provide one-on-one mentoring support when requested
    • To provide evaluation & certification of courses held in such centres
    • Advocacy: to liase with funding providers on behalf of the network's members to ensure that their difficulties are highlighted to key personnel.

Working from a principle of excellence the CENC works to be as holistic as possible in order to enable its members to be the best that they can be for those they serve.

Network Co-ordinator: Marie Keegan, Cosscare

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3. Partners in Policymaking Network

The goal of Partners in Policymaking Network is to educate participants to be active partners with those who make and shape policies on disability issues at all levels of government. The aim is to enable the participants to become true partners in the policy process, so they can shape their future by influencing public policy today.

Partners in Policymaking is one of the only training programmes focusing on the area of systems change and Partners in Policymaking graduates who are competent in systems change are preparing to be the leaders of tomorrow.
The success of the Partners programme has been documented for more than a decade. The quality principles and curriculum have been formulated from a variety of disciplines - some of these are: experiential learning, diversity, best practice, leadership, evaluation and outcomes.

  • There is a need to provide training programmes that prepare people with disabilities and their advocates for positions of leadership in local, state or national organisations.
  • There is a need for parents and adults with disabilities to come together to have a shared vision about the year 2009 and beyond.
  • There is a need to train people with disabilities and their families in best practices over a wide range of issues and to help them acquire the skills necessary to change systems.

Network Co-ordinator: Geraldine Graydon, Rahab Group

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4. Community Radio Forum of Ireland (CRAOL) Network

Community Radio Forum of Ireland (CRAOL) is the umbrella organisation for the Community Radio Sector in Ireland. Community radio is volunteer driven field and provides a powerful tool for community expression and development, it can reduce isolation and it creates new connections.

The training network is built around the FETAC accredited training system. It focuses on nationally implementing a sustainable mechanism for giving station-based trainers key general training skills. These skills will be FETAC accredited. Subsequently station trainers will be facilitated to deliver courses locally in Community Radio Broadcasting skills at FETAC Level 4 & Level 5, which are relevant to both to the volunteer body and paid staff.

The training network will also provide station managers and administrators with the practical skills to promote and administer such FETAC courses drawing from the available FETAC module descriptors, both those developed by CRAOL, and others applicable to the sector. 

In short, the CRAOL Training Links Network will increase the quality, availability, and take-up of training in community radio broadcasting (including ethos) throughout Ireland through:

  • Ensuring that every volunteer in Community Radio has the opportunity to access skilled and accredited training appropriate to their professional and personal development,
  • Establishing and supporting a network of 40 accredited trainers from over 19 stations who will have delivered a range of accredited training courses to over 600 participants by the end of 2011.

Network Co-ordinator: Diarmuid McIntyre, CRAOL

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5. The Meath Training Links Network

The Meath Training Links Network brings together for the first time nineteen established actors in the community and voluntary sector across County Meath. The Network will focus on developing capacity, skills and core competencies in the areas of human resource management and volunteer engagement and management amongst network members.

The Meath Training Links Network will facilitate and prioritise training activities, which focus on employees who have traditionally had less access to education and training opportunities, or who may need the skills to adapt to a changing workplace. The network will specifically focus on employees with lower basic skills and empower them to proactively foster their career pathways. The Training Links Network will also support capacity building and accredited training activities amongst managers of community and voluntary organisations in order to enhance and develop the leadership, decision-making, personnel management, and operational capacity of managers and board members.

Network Co-ordinator: Gerald Weldon, Broomfield & District Residents Association

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6.  One Family South East FRC Training Network

A large number of Family Resource Centres will benefit from their suite of professional Training for Trainers programmes in the South East by becoming members of the One Family South East Family Resource Centres (FRC) Network. They will be delivering training to staff, board members and volunteers, who will follow the programmes in a training pathway thereby creating one-parent family specialists in each centre. This will have a hugely positive impact on all members of one-parent families accessing the services of the family resource centres, as they will be received by knowledgeable, resourced and informed service providers.

It will also support the strategic development of appropriate responses to the challenges facing one-parent families by the FRC staff and board. This training network will also boost the level of expertise and employability of family resource centre staff members which will in turn result in maintaining a strong and high profile position in the community.

Network Co-ordinator: Paula Lonergan, One Family

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7. The South West Community Development Training Network 

The South West Community Development Training Network's membership is drawn from a pre-existing network of 19 community development projects from the Cork and Kerry region that has been existence for over 10 years. These projects work with a wide range of groups and comprise both geographically based projects in disadvantaged communities, and interest based projects. Typically the projects work with a wide variety of people who are experiencing disadvantage in some way, though the needs will vary locally and across groups.

The Training Network plans to deliver shared skills trainings relating to employment, fundraising and policy development and to develop shared spaces to train and reflect on community development practise. The shared training programme will enhance the capacity of volunteers and staff to work in the sector, especially pronouncing the skills relevant to working with community development processes and empowering people and communities.

Network Co-ordinator: Liam McCarthy, Social and Health Education Project

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8. West & Midland Community Development Network

Kiltimagh Community Development Programme (CDP) will act as lead organisation in the successful training network that will assist with the provision of training for staff, management and volunteers in community development projects in the West and Midlands.

Members will be trained in the areas of governance, financial procedures, responsibilities of voluntary directors and human resource issues and assists to raise awareness of the valuable work carried out by CDP's. The CDP Coordinators Network will oversee the training network.

Network Co-ordinator: Rita Hopkins, Kiltimagh Community Development Project

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9. Kerry Community & Voluntary Forum Training Links Programme

This network will provide training to training to community & voluntary organisations through the existing nine geographical area networks, which constitute the Kerry Community & Voluntary Forum. The mission of the forum is to be the representative voice of the active community and enterprise sector in Co Kerry at a decision-making level. In carrying out this role the Kerry Community and Voluntary Forum works to build the capacity of community and voluntary organisations and to influence policy development and implementation (through the regional and national forums) with particular emphasis on social inclusion and rural disadvantage.

The main challenges facing the community and voluntary sector in Kerry is the lack of funding for training and the lack of a cohesive response to the inaccessibility of training programmes delivered around the country.

The Training Network will also develop innovative approaches to training delivery across areas through collaboration with existing area networks and with relevant stakeholders such as Kerry Education Services, Institute of Technology Tralee and Local Development Companies in South Kerry and North Kerry.

Network Co-ordinators: Siobhan Griffin, Kerry Community Forum

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10. Safe Ireland Network

Safe Ireland operates within the Non Governmental Violence Against Women Sector. Their particular area within this sector is domestic violence. There are approximately 500 employees and at least 300 volunteers working across their members' organisations. 

The Safe Ireland Network will deliver the following three strand training programme to members:

  1. Strand 1 will be designed to deliver an advanced reflective leadership programme which aims to strengthen and to enhance leadership skills which will deepen participants understanding of the complexities of working with domestic violence victims while also enhancing social change leadership within organisations and across the sector.
  2. Strand 2 will be an advanced domestic violence practice training programme which will try to address the impacts of vicarious trauma and which considers both supervisory and advocacy work practices which will serve to minimise these impacts. It is hoped that the learning from this programme will be documented and be available for dissemination.
  3. Strand 3 will deliver a series of professional skills training workshops that will cover social change communications strategies (including PR and IT), policy/lobbying, financial management, equality related issues, data management, outcome evaluation tools for domestic violence services and HR/governance. This training will be tailored to the specific skill set requirements of domestic violence services. 

Network Co-ordinator: Caitriona Gleeson, Safe Ireland

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11. Integrating Ireland Network

Integrating Ireland is an independent network of community and voluntary groups working in mutual solidarity to promote and to realise the human rights, equality, and full integration of refugees, people seeking asylum, migrants and immigrants in Ireland.

Integrating Ireland's Regional Networks will role out its pilot organizational development and support program to its regional networks. The aim of the training is to strengthen and empower the development of groups representing and working with immigrants, asylum seeker and refugees through support and training on organisational development. Through the targeted provision of organisational development support, advice, networking and training it will focus on increasing the capacity and sustainability of organizations. This will be done through the building of skills, knowledge and expertise on group development and the provision of support to initiate, develop and effectively manage participants own organisations planning. Training methods will be active and participatory and will include: group work, discussions, peer learning, guest speakers etc; Course participants will be encouraged to learn from each other and to share their experience; practical skills and approaches will be gained by working to develop solutions together to respond to the needs of their organisations and communities.

The program will be delivered in the five regional networks by the Integrating Ireland Networking Team and will be designed with active input of network members so as to respond to identified needs. The Regional Development Officers will hold an initial meeting with interested groups in their region before the application process and then during the program to work with them to implement the learning within their organisations. Each organisation can select two representatives to participate to support their organisations ability to apply the learning. For more information on Integrating Ireland - the Immigrant Network visit their website

Network Co-ordinator: Monica Anne Brennan, Integrating Ireland

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