Community Innovators Programme opens for applications with three promotional workshops in Belfast, Newry and Omagh

Fund & Grant News

Community Innovators Programme opens for applications with three promotional workshops in Belfast, Newry and Omagh

26 Feb 2019

Our Community Innovators Programme, has reopened for applications from organisations focused on health and wellbeing. With three promotional taster workshops taking place across Northern Ireland in March, this creative approach to problem solving puts end users at the centre of the solution and focuses on experimentation, prototyping and evidence-gathering as key methods.

MACS employees who participated in the Community Innovators programme in 2018 and set up a dog-walking social enterprise run by their young people.

Thanks to funding from the Hospital Saturday Fund, this round aims to recruit up to 5 new teams working specifically on health and wellbeing challenges and is designed for organisations who want support to explore and develop new solutions to a real world challenges. Participants will also learn a really practical social innovation method for future use across their organisation.

Case Study 2: Knowledge Exchange on youth unemployment 2017

To be eligible applications must fit within the Hospital Saturday Fund’s parameters, as explained by Paul Braithwaite, Head of Innovation and Voice at the Foundation.

“The Hospital Saturday Fund supports work across the UK from palliative care to medical research which includes mental health, respite and charities that centre on finding cures. They support work on medical, health and wellbeing aspects which covers both physical and mental health. However, they so not support social and welfare projects”

All constituted voluntary, community or social enterprise organisations operating in Northern Ireland are eligible to apply and applications can be submitted here

The programme is free to access and if you have an issue you’re passionate about, an interest in social innovation and the time and ambition to develop an innovative new solution to your challenge, come along to one of our promotional workshops in March 2019

Belfast, Tuesday 12th March 2pm – 4pm Register here
Omagh, Tuesday 19th March 11am – 1pm Register here
Newry, Friday 22nd March 11am – 1pm Register here

The deadline is for applications is Thursday 11th April 2019 and successful applicants will be notified by Friday 19th April 2019.”


Those receiving a place on the Community Innovators Programme will be invited to nominate their teams (of up to 4 individuals who can be staff, volunteers, board members or beneficiaries) with a common interest in the same challenge. Teams will be taken through a facilitated programme of workshops, starting with further refining their challenge and helping them gel as a team.

Teams then gather user insights to help ‘get into the shoes’ of a person experiencing the challenge they’re working on. This will be the foundation for the ‘ideation’ phase where teams come up with as many ideas for solutions as possible. These will gradually be combined, adapted and whittled down over the subsequent weeks until only their top idea is left. The final stage is to build a physical prototype (model) of their idea – literally getting their hands dirty – to show to the other teams and potential users for feedback.

All teams completing the Community Innovators Programme will be eligible to apply for the Social Innovation NI Seed Fund to enable them to start delivering their solution for real.

For any queries please contact Paul Braithwaite at the Foundation at


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