A Review of our 2014 to Date
Trust Director of Operations Nigel McKinney (left) with Chairperson Bill Osborne.

A Review of our 2014 to Date

05 August 2014

2014 has so far been a really busy year for the Building Change Trust so we thought we would use the half way mark to look back on the highs from each of our key themes.

Social innovation

Building Change Trust’s work to raise awareness of ‘Tech for Social Good: Digital Social Innovation’ has had some milestones.

We played a key role at BelTech2014, where business leaders from around the world joined forces with the Northern Ireland Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) sector to showcase and discuss emerging technological advances.

We also used this opportunity to launch research commissioned into Digital Social Innovation. Ashley Elizabeth Ball from the Young Foundation presented the eagerly awaited findings on the potential for digital technology to be used for social good in Northern Ireland.

Following on from BelTech 2014 and an event held at NICVA the Trust produced a combined report from both seminars. The report, which can be accessed here, highlights the input from key note speakers.

We have had some interesting blog posts on the subject. “Now is the Time for Social Innovation” sees Paul Braithwaite, who heads up Building Change Trust’s work on Social Innovation, explaining why there has never been a better time for the sector to focus on the future.

We also looked at how new solutions are being found to address existing social problems across the world, profiling the “Top 5 Social Innovators to Look For”. 

Social Finance

We have been very active in the area of Social Finance this year. The economic situation, as well as changes to funding models, over the last few years has forced a dramatic shift in the way the Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) sector in Northern Ireland operates.

Up until this point the sector has always taken a cautious approach to debt. However, as philanthropic donations and grant aid opportunities have diminished, new forms of finance have been developed – and this is where Social Finance comes in.

We explored what Social Finance actually means in “What is Social Finance.”

The Trust has commissioned Cooperative Alternatives to develop a Community Shares pilot programme in Northern Ireland. Tiziana O’Hara is taking the lead on this initiative and in this blog post she tells us why this new form of investment is quickly gaining in popularity. 


On the theme of Collaboration the Institute for Voluntary Action Research (IVAR) report into the future of collaboration support in the Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) sector in Northern Ireland is now available on our website.

The Trust’s Julie Harrison spoke at the launch of a new Collaborative Support Hub, which was part funded through the Collaboration Enabling Fund.

We have profiled six of our Collaboration Enabling Fund grantees in our blog – including Voice Of Young People In Care (VOYPIC) and the Churches’ Community Work Alliance (CCWA). 

Creative Space for Civic Thinking

Not entirely clear on what ‘Creative Space for Civic Thinking’ actually means? We got Paul Braithwaite, who heads up the Building Change Trust’s work in this area, to explain it all in more detail.

Ahead of the launch of our Civic Activism Fund, Building Change Trust ran a series of Idea Generation Workshops, designed to encourage innovation and creativity within the local Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) Sector.

The workshops were aimed at generating new and forward thinking ideas for civic activism projects in Northern Ireland.

We also held a seminar on the Open Government Partnership and how that could benefit the local sector. The OGP is an international framework of government commitments to transparency, accountability and citizen participation.

It functions in each signatory country via a government-civil society partnership, the role of the latter being to both support and hold governments to account for the commitments it has made. We think its implementation could help the VCSE sector. 

Inspiring Impact

Inspiring Impact is a UK wide initiative that aims to change the way the voluntary and community sector thinks about impact by making high quality impact practice the norm by 2022.

Aongus O’Keeffe, Inspiring Impact NI Programme Leader, recently gave us an important update on the work they have coming up in Northern Ireland this year.

With the sector coming under increasing pressure to demonstrate the value it adds and the difference it makes to the lives of the individuals, families and communities which it serves, Aongus also had some advice for organisations hoping to measure their impact. 

Keep up to date with all the recent news from Building Change Trust.

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