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Irish in Britain launch New Leaders programme

By David Hennessy

Irish in Britain are looking for fresh people and ideas. Their Ceannairí Nua Programme is an initiative that aims to develop a new generation of community leadership for Irish diaspora organisations in Britain, bringing new and diverse skills to support their work.

The New Leaders programme is a tailored course providing the skills, tools and information for those considering trustee and governance roles, and who have the passion and commitment to make a difference in the lives of Irish people in Britain.

Brian Dalton, CEO of Irish in Britain, told The Irish World the programme is open to people of all ages: “It’s an offer to people who are further on in their careers who may not have considered giving their time before. Some people don’t find their leadership voice until a bit later. This is a chance to connect with those.

“Clearly we have a good understanding of the needs of our membership and one of the big challenges for a lot of our membership is getting the right skills on their board so it can be run effectively.

“Anyone who wants to offer their time, we’ll try and connect them to our members.

“People quite often say, ‘How can I help? How can I get involved?’ Based on that kind of feedback we decided, ‘Why don’t we design and implement a dedicated programme for people to grow their skills and confidence around being on boards.

“It will be walking people through the steps and the legal obligations and the dynamics and functions of being on a board. Regardless of your background, most people would be in a position to make a difference.

“It’s also recognising that when you give your time, you get an awful lot back. And there’s some brilliant organisations out there.

“Our membership is growing hugely over the last few years. It’s really an opportunity to connect people who have really good will towards the sector and give them a bridge into getting involved.

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“It starts in April. We’re taking applications now and it will be run across different London venues.”

Seminars will run in London venues every six weeks over the course of nine months and participants will learn about the roles, responsibilities, and value of effective voluntary sector stewardship.

Adrian O’Neill, Ireland’s Ambassador to the UK said, “The Ceannairí Nua New Leaders Programme aims will inject additional talent and key skill sets into strengthening Irish community organisations here in the UK. It also provides the opportunity for those taking part in the programme to develop their leadership and governance capabilities. The Embassy of Ireland wishes Irish in Britain every success with this important programme.”

Chair of the Women’s Irish Network and past president of the Royal Institute of British Architects, Angela Brady OBE PDSA, said “The Irish community in Britain is rich in experience, diversity and skills. This is a great opportunity to be part of a vibrant community network and to make a positive difference. Giving our time through volunteering is hugely rewarding and I wish Irish in Britain every success.”

For further details visit the Irish in Britain website irishinbritain.org.

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