Last week saw a key milestone in the journey towards shaping a development plan for the Inspiring Impact initiative in Northern Ireland. Over 50 delegates from voluntary, community and social enterprise organisations, along with representatives of government departments, funders and impact practitioners, attended a summit event in Lagan Valley Island, Lisburn, hosted by the Building Change Trust.
Inspiring Impact involves a coalition of eight organisations across the UK, including the Building Change Trust. The Trust is supporting the delivery of a linked programme in Northern Ireland and is working in partnership with Community Evaluation Northern Ireland (CENI) to help develop a plan for Inspiring Impact here.
Community and voluntary organisations must do more than only be concerned with attempting to measure the difference they make, and the Inspiring Impact initiative promotes a holistic view which is more than just measurement; it is also about planning for impact, learning from and using impact data to effect change. This is called impact practice.
Last week’s summit event was chaired by Julie Harrison, one of the Directors of the Building Change Trust, who outlined the Trust’s ambitions for Inspiring Impact in NI. Tris Lumley from NPC provided the keynote address and focused on the progress being made to promote impact practice in Great Britain and how this might be applied to Northern Ireland. CENI consultant Edgar Jardine provided feedback from consultations with key stakeholders, outlined the challenges to embedding good impact practice in the voluntary and community sector and outlined the next steps in the production of a development plan for taking forward the initiative in Northern Ireland.
Speaking about the event, Julie Harrison said:
“The vision for Inspiring Impact in NI is better impact practice across the sector and by its funders, including government, leading to improved services, better policy formation and more effective use of resources. Today’s summit event played a major role in helping to shape an Inspiring Impact development plan for NI. The event brought together key funders, government representatives, voluntary and community sector representatives and impact practitioners to take stock of products and learning emerging from Inspiring Impact in Great Britain, consider the issues and challenges of promoting impact practice here and to identify priorities, themes and potential projects which will inform a 3-5 year development plan for Northern Ireland.”