YOUR SQUARE MILE COMES TO NORTHERN IRELAND
Building Change Trust through support provided to The Community Foundation for has been assisting the Your Square Mile team to identify communities in Northern Ireland to create a “one-stop shop” for citizens seeking to change or strengthen their neighbourhood.
Charlie Fisher of the Foundation’s Observatory project facilitated the Your Square Mile team to meet with community representatives in Mount Vernon in Belfast and Caw and Leafair in Derry/Londonderry. Founded in 2010, Your Square Mile is an organisation dedicated to helping individuals and communities achieve the changes they’d like to see in their local area. Your Square Mile will provide a range of practical tools, services, case histories and benefits that will make it easier for anyone to set up and organise networks of like-minded individuals and groups who want to make their communities better places to live.
In May it will launch the programme and begin with a series of 6 month pilot workshops. In Northern Ireland the pilot areas are Mount Vernon in and Caw & Leafair. The aim of the programme is workshops, attended by up to 70 members of the immediate community – a deliberately diverse group of people, some of whom already engage in community activities but many of whom don’t. The workshops will be run by a local Chairperson with help from the Your Square Mile team and the market research company Ipsos MORI.
The workshops will encourage people to identify things that they would like to fix or improve in the places where they live. Groups will then vote on the ideas and the best five projects will be developed into tangible action plans. Subsequently Your Square Mile will work with group representatives to help them make their action plans a reality.
Your Square Mile will support the pilots with various resources including the development of locally accessible online tools to connect individuals and communities.
Building Change Trust recognises that in the present climate there is a need to try new approaches to engaging with and empowering communities to identify and work to have local needs met. Hopefully the Your Square Mile pilot projects will prove successful and the Trust looks forward to positive outcomes for all the communities and to sharing in the learning from this approach with the wider community & voluntary sector across Northern Ireland.
Belfast, BT12 4HQ
Tel: +44 (0) 2890 408725
Fax: +44 (0) 2890 329839