This was our 3rd year applying to the Elevate Programme. Having built a firm foundation in Year 1 (our allotment site) and having started to engage with other groups across our community in Year 2, we wanted to build and secure a sustainable future for Brookville Enterprises in Year 3.
The principal aim of this year’s project was to create a sustainable plan for Brookville Enterprises moving forward. A secondary aim of this year’s project was to support ongoing management expenses at a time of ever-increasing core project costs. Principally by inviting members of our local community, either as individuals or groups to our site, we also participated in group meetings as regards the creation of a sustainable model going forward, and more lately we find ourselves visiting more local projects in order to disseminate the benefits of our learning over the past number of years.
Being involved with the Elevate Programme over the past three years has had a hugely positive impact on our work. In Year 1 we built our base, Year 2 using our base, we interacted in our local communities and beyond. Year 3 we built our Sustainable Strategic Plan for a successful future. All our activities are carried out by volunteers. Our volunteers have taking on more practical ownership, this year we intend to purchase then resell over 3,000 flowers, through a sub-project driven by our volunteers. The Elevate Programme (again it's overall 3 year duration) has given all our stakeholders, be it the Braidwater Senior's Group, the Ballymena Runners, the local artists, the Causeway Coast Down Syndrome Group, the SureStart Mum's, the Harryville Men's Shed and our volunteers that little bit of tranquillity, that special place, where they can visit, either on their own, or as part of a group, a place where the Health Inequalities that they face in life do not seem as threatening and as overbearing.
One of the key pillars to the success of Brookeville Enterprises over the past number of years has been our ability to interact with each other and with our guests, who continue to come to our allotment in ever increasing numbers. Recently we have had mothers from SureStart, Ballykeel and Ballymena visit the site and it was so satisfying to hear the buzz, the noise, the craic generated as they merrily transplanted seedlings, sheltered from the passing showers under the covered area that Elevate provided at our site.
The focus of our Elevate mentoring was the building of a sustainable long-term future for Brookeville Enterprises in general and in particular the Scullery O'Tullagh. Our mentoring Sessions have given us both the confidence and the opportunity to attract even more volunteers/helpers to our site. We have also made great connections with other mentees, several of who have visited our site. We have welcomed representatives from the CAN group in Ballymoney and All Saint's Men's Group in Ballymena are regular visitors.
Having attended a F2F training session, the key learning I gained was the benefit of like-minded people, from across our province, working together once again in round table discussions. In previous Elevate sessions we heard of 'the apple tree', and how it connects to the Theory of Change & Impact Management. The 5 Outputs specified in that diagram remain critical to what Brookeville Enterprises is all about today and where we wish to go in the future. All the training and mentoring that we have received from Elevate has without doubt given all our stakeholders the knowledge & confidence to speak openly and honestly to the ever-increasing number of visitors that we host at our site, visits principally arranged through interactions with other Elevate supported groups, through connections that we have made with local Housing Associations and more lately GroundWorkNI.
We will continue to develop and build our sustainable long-term plan for Brookville Enterprises moving forward.
"Get on the train to Derry/Londonderry for an Elevate training session with the Derry Girls!!"
William Millar, Chairman, Brookville Enterprises