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Irish in Britain's first New Leaders programme completes

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Irish in Britain’s inaugural Ceannairí Nua New Leaders programme completed this summer with participants reporting they were very positive about their learning experiences.

Irish in Britain established this free tailored course for people who want to make a positive difference in the lives of Irish people in Britain through local community organisations.

New leaders programme logo

Due to the pandemic the planned face-to-face sessions were adapted to an online programme run by our delivery partner Diane West. They provided essential skills, tools and information for those considering trustee and governance roles.

Irish in Britain CEO Brian Dalton congratulated the participants on their commitment and said, “Since the pandemic began there has never been a greater interest and appreciation in community activism. The work of Irish community organisations has reinforced the shared values of staying connected and looking out for each other. Our New Leaders programme helps develop a new generation of Trustees and supporters to shape and safeguard this crucial work.”

The seminars included guest speakers from different trustee boards to bring the subjects to life and it wrapped up with a showcase of a range of different organisations who want to recruit new trustees from a range of backgrounds.

Fourteen participants from diverse backgrounds completed the programme. Gavin Clarke said,

“I appreciated the very practical presentations on governance and leadership. That such diverse organisations were represented ensured that a variety of experience was shared and subjects were grounded in everyday experience.

Irish in Britain were such friendly, encouraging hosts and deserve praise for the nimble manner in which they adapted to delivering this course in the pandemic.”

Ashley Harmon said, “I really enjoyed being part of the inaugural 'Ceannairi Nua' New Leaders programme. Despite the difficult circumstances and having to move to an online format, the programme offered a wonderful opportunity to meet an interesting and inspiring group of people from a broad range of backgrounds and get an insight into the Irish community in Britain.

“The course content offered a comprehensive and practical overview of the essential information needed for working with a charity and provided a great foundation for joining a charity as a board member.

“I particularly enjoyed hearing from a number of charities in Britain about the amazing work that they do and I hope to get the opportunity to volunteer with a charity soon. Thanks so much to Diane, Ann, Brian and all at Irish in Britain.”

Some attendees had experience of working in a charity but felt they needed more. Sherrie Smith, from Essex Gypsies and Travellers explained, “I had practical experience of leading and managing an NGO, I had a degree in community development. I applied because I knew from that experience that as a community member at a community led NGO, we needed the underpinning knowledge to strengthen our ability to actively support our communities to develop and change outcomes in the long term. This was all achieved and more by completing the course. I really enjoyed becoming part of the network it created, the variety of speakers but fundamentally the wealth and knowledge exchanged. In the time since finishing our everyday practice and delivery has changed as a result of the knowledge we gained.”

Another attendee, Colum Mackey agreed,

“The Irish in Britain New Leaders Programme has been a fantastic opportunity to learn some of the core skills and knowledge expected from board members. I've really enjoyed meeting other people from across Britain who are passionate about making a difference in their local communities through Irish organisations.

I'm excited to take the learning and contacts I developed during the programme and make my contribution to the Irish community in London.”

Gerard McHale said, "I really enjoyed the New Leaders programme. It was wonderful to meet a great bunch of like-minded individuals and gain some new skills along the way. I look forward to putting them to use, when I get the opportunity to join the board of an Irish organisation in the near future."

The individuals who took part in this first programme are looking forward to getting together in person to celebrate their achievement and putting their newly learned skills to good use in their local community.

Brian Dalton concluded, “We will deliver this programme annually so all who wish to be part of rebuilding and recovery can share their skills and time. Volunteerism represents the very best of us and we are proud to play our part.”

More details on the programme are available HERE.