NICVA eNews 8 November 2010

Compiled by John McCormick, Information Officer

NICVA Organisational Improvement Programme

Two Committees for the the price of one

Strong showing from voluntary and community sector at SDLP party conference

Green New Deal Housing Plan launched

Rural Community Network AGM and conference

CFNI hosts seminar on cuts impact on communities

Institute of Fundraising Lunchtime Bites - Donor Development

I Value the Arts NI campaign launched

Protecting the vulnerable

Community Tourism workshop

Pre-redundancy advice

Mental Health First Aid

Pick of the websites

Make your move - latest jobs from CommunityNI

1  NICVA Organisational Improvement Programme

Most voluntary sector managers are well versed in the day-to-day running of their organisation.  However, in order to sustain the organisation in these difficult times reviewing or changing organisational practices may be required, including changing the behaviours of people at all levels.

NICVA will be running a new organisational development programme - subsidised by the Department for Employment & Learning - to help organisations manage and implement change and prepare for Investors in People (IiP) recognition.

The programme will:

develop the change management skills of managers

help ensure more successful change implementation

prepare organisations for assessment towards Investors in People (IiP) recognition

The IiP Standard is a public recognition of good organisation and people management practice and the Programme is an ideal way to demonstrate that your organisation can deliver Smart Solutions in Tough Times.

Find out more at a short programme briefing this Wednesday (11 November) in NICVA at 10.00am.

If you'd like to attend, please contact Margaret Thompson on 028 9087 7777 or email:  

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2  Two Committees for the the price of one

Well actually there's no charge at all to take up this unique opportunity to speak directly to the Assembly Committees. Committees in the NI Assembly have a crucial role in scrutinising the budget and the OFMdFM Committee has teamed up with the Social Development Committee at NICVA on 25 November to hear at first hand your views on the budget.

The Social Development Committee scrutinisies the work of DSD, which has lead responsibility for the voluntary and community sector, and the Committee for the Office of the First and deputy First Minister has responsibility for areas such as poverty, equality, human rights and good relations.

This World Café style event will allow up to 100 people from the voluntary and community sector to put their views on the budget directly to the committees.

Find out more at or email to book a place.

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3  Strong showing from voluntary and community sector at SDLP party conference

Representatives from the voluntary and community sector mingled with Ministers, MPs, MLAs, Councillors and party members as the SDLP kicked off the Northern Ireland party conference season in the Ramada Hotel at the weekend.

Most organisations had an information stand and some were there simply to observe and take the opportunity to have a conversation with elected members. Business was brisk at the NICVA stand and many elected members took the time to stop and chat.

It was a great opportunity for us to raise the issues of our Smart Solutions campaign. The message that voluntary and community organisations should not be seen as an easy target for cuts was reinforced by the SDLP members in the debate on the economy that took place on Friday night.


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4  Green New Deal Housing Plan launched

NICVA Chief Executive, Seamus McAleavey, attended the recent launch of the Green New Deal Group's Housing Fund Business Plan. The Green New Deal Housing Fund has cross-party support, with representatives Stephen Farry MLA, Conal McDevitt MLA, Mitchel McLaughlin MLA, Danny Kinahan MLA and Simon Hamilton MLA, all taking part in the launch.

The Plan sets out details of a £253 million investment scheme that will see the energy retrofit of 100,000 homes over a three-year period. The scheme will see over 2,300 jobs created, 50,000 households currently in fuel poverty will benefit, and it will result in a reduction of over 20% in average carbon emissions for homes. Through investment in energy efficiency and renewable energy, the business plan details proposals to tackle the recession, energy security and climate change.

The Northern Ireland Green New Deal group is a coalition of 40 organisations and individuals from across the public, private and third sectors led by Bryson Group, CBI, Energy Saving Trust, Friends of the Earth, Irish Congress of Trade Unions, Institute of Directors, NI Council for Voluntary Action, NI Housing Executive, Sustainable Development Commission, Utility Regulator and Ulster Farmers Union.

Find out more at

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5  Rural Community Network AGM and conference

Rural Community Network's Annual General Meeting and Conference is being held at a time of unprecedented expenditure cuts and it is only normal for community development practitioners to wonder if we actually can continue with this work when some of the building blocks appear to be disintegrating.

Ironically this could be the time for community development to reassert itself as a process which can lead to sustainable change based on social justice, equality and inclusiveness. Before the boom years, much of our activity was conducted within the context of very little money, harnessing the potential of our community assets but still managing to tackle identified need.

The conference will ask: With money too tight to mention, what can you bring to the table?

Delegates are asked to bring two things to the table:

A short story on how with little or no money your group was able to address a community need in your area.

An item of food which will contribute to this ‘guest tea’ style conference.

The event takes place on 3 December in Benedy Community Hall, Dungiven.

Contact RCN to find out more or register on 028 8676 6670 or email:

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6  CFNI to host seminars on cuts impact on communities

A recent survey of community groups carried out for CFNI highlighted the concerns of local groups about the future. CFNI would like to share the survey results, explore the issues and discuss how groups might work together in the coming months to plan and ensure the voice of local communities is heard.

These seminars will:

Look at how the voice of local community groups can be reflected in the current campaign in support of the community and voluntary sector;

Explore how we might work more effectively to ensure sustainability and effective community development;

Explore the impact of community planning and other planned changes on local communities;

Discuss how the Community Foundation might set its support priorities for the community sector in the future

Seminar details:

18 November, Grosvenor House, Glengall Street, Belfast, 10.30 – 1.30pm

8 December, Rath Mór Centre, Bligh’s Lane, Derry City, 10.30 – 1.30pm

14 December, Market Place Theatre, Market St; Armagh, 10.30 – 1.30pm

To register, contact Charlie Fisher at or call 028 9024 5927.

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7  Institute of Fundraising Lunchtime Bites - Donor Development

The Institute of Fundraising’s next Lunchtime Seminar at 1.30pm on 24 November will look at donor development with guest speaker Ambrose Duffy, Concern Worldwide’s Head of Donor Marketing.

Ambrose has ten years fundraising experience in large and small charities throughout Ireland. His background has primarily been in direct marketing with Concern and previously in community fundraising with the Simon Community Northern Ireland.

Sponsored by Unity Trust Bank, the seminar will include a networking lunch and Q&A session.

The session takes place at NICVA, 61 Duncairn Gardens, Belfast, and costs £7.50 for Institute of Fundraising Members and £10.00 for others, payable at the event.  

If you would like to attend, please contact Arlene Creighton on 028 9075 8131 or email to book a place.

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8  I Value the Arts NI campaign launched

Audiences NI, Community Arts Forum, Culture Northern Ireland and Voluntary Arts Ireland have teamed up to create a Northern Ireland branch of I Value the Arts, the campaign run by the National Campaign for the Arts.

The new website will make it easier for people here to pledge their support; spread the word; and to keep updated about what's happening about funding decisions that could affect arts provision.

Pledge your support at (this feeds into the wider campaign). You can also follow @ivaluetheartsni on Twitter or say why you value the arts using #ivaluetheartsni in your tweets.

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9  Protecting the vulnerable

The second event in ARK's seminar series is Protecting the vulnerable: Poverty and social exclusion in the Republic of Ireland as the economic crisis emerged, which takes place in NICVA, 61 Duncairn Gardens, Belfast, at 12 noon on 16 November.

In this seminar, Professor Whelan from the School of Sociology, University College Dublin, will make use of 2008 EU Survey on Income and Living Conditions (SILC) data for Ireland to clarify the distinction between income poverty and economic vulnerability.  He will compare patterns of risk for poverty and vulnerability in relation to key socio-economic groups, and then consider the relationship between poverty and vulnerability and the scale and form of welfare dependence.

There is no charge to attend the seminar which is followed by a light lunch at 1.00pm.

Please contact Shonagh Higgenbotham on 028 7167 5513 or email if you would like to attend.

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10  Community tourism workshop

Belfast has been able to grow a tourist industry from the experience of the conflict, the legacy of which is most visible in interface areas. However many interface working class communities in Belfast experience tourists passing through or around their areas but do not gain anything in return. This workshop by Belfast Conflict Resolution Consortium will explore the potential of a community tourism approach which aims to include and benefit local communities. The workshop will also examine strategies for local communities wishing to promote a community tourism agenda.

The event takes place at 9.30am on 24 November in Group Space, Ulster Hall, Belfast. To book a place, please contact Jessica Blomkvist on 028 9035 2165 or email:

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11  Pre-redundancy advice

EGSA’s career planning services are aimed at employees facing redundancy.  EGSA’s experienced, qualified advisers can help employees identify opportunities and plan for next steps through confidential interviews and group workshops.

Supported by the Department for Employment and Learning (DEL), EGSA’s pre-redundancy services are available free to employers across Northern Ireland.

For more information, contact Nikki Sullivan on 028 9024 4274 or visit

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12  Mental Health First Aid

Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) is the help provided to a person developing a mental health problem or who is in a mental health crisis. First Aid is given until appropriate professional treatment is received or until the crisis resolves.

To date the course has proved successful with different professional groups including health workers, teachers, frontline public sector and voluntary sector workers and the general public.

Aware has two upcoming courses on 13 and 14 December for people who work or care for others in the South East Belfast area.

Both courses take place at 9.15am in Philip House, York Street, Belfast.

Contact Carole Coupe to register at or call her on 028 9032 1734.

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Pick of the Websites

Prince's Trust Enterprise Programme The Enterprise Programme helps young people aged 18-30 who are either unemployed or working part-time to explore and test their business ideas, write plans and start their own businesses or achieve alternative goals in education, training or work.

How effectively is the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities being implemented in Northern Ireland? As a person with a disability or a member of a representative organisation, this is an opportunity for you to have your say.

Act now on fuel poverty Says the Northern Ireland Fuel Poverty Coalition, which is calling on the Northern Ireland Executive to act on fuel poverty. Check out the new campaign website and sign up to the charter.

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Make Your Move – new jobs this week from CommunityNI

Planning a career change? Here’s a random selection of jobs from the CommunityNI website …

Chief Executive at Action Cancer

Civic Animator at Public Achievement

Therapy Support Worker at RAFT

Development Officer at Dance Resource Base


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NICVA Membership

NICVA membership is open to all voluntary and community organisations in Northern Ireland.

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