Assembly Community Connect Launch Event
Forging better links with the community and voluntary sector is at the heart of a new initiative recently launched by the Speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly, William Hay MLA.
Assembly Community Connect will provide a range of training programmes on the work of the Assembly and its committees and will provide local community based groups with the opportunity to learn more about the Assembly and how their input can make a very real difference.
The launch event featured a series of mini talks from MLAs and local community representatives. These were designed to stimulate new ideas and dialogue on how the Assembly and local groups can forge new and effective working links.
Following the launch the Speaker said: “Assembly Community Connect is a wonderful opportunity to bring MLAs and community representatives together to share ideas, knowledge and experience. I firmly believe that by working together, we can do much to strengthen and invigorate our local communities and to enhance opportunities for all who live in them”.
Sammy Douglas MLA, Chair of Assembly Community Connect said: “"Having worked at a local level in East Belfast for over 25 years as a community advocate and now as an MLA, I am well aware that people working in local communities can often feel a sense of disconnect with government. The political landscape can be daunting for those who don’t readily understand the process or who may feel they can have little impact on informing legislation and policy.
“I expect to see more groups, of all sizes and with a wide range of issues, engaging more effectively with their elected representatives as a result of Assembly Community Connect.”
While most training courses take place in Parliament Buildings, Assembly Community Connect also delivers a ‘Get Involved’ programme which takes place in local communities across Northern Ireland.
Deputy Chairperson of Assembly Community Connect, Maeve McLaughlin MLA sees community outreach as a vital part of the ACC initiative. “As a Foyle MLA I am mindful that it is not always possible for smaller groups and those from further afield to come to Parliament Buildings. Having worked in the voluntary sector I am keenly aware of the wealth of experience and knowledge that the local community sector can share with MLAs and this is why the ‘Get involved’ programme is vital”.
|Tell us how Assembly Community Connect can help you:
Participants were asked to provide feedback to a number of questions posed by speakers at the event. The information gathered will help Assembly Community Connect to ensure that the training and information it provides is relevant and reflects the needs of the voluntary and community sector. If you were unable to attend the launch, we would still like to hear your ideas and suggestions on how Assembly Community Connect can work best to support you. Please complete our online form.
L-R Sammy Douglas MLA Chair of Assembly Community Connect (ACC), Jayne McStay NOW Project, Nisha Tandon ArtsEkta, Angela Stallard NICMA, Angela O'Neill NOW Project, Jenny Hanna Community Development Health Network, Michael Monaghan Chair of the NI Pensioners Parliament and ACC Board Member Sandra Overend MLA at the launch of Assembly Community Connect.
Chris Lyttle MLA wants to know how local groups will get involved?
Michael Monaghan Chair of the NI Pensioners Parliament says community groups can gain by developing a relationship with Assembly Community Connect
Mark Durkan MLA wants to know what training the voluntary & community sector would like the Assembly to provide?
Nisha Tandon from ArtsEkta asks what is the best way for Assembly Community Connect to communicate with the voluntary & community sector?
Assembly Community Connect is the first step for voluntary & community groups to get their voices heard in the Assembly says Sandra Overend MLA
Community sector representatives discuss how they can work with Assembly Community Connect
Voluntary & community groups took the opportunity to respond to questions posed by speakers at the launch event.