The Trust in 2016 - Part 1
Paul Braithwaite heads up the Trust's work in Social Innovation and Creative Space for Civic Thinking.

The Trust in 2016 - Part 1

28 January 2016

As you probably know, the Trust will be closing its doors in 2018. This means 2016 will be as as busy a year as we've had thus far. Paul Braithwaite, who heads up our work in Social Innovation and Creative Space for Civic Thinking, gives us an idea of what we have planned this year...

Social Innovation

We are continuing with the development of Social Innovation NI. The co-design process facilitated by the Melting Pot continues until May by when we hope we’ll have a group of social innovation enablers from public, private, Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise sector on board to help develop a programme of work, namely practical supports for social innovators – ready to be delivered over the coming years.

Our Techies in Residence programme will come to a conclusion in 2016. The placements with the 6 projects conclude in February and we’ll be working with CultureTECH to see how we can best support these to access further support and scale-up.

The programme officially concludes in June, at which point we’ll evaluate its successes and challenges and assess future options.

Creative Space for Civic Thinking

The Open Government Network NI – with a new steering committee in place by the end of January the network will be gearing up for the NI Assembly Elections in May – aiming to put Open Government on the agenda of NI’s political parties.

They’ll also be continuing to link directly with the Executive to push for strong commitments on issues like open data, open policy-making and access to information. As well as continuing to reach out to citizens and civil society to grow and diversify the network’s membership.

Open Local Government will also be on the agenda and the network will be engaging with councils to see which are most ready and willing to open up their workings and decision-making to citizens.

In our Civic Activism Programme, some of our projects will be concluding in 2016, with the rest carrying on until early 2017.

The projects wrapping up will include Rural Community Network’s work with rural communities helping to detoxify local debates about the pros and cons of renewable energy development, Integrated Education Fund’s project to help stimulate an informed and participative debate on the various models for education provision in South Down and Fact Check NI – NI’s first independent fact-checking platform - will be launching in the first quarter of 2016.

Meanwhile, all the other projects will be continuing and our learning support partners Involve and the Democratic Society will be supporting projects to adopt best practice and capture learning for sharing with others in the VCSE sector as well as Government.

As well as this, Ulster University will be delivering a major report on the independence of the VCSE sector, as well as, organising a series of seminars around NI, debating the issues and getting feedback from as diverse an audience as possible.

The second phase of the research will then take place in the 2nd and 3rd quarters of 2016 with the final findings due to be launched in autumn 2016. UU will also be developing a tool to help VCSE organisations self-assess the status of their own independence.

To keep up to date with these parts of the Trust's work follow Paul on Twitter at @Paul_BCT or if you want to hear about all of our work, follow @ChangeTrust.

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