Building Change Trust completes Social Economy Conversations

Building Change Trust completes Social Economy Conversations

03 February 2012

A series of events co-hosted by the Building Change Trust in Belfast, Irvinestown and Derry have finished.

Working Better Together – The Building Change Trust Social Economy Conversations provided an opportunity for organisations from the third sector to explore the issues of self sufficiency and entrepreneurism.

Events were held at venues across Northern Ireland, co-hosted by the Trust and Charity Bank along with local partners such as Creggan Enterprises, the Holywell Trust, East Belfast Partnership and the Arc Healthy Living Centre.

Organisations looking to learn from the work of others and to share their expertise, such as Positive Futures, Age NI, Mencap, Contact NI, CO3, and the Citizen’s Advice Bureau were in attendance.

In particular, delegates looked at the question of providing more efficient and effective business services, as well as the need for the sector to better measure and demonstrate its social impact.

Moving from a ‘me and mine’ mentality to a ‘we and the team’ mindset was a key issue raised as well as the sector’s requirement to strengthen its financial capabilities.

Strengthening assets in terms of people, places and systems and increased independence from the private and public sectors for funding were also discussed.

Building Change Co-ordinator Charlie Fisher believed the events were a success and set out a challenging and exciting agenda for the social economy sector.

“The Building Change Trust see these events as facilitating an opportunity for discussing what the sector can do for itself.

“We want this to be more than just another talking shop; we want to put together an achievable set of objectives to help the sector move forward and become more self-sufficient.”

Niamh Goggin, Regional Manager of Charity Bank said: "It is great to be part of a conversation around what we can achieve together as a movement, rather than what we think government ought to do for us.

“I was very impressed by the level of engagement across Northern Ireland and by the creative ideas flowing from the discussion.

“We're not waiting for other people or organisations, we're pushing ahead to implement change now."

Initial thoughts and ideas coming out of the events included the need for the effective use of property and space management, mentoring support from successful entrepreneurs and community businesses, the need to properly measure social impact and active promotion of collaboration between organisations in the social enterprise sector.

These issues, along with many others, will form a report and a series of actions for further consideration on how the sector, by working better together, can become more self-sufficient and efficient in the future.

The full report on the event outcomes will be published by the Building Change Trust shortly.