Introduction

The three Networks in the South East region have agreed to embark on a collaborative journey which aims to maximise the benefits of community development for the people of North Down, Ards and Down.

The Networks have developed a set of aims and actions to build on the experiences, skills and resources of the three organisations. We aim to address identified needs in relation to community development, health and well being, education and training and ultimately to build sustainable communities in the South East.

The South East Community Development Networks work in partnership with Government, local councils and funders to deliver a more efficient community development support service for many years in this area.  We acknowledge the feedback received during a series of community events highlighting the need for community development support agencies to co-operate fully across the sub region. This co-operation is essential in tackling the underlying inequalities in our society which have led to ongoing poverty, disadvantage and rural and urban isolation.  Collectively, we can have a greater impact on the issues identified by communities and provide a greater range of services and access to those services, thereby creating opportunities for communities to take more responsibility for their own well being.

At a time of change and uncertainty, the three Networks have taken the opportunity to evaluate how they currently work together and to realise the benefits of a more co-ordinated approach including:

  • Avoidance of duplication through increased partnership working;
  • The more effective and efficient use of resources by improved collaboration;
  • Better communication between communities, networks and public;
  • Establishing a stronger voice for the better community when lobbying service providers and decision makers.
  • The sharing of good practice experiences and learning;

To date the South East Community Development Networks have co-ordinated a range of projects, for example:

  • Hosted three joint Community Planning events in association with the Ards and North Down Councils and the support of Community Places;
  • Co-ordinated application to PEACE III on anti-sectarianism, building positive relationships and ethnic diversity;
  • Publication of a Community Directory;
  • Implementation of a range of health and well being programmes under the Investing for Health agenda.
  • Sharing of information through three linked web sites and community newsletters;

These and other projects have enabled the networks to utilise existing resources, avail of new resources and develop a greater working relationship with each other for the benefit of the local community. Building on this experience, this strategy will enhance opportunities for the South East Community Development Networks through a more co-ordinated approach to collaborative working in the future.

The South East Community Development Networks acknowledge the many stakeholders and other agencies and organisations with whom we interact. These organisations are complementary to the work of the South East Community Development Networks, who value the excellent working relationship and partnerships which exist. The information on this web site and in our partnership document summarises the work of the management boards and staff of the three Networks since early 2009