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Clark Bailie, above, Chief Executive of the Northern Ireland Housing Executive, wants the organisation to play its part in creating a peaceful, inclusive, prosperous and fair society. This year marks the 45th anniversary of the setting up of the Housing Executive as the strategic housing authority for Northern Ireland. Since 1971 we have had a crucial role in transforming homes and neighbourhoods and, importantly, people’s lives. We have always recognised that our housing strategies and policies are about ‘more than bricks and mortar’ and we are committed to developing those as we enter our fifth decade in existence. Community and…

By Brian Pelan, VIEW editor Some people that I interview are tense and others are extremely relaxed. Paddy McIntyre, the former chief executive of the Northern Ireland Housing Executive (NIHE), easily fell into the latter category. It also helped that we are both ardent supporters of Manchester United, despite the club’s recent tribulations. Over cups of coffee and as the time drifted by, Paddy reflected on his time in the NIHE, from his early involvement in the 1970s to later taking over at the helm of the organisation. “I can remember when I applied for a trainee job in the…

In the wake of the recent shocking suicide figures which revealed that more people in Northern Ireland have taken their lives in comparison to those killed during the Troubles, VIEW editor Brian Pelan spoke to Professor Siobhan O’Neill, above, about the links between mental health and housing A recent report in the news which stated that more people have died by suicide in the past 17 years than were killed during 30 years of conflict in Northern Ireland led me to meeting Professor Siobhan O’Neill from the Ulster University. I wanted to ask Siobhan, who is the professor of mental…

By David Sturgess, solicitor, Edwards and Company, www.edwardsandcompany.co.uk Hot Topics for Social Landlord 1, Remuneration One of the most hotly debated issues for housing associations and their trustees is the issue of paying board members. According to The Charity Commission for Northern Ireland (the Commission) board members should only be paid for trusteeship in exceptional circumstances. The Commission have recently issued guidance on making payments to trustees. However the most significant shift in policy is the determination by DSD cited as The Registered Housing Association Payment and Grant of Benefits (NI) Determination 2015 which came into operation on 22 October 2015…

Social enterprise business Gauge NI has urged housing associations in Northern Ireland to develop a process for measuring the social value of their work. In a statement, Guage NI said that: “Housing associations provide a vital service to the community in Northern Ireland. Not only do they supply affordable housing to people who need it, but increasingly they also offer community initiatives, social investment and skills development opportunities for residents. “Other property initiatives such as Community Asset Transfer, which sees former local authority properties transferred to community led organisations, also have a significant impact on the community and people who benefit from…

The Big Lottery Fund is out and about across Northern Ireland today to reveal major changes in how it will fund as it announces a new multi-million pound programme. The People and Communities programme will invest £60 million over the next five years to support voluntary, community and social enterprise groups to work with local people to make the changes they want in their communities. The programme is about more than just an application form and groups are being asked to talk to the Big Lottery Fund team about their project idea before they apply. To start some of those…

Chief Officers Third Sector (CO3) and the Association of Chief Officers of Scottish Voluntary Organisations (ACOSVO) are delighted to announce the launch of a project that will work with 100 Third Sector organisations in Northern Ireland and Scotland to help them better understand and strengthen their capacity. The project, which has received a grant of £358,810 from the Big Lottery Fund, will use the online diagnostic Core Capacity Assessment Tool (CCAT) to help the groups to better understand their strengths and areas for development, allow support providers and funders to deliver more targeted support, and provide a comparative dataset on…

Northern Ireland’s newest networking organisation – Personal Best NI – the first ever forum for Personal Assistants (PAs) and those supporting Chief Officers, today issued an invite for new members in advance of their next meeting on Tuesday, January 26, at Helm House, Belfast. Personal Best NI is the first group of its kind in Northern Ireland and aims to provide members with opportunities to share learning, best practice, experience and also to network with those in similar occupations across the region. Membership is not exclusive to PAs and includes Office Managers, Executive Assistants and Networking and Membership Co-ordinators. The…

Local charity Housing Rights is urging people who are worried about paying their mortgage following Christmas to contact them for free advice. Peter McMahon, Advice Services Manager with Housing Rights, said: “We know that many people in Northern Ireland are struggling with debt and will often put off dealing with it until after Christmas. We want to let them know that free advice and assistance is available and the earlier they seek help the more options are available.” Housing Rights offer a dedicated mortgage debt advice service on behalf of the Department for Social Development. Last year the service assisted…

The social justice charity Extern is celebrating after eight members of its Board achieved an ILM Award in Leadership and Management, focusing on leading governance. Following a Board meeting in Cavan, Board members were presented with their certificates by author, and former Governor of Mountjoy Prison, John Lornegan, who talked about his experience of working with young people within the justice system in Ireland. Welcoming the ILM Award achieved by Board members, Extern Chief Executive, Charlie Mack, said: “At Extern we pride ourselves on delivering the highest quality services for our many clients.  I am delighted that our Board also has…

Business angels are more familiar with investing in high-growth startups, but a recent event at Halo, the NorthernIreland business angel network, resulted in a £28,000 “investment” into the NI Hospice. In a UK first, the charity did a full pitch alongside more conventional pitching businesses to over 50 angels at a Halo meeting at the Belfast Harbour Commissioners. Five anonymous angels “invested” £5,000 each, while £3,000 was raised from a table ballot on the night. The funding will now help towards fitting out three rooms at the new NI Hospice on Somerton Road in Belfast. Alan Watts, Director of the…

The pro-choice campaign group Alliance for Choice today launched their #trustwomen campaign to ensure abortion remains high on the political agenda for the May 2016 Assembly elections.  The social media campaign will lobby for  MLA’s  to:  • Trust women to make decisions about their own lives  • Ask for Legal Change to allow greater abortion access • Push for a free vote on any progressive change Speaking today at the launch, chairperson Kellie O’Dowd said “We are asking our current and potential MLAs to trust women. As a campaigning organisation we think it is important that current and future politicians are…

Virginia Salvador talks to VIEW about her difficulty in getting a job despite having a Masters degree “My name is Virginia Salvador. I am 31 years of age. I was born in Angola but have Portuguese nationality so it was not a problem if I wanted to come to Northern Ireland. “I have lived here for four years, two years in Coalisland, Co Tyrone, and now I am living in Portadown. I have a Masters in Clinical Neuropsychology. A friend invited me to come here. He said it would be a good opportunity to work here and learn English. Angola…

 By Lucy Michael Afrophobia in Ireland is a new report detailing racism in Ireland against people identified as Black-African or who are of African descent. It explores reports over two years from people living in the Republic of Ireland about violent racism, discrimination and abuse. Incidents take a wide variety of forms including political hate speech, racist crimes, racist violence, intimidation and racist bullying and persistent and repeated racial harassment. People of African descent (black or mixed-race) report being constantly under surveillance in public spaces. As a Lecturer in Sociology at Ulster University, working with ENAR Ireland in Dublin, I…

Veteran human rights campaigner and STEP co-ordinator Bernadette McAliskey was the guest editor for the latest issue of VIEW, Standing Up To Racism. The editorial she wrote for VIEW is below; In the context of recent ISIS strikes at the heart of Europe and the threat of more to come, it might be argued that this might be the worst of times, and yet again the best, to raise the question of challenging racism in our own society. Nothing much has changed in the stark contrasts of perspective in the world since Charles Dickens wrote: ‘It was the best of…

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