Part of our places programme Amplify NI is a major five-year initiative to support people in Northern Ireland to take action together, to create fairer communities where everyone can thrive. The programme brings people and organisations from all parts of the community together to listen to their lived experiences of inequality by spending time with them in their own places, helps them develop ideas for improving their communities and creates, supports and grows innovative projects, collaborations and campaigns to make change happen.
This local, community-driven approach, which is part of the Young Foundation’s Amplify programme is gaining traction around the world –with similar projects in Canada, Wales, England and the Republic of Ireland.
AmplifyNI’s Impact report is being launched at Community Powered Change: Telling Stories, Growing Ideas, at Ulster University Business School on Monday, May 8th.
Some of the innovative projects being showcased include:
Gortilea Social Farm – a global pioneer, using the natural assets of a farm to benefit others. It consists of a working family farm in Claudy that helps people with learning difficulties or mental health problems by teaching them farming skills and providing a range of qualifications that can help them into the workplace. It is also the site of NI’s first hippotherapy clinic – helping young children with autism, with remarkable results. Hippotherapy uses the movement of horses to create neurological changes that can improve a person’s postural control, strength, and coordination.
Madlug – founded by Dave Linton who was horrified to discover that children in care are not provided with bags and have to lug their possessions around in bin bags. His social enterprise Madlug sells bags, and for every single one sold a child in care gets one of their own. In less than two years more than 1,100 young people across the UK have their own smart bags rather than bin bags.
The Clare Project – residents in Mount Vernon in North Belfast have grouped together to help older and vulnerable neighbours live independent lives by spending time with them and helping them with tasks, supplementing existing care provision, while at the same time boosting their own employability and learning new skills through their volunteering. The scheme is gaining international attention because of its potential to ease the growing crisis in social care as well as tackling economic inactivity.
These projects have been working alongside Amplify NI through its Accelerator Programme, or its wider Exchange Network.