28 Aug 2018
The Community Innovators Programme, the first of its kind in Northern Ireland is a partnership between the Community Foundation and WorkWest and aims to support organisations to explore and develop new solutions to real world challenges facing communities. Participants attend a series of workshops where they learn practical social innovation methods and use them to come up with a new solution to a specific challenge facing communities. Since 2016, 24 organisations have completed the programme.
On 6th August the latest five groups to complete the Community Innovators programme pitched to a panel for a Seed Fund award from the Hospital Saturday Fund. Each group had five minutes to creatively present their idea to address their chosen challenge and what their long term ambition was for this project, demonstrating how this would positively impact their community. All of the challenges in this cycle of Community Innovators related to health and wellbeing issues.
IncredABLE was awarded £10,000 to transform a double-decker bus to a multi-functional and sensory space for people with autism and learning disabilities. Not only can IncredABLE tackle issues around isolation, but also provide a space that offers meaningful opportunities for participants and staff. This is an incredABLE magical space.
Among the winners included, South Eastern Regional College (SERC) to provide a recovery room for students facing a mental health crisis. Mid and East Antrim Agewell Partnership working to improve the lives of older people. Women’s Aid Armagh Down tackles domestic/sexual abuse and seeks through its work to promote healthly and non-adusive relationships, as well as South Eastern Regional College.
Sharon Donnelly, incredABLE Project Co-ordinator, said: “Taking part in the Community Innovators Programme was an excellent opportunity to learn more about how we personally work in a team, the chance to work across projects in incredABLE and finally, to have the opportunity to create a magical space. We are very excited to get stuck into transforming the incredABLE bus.”
Paul, Head of Community Innovators commented “It was amazing to see the transformation of ideas as the groups progressed through the innovation workshops. The groups have created unique projects which will attract attention, raise awareness and snowball into an even greater initiative. Congratulations to all groups we are excited to see your ideas in action and the positive long term impact to communities across Northern Ireland – Good luck!”