Trust to Stir Debate at Imagine! Belfast
Paul Braithwaite with Belfast's Lord Mayor Nichola Mallon at the Launch of the Imagine! Belfast Festival.

Trust to Stir Debate at Imagine! Belfast

26 February 2015

An expert panel chaired by the BBC’s William Crawley will debate whether charities should ‘stick to their knitting’ as suggested by former UK Minister for Civil Society, Brooks Newmark or whether seeking to influence politics is fair game.

The event, which will take place as part of the Imagine! Belfast Festival, will see Dr Mike Aiken and NICVA’s Lisa McElherron giving their opinions on whether charities should focus purely on delivering services and helping those in need or if they should they engage in trying to change the systems and policies that underpin social need and inequality.

The festival is designed to celebrate and support the role of the citizen in political and cultural life and will provide a unique opportunity for people to have their say and engage with some of the big issues impacting on people’s lives in a fun, dynamic way.

The Trust’s Paul Braithwaite said: “We’re delighted to be able to sponsor the Imagine Belfast festival. It resonates very strongly resonance with our work under the theme ‘Creative Space for Civic Thinking’.

“This area of the Trust’s work is about supporting the VCSE sector to bring about a more participative form of democracy in Northern Ireland where the voices of all citizens, especially those at the margins of society, are listened and responded to by decision-makers”.

Our event on 10th March goes to the core of that subject and promises to be a lively debate about whether, when and to what extent it is legitimate for charities to dip their toes into the murky waters of politics. We will also be using the opportunity to launch our new research initiative with Ulster University examining the independence of the VCSE sector in Northern Ireland”.

The debate will be held on March 10th from 7pm-9pm at the Oh Yeah Music Centre in Belfast and you can get tickets here. 

For more information contact Paul Braithwaite on