Community Capacity Building for All Ages in Craigavon

It’s been a busy few months for a group of Drumbeg residents who have steamed through not just Level 1 but also Level 2 of our Accredited Community Capacity Building course. They’re up for tackling Level 3 as soon as they can as well.

It was a mixed group of people from different organisations or none at all who came together in Drumbeg to learn including several teenagers. Everyone in the group had their own reasons for doing the course, but the group gelled well together and helped one another to complete all the assignments required to gain their OCN qualifications.

I was really impressed with the young people who came along to do this course. I’ve noticed a big difference in them. I can see their confidence grow week by week.
— Karla Turner, Supporting Communities Training Officer

Reasons to Study

Some of the younger members of the group admitted they had only signed up for the course at the start because they were offered free drivers lessons to do so. The fact that so many have stayed on to do the second level, and indeed, intend to do the third, proves that was not their only motivation.  

“It’s really good for some of the ones who aren’t that long out of school, who maybe didn’t make the most of their education. It’s a qualification and it helps when you go for an interview, having the confidence to speak out”, said one of the participants.

Karla and some of the Drumbeg learners at their evening course.

Karla and some of the Drumbeg learners at their evening course.

Catriona, a young woman who does community work in her area told us, “This is helping me with my Uni course. The discussions we have here relate back to what I’m doing there. And I can relate more to this course; my uni course is sometimes too academic. This is really practical stuff.”

Another participant told us how she had recently moved into a new area and was determined to tackle the social deprivation she saw there and to help with isolated older people.

“I wanted to set up a residents group to address antisocial behaviour but didn’t know where to start”, she said. “This course has given me a really good foundation and some connections to young people in the area.”

“Learning about funding and budgeting has been quite helpful for me in my work. I’m going to do level three and then I’m planning to go back to Uni so this is helping me to prepare”, said another woman.

There were also several youth group members who took part in the course to gain a better understanding of their roles and responsibilities. Rhiannon explained, “I’m in the youth committee here so this has really helped us. It’s helped us understand what our roles are. I’d tell others to go do the course, especially if they are part of a group, it really helps when there is something you are trying to do.”

Intensive Learning and Big Changes

“Normally, we deliver this course just one day a week, but this group has opted to double up and do two sessions per week”, said Karla. “There is a lot to take in and they have all done so well!”

“Doing this course makes you more organised”, the group said. As everyone was leafing through their nearly completed level two notebooks, using the special 4-hole punch to include extra handouts and completed assignments, the group reassured each other that while you have to keep track of your assignments and paperwork to show the OCN assessors, “it was completely doable.”

Other comments about the learning style demonstrated the relaxed and comfortable atmosphere that Karla tries to achieve with her groups.

“Karla’s approach is much more laid back than school. Some people are put off by the accreditation, they think it’s so formal, but we all were able to work together and help each other and it was made really easy for us.”

“You don’t even realise, but you’re actually doing the work already. Putting it down on paper just proves it.”

Celebrating the successful completion of Level 2!

Celebrating the successful completion of Level 2!

We asked the group what other changes they see in themselves now that they are at the end of Level 2 and the top answer was ‘confidence’. Getting out, meeting new people, and not being afraid to speak up, to ask questions has all made a huge difference for those inovolved.

Well done to everyone in the group. Drumbeg is lucky to have so many up and comers ready to get stuck in and make positive changes for their community!