By Kathy Ayers, Senior Policy and Learning Manager
This summer we’ve been talking to you about our plans for a new funding programme in Northern Ireland, People and Communities, which will open in the new year. One of the things we have been hearing is that sometimes we can be a bit vague and you would like more information from us. For example, what do we mean when we say we want you to put People in the Lead through this new programme?
What it might mean could start with you finding out what your community has and what it needs. You could do this through an audit or questionnaires. One idea I heard that I really liked was from a group who gave children cameras and asked them to take photos of what they thought was important in their neighbourhood. They then used the pictures to make a monopoly board. Maybe you want to hold open meetings or knock on all the doors on your street.
If you have an idea or a project plan, again you can ask people what they think. Is this something they will use? Do they see any challenges? Maybe they would find activities in the evening easier to get to. Maybe they need someone to keep an eye on children if they wanted to get involved.
Good projects find out what people want and how they can best deliver this. Good projects also find out if what they are doing is working, by checking to see if they are making a difference to people’s lives.
Finally, good projects make sure that they are doing as much with people as to people. People might be involved as volunteers, on committees, in giving feedback, and in steering group work.
There is no perfect way to make sure people are involved but there are lots of ideas and evidence of what others have done. Your challenge is to find ways that work for you.
You can find all the details about People and Communities on our website.