Assembly Community Connect made the City of Culture its first port of call on Friday 7 June, bringing together thirty nine local community and voluntary sector groups, MLAs and Assembly staff to participate in its 'Get Involved' programme.
The Assembly's Speaker, local Foyle MLA William Hay, was on hand to welcome participants to a packed ballroom at Ebrington Barracks, where they received presentations on the work of the Assembly. Committee staff and MLAs provided tips and advice on the best way for groups to prepare and deliver submissions to Assembly Committees and to contribute to inquiries.
Issues such as housing, employment and the impact of welfare reform were also high on the agenda as groups highlighted some of their most pressing local concerns to a panel of MLAs.
Groups were keen to point out that they often found it difficult to communicate their issues and concerns to local politicians. Some noted that historically there seemed to be a lack of information on the best way for groups to access help and advice, while others cited difficulties understanding Assembly and Committee processes. All agreed that the training and information provided through Assembly Community Connect should serve to widen access, increase participation and strengthen an understanding of the Assembly and its work.
We are already at full capacity for the next Assembly Community Connect training programme 'Get to know the Assembly'. However, you can book your place now for the next training session which takes place in Parliament Buildings at 10am on Tuesday 24 September. Registration is free and all voluntary and community sector organisations are invited to attend.
You can keep up to date on all future Assembly Community Connect events here.
Pictures by Lorcan Doherty Photography