SCHOMBERG House was the setting for the presentation of certificates to young members of Orange Lodges in County Down who participated in a six week Community Development training programme.
The programme focused on helping young people to explore the potential leadership role of their Lodges in rural communities and looked at how young people could contribute to a wider community development agenda and also gain an Open College Network Level One accreditation.
The Programme created greater capacity and greater awareness of issues such as participation, good relations, representation, reflection on current working practices and good practice guidelines. The classes used many current political controversies as part of the learning experience.
Edward Stevenson, Grand Master of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland, said, ”It was very encouraging to see these young people successfully completing the pilot Leadership Development Course organised by the Rural Community Network. This course is good not only for the community generally but also for their own personal development and they are to be congratulated.”
Jonathan Mattison, Special Projects Officer at the Grand Orange Lodge added, “The course gave future young advocates from within the Orange family in County Down the opportunity to explore and debate issues surrounding community leadership; good relations and community development. These young people will now feel more confident when engaging with others from outside the Orange Community and have a greater understanding of key issues surrounding such interaction and community development in particular.
“Initiatives such as this will help address capacity needs and contribute to the development of sustainable community infrastructure.”
The training programme, delivered by the Down Rural Enabler, the Rural Enabler for Institutions, and CSI development officer, was funded under the European Union’s PEACE III Programme through the Special EU Programmes Body. The institutions strand of this programme aims to support institutions to explore their responsibility in developing a Shared Future.