Woman Ahead came onto the Community Leadership Programme (CLP) looking for new skills, more confidence and help to work towards improving their local community in Bowtown, Newtownards, County Down.
They were a group of women who met for training and they wanted to have a positive impact on their community but didn’t know how to go about it. Through their action learning sessions they learnt new skills of leadership, team building and project planning. As part of the CLP they undertook a best practice visit to Belfast and during that day they visited a range of women’s groups. They visited Windsor Women’s Centre and Women’s Resource and Development Agency (WRDA). Through the CLP in general and these visits specifically they have networked with other similar groups and learnt how to move things forward in Bowtown for the benefit of all the community. They made links with WRDA that are still ongoing and now courses such as the Woman’s Health Programme are being delivered via Woman Ahead to their estate. Membership of the group has doubled since the summer and as a result they are now looking for new premises to house the group as it moves from strength to strength.
As a result of their best practice visit one of the CLP participants, Laura Minshull has been selected to be trained as a Community Facilitator for her community and is now working for North Down Community Assistance as a community development worker. The ILM Certificate in Leadership that participants gain through the International Fund for Ireland’s CLP contributed to this.
Laura said: “We now have members coming each week who were previously housebound and never went out. Being part of the group has given them the drive and confidence to look at new opportunities, training and even returning to work.”