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Volunteers from across the Ards Peninsula recently completed the Open College Network NI Level 1 award in Community Development, delivered by Rural Community Network (RCN), working in partnership with East Down Rural Community Network.

Representing a range of local community groups, the volunteers gathered in Talbot House, Balyhalbert, on Monday 27 February for the presentation of certificates by Ards Borough Council Mayor, Cllr Meryyn  Oswald.

The six week programme sought to develop good community development practice and allow volunteers from across different communities share experiences and learning from their own voluntary work.  Fergal O’Donnell, Community Development Officer with RCN, explained ‘there is a great sense of community spirit within the Peninsula and these individuals work extremely hard to improve their communities. This programme has hopefully allowed people to gain confidence and skills to assist them in continuing this good work’.

Keith Horn from Cloughey and District Community Association, was delighted at receiving his certificate and explained ‘the training was really useful in allowing us to gain an insight into the issues communities face across the Peninsula and some of the fantastic voluntary work being done in small rural communities. It has really helped me think about further developing key work in our community’.

Sixteen individuals representing the following groups completed the training course;

Kircubbin Projects Committee

Kircubbin Presbyterian Church

Lower Ards Community Assistance Group

Portavogie Action Group

Greyabbey & District Community Association

Ballyphilip Youth Club

Cloughey and District Community Association

Ards Borough Council

Brite-Sparx Community Youth Theatre

Portaferry Gala Committee

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