Building Change Trust and Community Foundation NI partner for social innovators

25 June 2018

Building Change Trust in partnership with the Community Foundation for Northern Ireland has awarded funding of almost £90,000 to nine charities and community groups across Northern Ireland as part of the Social Innovation NI Skills* and Community Innovators Programmes. 

The programmes aim to enable groups to improve the wellbeing of their local communities by developing creative new solutions to local challenges such as improving employability prospects, physical or mental health. 

Fourteen groups began the programme in late 2017, which used the internationally established human centered design thinking process, lead on behalf of BCT and the Community Foundation by Work West, an award-winning organisation which supports new start and Social Enterprise.  The process is focused on the end user and their needs, rather than what an organisation believes those needs are, while social innovation is focused on finding new and innovative solutions to existing social problems.

Paul Braithwaite, Programme Leader at Building Change Trust outlined the process; “Following a written proposal, groups were invited to pitch to a panel of Community Foundation and BCT Board members.  The pitching process brought out the creative side of many of our groups who performed plays, used props and even brought along a giant game of snakes and ladders to illustrate their ideas. 

“We’re now looking forward to seeing the successful groups rolling out their ideas, including a dog walking and grooming social enterprise business operated by MACS, a support charity for young people and children and the creation of a green care social prescribing service by Garvagh Development Trust,” said Paul. 

Andrew McCracken, Chief Executive of Community Foundation said, “Communities are telling us that they are increasingly struggling to cope with the challenges posed by a variety of recent issues including political instability and cuts in the sector. We are therefore delighted to join forces with BCT on the Community Innovators and Social Skills NI Programmes. 

“Social Innovation is about trying to find new ways to solve old problems and this partnership has given us a fantastic opportunity to be more innovative in how we respond to community need. It is our hope that the ground-breaking training, practical support and funding provided to voluntary and community organisations as a result of these Programmes will support them to explore, experiment and try new initiatives in how they address a range of social challenges,” said Andrew.

Other successful groups include NICVA, VOYPIC, Start 360, W5, St Columb’s Park Reconciliation Trust, The Nerve Centre and Boys and Girls’ Clubs NI.

*All projects are to be delivered by June 2019 as part of Building Change Trust’s Social Innovations Skills NI Programme and/or the Community Foundation’s Community Innovators Programme. 

Funding delivery will depend on each project’s requirements, outlined in their individual applications.




For further information contact Julie Sherlock, Mackle Communications 07834 776519 or

Laura Darragh, Community Foundation for Northern Ireland 028 95 905529


Successful organisations, project name and summary


VOYPIC- ‘More than just a meeting’

To redesign the redesign the care pathway planning process for children and young people in care, centre on the needs of the young people themselves


The Nerve Centre-‘FAB: Communities’

To deliver intergenerational digital fabrication training in disadvantaged parts of Derry City, with a view to improving long term employability


Boys and Girls Clubs-‘Health Champions’

To give out small amounts of funding to local youth clubs to design and run their own health campaigns


W5-‘An Odyssey to Odyssey’

To use creative approaches to engage people who hadn’t previously visited W5, in particular small children and disadvantaged communities, to help them develop interest in STEM


Start 360- ‘The Unconventional Perspective of alcohol’ Using digital animation to engage young people and better address alcohol misuse among the group

St Columb’s Park- Growing Communities

Developing a creative plan for the park that enables it to meet the needs of everyone in the community



To demystify GDPR for small organisations by turning it into bite size animations


MACS-Led by you, “Go walkies” social enterprise

A dog walking and grooming social enterprise business operated by young people


Garvagh Development Trust- ‘Green Elf’

The creation of a green care social prescribing service