In Focus - The Holywell Trust
The Holywell Trust's Eamonn Deane (left) at the opening of their offices in Derry in 2014. (Photo: Derry Journal)

In Focus - The Holywell Trust

04 February 2015

With support from the Building Change Trust, Holywell Trust is developing collaborative working and social innovation in the North West. Here we learn more about them:

Holywell Trust was formed in 1998 to create a community in the North West that is ‘wholly’ well, both personally and communally, through a range of community development, peace building and social innovation projects.

Over the past few years Holywell Trust has received the support of Building Change Trust for two different but connected initiatives. The first of these was to support the development of the DiverseCity Community Partnership (DCCP), of which Holywell Trust is the lead partner.

The DCCP is a collection of 11 organisations that started their partnership building process in 2005. Over time the partners refined their commitments and rationale for collaboration to develop an innovative collaborative culture and to develop new models of working together to commit to partnership working.

Collaborative Space

The most obvious reflection of the collaboration of the groups was the recent development of the new HOLYWELL - DiverseCity Community Partnership building in the city centre of Derry/Londonderry - a high quality space where each of the partner organisations are based.

As well as being the physical reflection of the partnership working between the member organisations, the building is also a symbol of a newly imagined city centre where diversity is welcomed and celebrated and where collaboration is crucial.

The development of the relationships between the groups was supported through Building Change Trust. This was central to the development of the Partnership as outlined by Gerard Deane of Holywell Trust.

He said: ‘The support we received through Building Change Trust helped us to develop and deepen the trust and relationships between the partner groups. This was crucial in helping us to begin to model our new reality for the sector and society.  We are starting to practice true partnership working based on support, trust and respect".

Social Innovation Projects

Building Change Trust has continued their commitment to the Trust through the investment in the Holywell Trust Social Innovator Project. This initiative, which was a development and extension of the success from the UK City of Culture 2013 year in the city, examined the development of a range of initiatives using social innovation approaches in three different fields - heritage and history, the arts and legacy of shirt factory/local crafts. Three social innovators were appointed to deliver the project.

This project, now in the final stages of delivery, was very successful in engaging local people and examining innovative and imaginative ways of supporting the community.

The evaluation model is also an example of social innovation, with the activity and learning from the project being captured online in a dedicated website that will go live within days. Separate articles on each element of this project will also follow over the coming weeks. 

Holywell Trust has plans to continue to deliver transformative projects in the North West over the coming years and, as always, partnership working, collaboration and adopting socially innovative approaches will be core in the future.

You can learn more about the Holywell Trust by visiting their website or following them on Twitter at @HolywellT

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