Participants of the last 'Empowering You, Empowering Our Community' programme with their certificates of completion.
Being a board member of a charity or community and voluntary sector organisation can be a wonderful opportunity to share skills, experience and perspective for the good of our community.
It can be hugely rewarding and offer opportunities for personal and professional development. Voluntary board members play an essential role in the not for profit sector, responsible for public benefit; governance; oversight and strategic direction.
However, a report launched in March by Joe O’Brien, Minister of State at the Department of Rural and Community Development showed that one of the biggest challenges for Not for Profit organisations nationally is a lack of volunteers putting themselves forward to become board members.
With over 400 not for profit organisations in County Louth, many of whom are essential to our local communities, this is also a local challenge.
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In response to this challenge Louth Volunteer Centre, through their PEACE IV funded Good Relations Initiative, developed a new training programme “Empowering You Empowering Our Community” to equip people with little or no experience of sitting on a board or committee with the knowledge and confidence to step into such a role.
The Good Relations Initiative project is supported by the European Union’s PEACE IV Programme, managed by the Special European Programmes Body (SEUPB) and supported locally by Louth County Council and Louth Local Community Development Committee (LCDC). Match-funding has been provided by The Executive Office in Northern Ireland and the Department for Rural and Community Development in Ireland.
Experts in their field such as The Wheel delivered specialist modules within the training. Feedback was extremely positive with all participants saying their knowledge about and confidence in their ability to be a voluntary board member had increased.
Margaret, who completed the programme in May 2021 said “I found the programme overall very beneficial and informative. It was excellent in providing an overall description of what being a board member involves.”
Gavin, another participant noted that the programme was “So professional and worthwhile, Great way to meet new people and connect or reconnect with your community.” Several participants have since progressed to leadership roles in community and voluntary organisations in Louth and further afield.
As the Empowering You Empowering Our Community programme held in April and May 2021 was oversubscribed the Louth Volunteer Centre team have secured further funding from the Special European Programmes Body (SEUPB) to run it again in September and October 2021.
A few spaces have now been made available due to cancellations. The team are particular interested in hearing from young people aged 18 to 25 or people from new communities or of minority ethnic background.
The programme starts on September 15th at 6.30pm and will run over six weeks and will be held online.
If you are interested go to www.volunteerlouth.ie/training or contact the Louth Volunteer Centre team at 041 9809 008.
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