The challenges of getting people involved

People and Communities is our flagship programme that will support you to work with local people to make positive changes in communities across Northern Ireland. We plan to open it in late January.

People and Communities
We want all projects we fund to embrace the three key themes of:

  • People led– this means the people you’ll be working with will be meaningfully involved in the development, design and delivery of your project.
  • Strength based– we’d like to support people and communities to build on the knowledge, skills, experience they already have to make the changes they want.
  • Connected– we want to know that you have a good understanding of other activities and services in your community, and show how your project will complement these.


In this blog, Nigel Chambers (Policy and Learning Officer – Equality) explains a bit more about the people led approach.

When we last blogged on involving people and the people led approach, we talked about what we mean about involving people and asked how you do it.

When we talked to you about our plans for the new programme earlier this year you told us some great ways you were involving people in planning and delivery your projects, as well as some of the difficulties of keeping people involved. More recently, we have been thinking, how do you involve people that are just happy to come to an activity and go home?

People are busy – they have lives, families and jobs and might not have the time to get involved in the design, delivery or review of projects. Some people might not feel comfortable enough to tell you what they think when you ask them directly, some might not be prepared to say what they think in front of others – these are barriers that prevent people from getting involved.

In every organisation there’s always the usual group of people who are happy to tell you what they think and sit on steering committees. While it’s great to have this enthusiasm, there is a risk that you are missing out on the views of the majority of people who use your project.

Good projects are creative in the ways that they involve people. It’s not everyone who enjoys filling out surveys and feedback forms. Some projects told us how they used art, sport, theatre or even food to get people’s views. Why not try throwing a barbeque (not now, its miserable outside) – people enjoy food and will tell you many things over a social bite to eat. When people are being creative they will often relax and tell you what they really think.

There is no ‘one size fits all’ approach when it comes to involving people, what works one for one project might not work for yours. So, we’d like to know – how do you involve people that say “nah mate, I’m alright”?

Read our other blogs on the other two key themes of People and Communities – the connected and strength based approaches.

Keep up to date with our plans for People and Communities on the website.

You can also talk to us on Twitter and Facebook or leave a comment below.


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