Over the past year Supporting Communities has been working in partnership with Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council (LCCC) to deliver a range of training to volunteers, staff, and management committee members from different community groups from across the council area.
On June 25th, in partnership with the council, we held a celebration event for the graduates of our OCN NI accredited courses at the Bridge Community Centre in Lisburn. An amazing total of 99 people were recognised in completing a course in Understanding Social Enterprise Level 2, Developing Social Enterprise Level 3 and/or Community Capacity Building Levels 1, 2 & 3.
Rhonda O’Neill, LCCC Community Support Officer, opened the event by acknowledging the hard work and commitment it took from each participant to complete their courses.
Next, Stephen Marks, Training and Social Enterprise Officer at Supporting Communities, echoed her sentiments in praising the dedication from each participant in seeing through the work needed to gain the accreditation. He spoke about the impact that attending courses can have not just on the individual but in community groups and the wider local area. As the famed journalist, Sydney J. Harris said, “The whole purpose of education is to turn mirrors into windows”.
Each participant then received their certificates from Colm McDaid, Chief Executive Supporting Communities, Councillor Uel Mackin, the Mayor of Lisburn and Castlereagh Council, and Linda Watson, Vice Chair Supporting Communities.
Yvonne Swift, who completed Community Capacity Building Levels 1-3, told us, “I have really enjoyed learning so many different topics as it has helped me with my volunteering work. I am a lead volunteer and I help support adults who have learning disabilities, mental health difficulties and Autism to name a few. Lisburn Downtown Centre provides several weekly support groups for adults of all ages and abilities, so these courses have been a great way of getting more involved by understanding how the charity is run. Through these courses, I have also got to meet so many other people from different community groups in the area. It’s been a great way of finding out what they do and it also gives me a chance to promote the work that we do too."
"The tutors at Supporting Communities have been great! They have helped me learn and understand topics that I had no experience of before. The training was very good and very clear. I also have a learning difficulty and the tutors have been a great support. They have understood my needs and let me do my work at my own pace which is fantastic. As I was a little bit nervous when starting the first course. But each week I was able to relax and gain more confidence. The tutors have even mentioned how much my confidence has grown from the start! I’m so proud of myself for completing all three courses and how I’ve progressed.”
Linda Watson closed the night by explaining her role at both Supporting Communities as Vice Chair and Project Coordinator at Caw Nelson Drive Community Group in Londonderry. She talked about how the training courses at Supporting Communities have helped her and her community group the develop skills and confidence over the years to get where they are now.
Many congratulations to all of our graduates in Lisburn and beyond!