Trust Announce Civic Activism Programme Awards

Trust Announce Civic Activism Programme Awards

10 July 2015

The Trust is excited to announce eight awards to groups within the Community, Voluntary and Social Enterprise sector as part of of Civic Activism Programme. 

The Civic Activism Programme awards range from £17,000 to £60,000, and will enable the awardees to experiment with one or more new tools or approaches drawn from the Trust’s Civic Activism Toolkit.

Alongside the awards, the Trust has commissioned Involve and the Democratic Society, two of the UK’s leading organisations with expertise in public engagement, to help and support the groups. 

Advice NI will engage with those people most likely to be impacted by Welfare Reform in order to understand their experiences and collect factual information about the impacts on their lives.

This information will then be analysed and published online using a series of innovative tools such as crowd-mapping and citizen report cards.

The Cedar Foundation, will use Citizen Report Cards and Mystery Shopping  to ensure that accessibility to transport for disabled and older people is taken into consideration in the development of transport policy and services.

As well as this, they will use Pop-Up Democracy and Forum Theatre as a means of stimulating debate and collecting feedback.

Community Places, will use Citizen Reporting and other tools, to build awareness about new council powers in three of the new council areas, letting people know how they can get involved in the decisions that affect their everyday lives in a more direct way, especially through community planning.

The project will trial and test different combinations of tools in each council area including Participatory Card GamesPop-Up DemocracyPublic ForumsCitizen Reporting and Community Visioning.

Corrymeela will be using a strongly arts-based approach to stimulate dialogue between citizens and decision-makers in one of the largest and most complex of the new council areas.

The project will adopt a ‘go where the people are’ attitude starting with Pop-Up Democracy in the form of street-based theatre and gradually engaging people in deeper conversation through Community Visioning and Forum Theatre.

The Holywell Trust, will facilitate four theme-specific debates on issues crucial to the future of the city of Derry-Londonderry: innovation and investment; a shared and thriving city centre; youth aspirations and employment; and breaking the cycle of debt and poverty.

These debates will be facilitated through the employment of a combination of four tools to each theme: Pop-Up DemocracyCitizen ReportingStudy Groups and Citizen Juries.

The Integrated Education Fund are aiming to experiment with a more sophisticated model of community engagement in education planning, using the Deliberative Polling tool.

The Northern Ireland Foundation aims to tackle the problem of ill-informed public debates on contentious issues which can particularly be exacerbated by inaccurate information spreading quickly through social media platforms.

Taking inspiration from other digital fact-checking platforms in the UK and elsewhere, the NI Foundationwill establish FactCheckNI and will compile verifiable information on a range of key topics in the public domain.

The Rural Community Network’s  project will be working with three communities impacted by plans for wind energy development, employing the Public Conversations Project Dialogue tool to help ease tensions and build mutual understanding of diverse viewpoints and seemingly competing objectives.

Paul Braithwaite, who heads up the Trust’s work in this area, said: “We are really excited to be announcing these awards.

“We believe the Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise sector is a powerful enabler in helping people and communities to engage with government departments, councils and public representatives who make decisions regarding their everyday lives.

“These projects show there are innovative and exciting ways to do this and we hope these will become models of best practice and help usher in a new era of citizen engagement across Northern Ireland”.