We want to fund projects that build on the strengths and skills a community already has. Communities thrive when projects start from the strengths that already exist.
What this looks like in practice is different for each application we receive. It isn’t ‘one size fits all’ – your project should be shaped by the people it helps.
First of all, explore the strengths your community already has. Ask people, “What is working well?” and “What is important to you?” Then take stock of what resources and skills you have.
Portglenone Enterprise Group uses the strength of local groups in their ‘Unity in the Community’ project to improve health and well-being in the community.
The group brings together smaller community groups in the area to run activities for local people based on ideas from the community themselves. The activities they run include gardening, line dancing, a history and literacy group, and social activities.
The groups who make up the Portglenone Enterprise Group include Portglenone Arthritis Group, Bannside Eco Buddies, Bannside Stitchers, Bannside & District Beekeepers, Portglenone Bowling Club, Portglenone Community Workshop and Men’s Shed, Monday Club Portglenone, and Portglenone Senior Citizens Arts and Crafts.
By coming together as a collective, these smaller groups are made stronger by sharing resources and having access governance training and support.
We asked our Funding Officer Chris McClure what makes this a good example of a strengths-based project.
Chris said, “Portglenone Enterprise Group is a good example of a number of smaller groups coming together to assess their strengths and weaknesses, how they can support each other and where they need additional help.
“They have over 100 volunteers delivering the project. By coming together like this, the groups can share resources and skills. Portglenone Enterprise Group share their experience and their venue is available to other groups. The men’s shed use their skills and equipment to support the Eco-Buddies and Beekeepers group with small scale building projects.
We asked Nora O’Neill from Portglenone Enterprise Group about the strengths of their project.
“Volunteers are a real strength; our project couldn’t run without them. The Unity in the Community project brings groups together and brings in more volunteers and people with skills.
“Our idea is to have taster sessions and more cross-over between groups – to open up choices for people. It’s better for health and well-being. It gives the community what it wants.
“It’s good to listen to other opinions and people’s experiences and try out new ideas. People bring fresh ideas and energy.”
If you are based in Northern Ireland and want to apply to our People and Communities programme, you can talk to us about your ideas before sending in an application form. Give us a call on 028 9055 1455 or email firstname.lastname@example.org