Back in April, we shared a guest blog about the Embedding Wellbeing in Northern Ireland project, and the Carnegie UK Trust’s call for participants to receive funding and in-kind support. Now, Aideen McGinley, Chair of the project’s Advisory Group, shares which local authorities were selected, and what happens next.

Today the Carnegie UK Trust has announced the participants of our Embedding Wellbeing in Northern Ireland project. The Community Planning Partnerships working in the following local authority areas were selected to receive financial and in-kind support from the Trust for the next two and a half years:

  • Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council
  • Derry City and Strabane District Council
  • Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council.

The Advisory Group had the pleasure of reading all of the applications, and I would like to thank all those who submitted. The calibre of the applications was extremely high and the Advisory Group had much to discuss.  The successful Community Planning Partnerships were the ones able to show not only that they were working with wellbeing across the Partnership, but also the ones who showed their readiness to engage proactively in taking their work to the next level.

What successful applicants had in common

In our analysis, we found a number of common themes across the self-identified successes and challenges, the highs and the lows, of the Community Planning Partnerships in their applications, and are planning to act on this information for the benefit of all.

  • Community engagement: some of the Community Planning Partnerships had impressive breadth and depth to their engagement with the local community in the development of their Plans, which has continued into the implementation phase.  Their success will be of interest to all Community Planning Partnerships in Northern Ireland, and their counterparts across the UK and Ireland.
  • Engagement with young people: the approach taken to engaging with young people by at least one Community Planning Partnership has been recognised internationally as best practice – and will provide invaluable insight into how to involve younger generations in the Community Planning process.
  • Partnership working: effective partnership working, shared responsibility, and collective resourcing are key Community Planning principles, which have been demonstrated effectively by some of the Partnerships to date.  This success, shared widely, will help to move Community Planning in Northern Ireland to the next level.

What are the next steps?

  1. Sharing the learning: the learning generated by our participants as part of the programme in overcoming their own challenges will be shared with the wider Community Planning Partnership network.  
  2. Peer support: We are developing a peer-to-peer support model that will see our project participants share what they have identified as their strengths to date – whether this be community engagement; working with young people; or partnership working – with the other Community Planning Partnerships who recognised these as their challenges.  
  3. Building on the momentum: the enthusiasm and expertise of stakeholders across Northern Ireland and beyond who have expressed an interest in supporting the project will be harnessed for project participants and the wider Community Planning Partnerships to utilise over the next two years.
  4. Exploring the challenges: as the challenges of data collection and use were mentioned by all applicants, we’ll follow up on these with the Northern Ireland Executive and Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency to find out what can be done to support Community Planning Partnerships to turn evidence into action.

We look forward to working with the three Community Planning Partnerships until 2020, but also to investing our in-kind resources, support networks, and convening power into improving local wellbeing outcomes for all across Northern Ireland.