Marking 10 years in Renfrewshire
31/03/2021 (Anniversary Post )
April 1st marks the 10 year anniversary of Engage Renfrewshire, your local third sector interface which supports community groups, gives guidance to charitable and social enterprises, and advocates on behalf of Renfrewshire’s charitable sector to local and national government.
The year-long anniversary campaign will highlight the impact the interface has had on its members, while simultaneously promoting the invaluable work of the community groups and charities it supports.
At Engage we promote plans that develop strong communities – believing that communities have the power to create change from within. In 2013 the Forum for Empowering Communities was embedded into Renfrewshire Council’s Community Plan and the company continues to work alongside the Council and other partners to ensure greater community inclusion through mechanisms such as the Local Partnerships structure.
2016 was another pivotal year for us as we helped lead the engagement approach which championed the community voice in the Paisley 2021 City of Culture bid. Though we know that Coventry was selected for 2021, it has been agreed that Paisley’s bid was a catalyst for significant change. The work of our local community sector, and the successes of the public events held during the bidding process, galvanised communities both within Paisley and beyond.
The impact of the cultural regeneration work seen in Paisley continues to unfold, but those involved in the process recognise the support of Engage with partnership working and encouraging community involvement. James McGuire, Co-production Officer at Paisley Museum Re-Imagined has been attending Engage networking events and forums since 2018.
James said “Being new to the area to work on the Paisley Museum Re-Imagined project, meeting people through partnership sessions Engage host has been fundamental to work I am involved in. Some of the strongest and most meaningful relationships I have are with people I met nearly three years ago through Engage. Without those opportunities facilitated by Engage, I don’t know if our paths would have crossed.”
Alongside these more public campaigns our staff also work behind the scenes with organisations and groups to ensure they are well governed and well supported. We have funding support services, host capacity building training, have volunteer recruitment services, and direct financial services offering payroll and accountancy services.
The impact these services have on the members will be central to the campaign this year, and we have already been reaching out to members to gather their feedback. Jean Gallagher from Johnstone Castle Learning Centre described just how the support of that Engage offers can make a difference, saying “Engage resources have been invaluable to our organisation as it has helped us continue to operate. The difference on a few occasions has been a matter of us staying afloat or dissolving our company. They have helped us with a variety of support: from helping with grant funding, to finding the correct funder, completing applications and securing funding. We have also received support with setting up smaller groups and projects and help with organising events. They have helped bring volunteers together from different organisations and over the years we have built many good positive working relationships…Truthfully we couldn’t have managed without them, the support offered has been second to none.”
We are a charity ourselves, headed up by a volunteer board of directors who work to ensure the everyday practices of the organisation correspond to its ethos and the needs of its members. Allan Dick, the Chair of the Board has been with the organisation since it began and is excited at reaching the 10 year milestone.
“We hope to hold a celebration event in September at our 10th annual general meeting, but it is of course a strange time to be celebrating anything. 2020 was a tough year for our members and the impact of COVID-19 on our communities is still unfolding. But, amongst this uncertainty, we felt it was important to recognise the successes seen over the years. Engage Renfrewshire opened its doors in 2011 and the work of the Third Sector over the last ten years across Renfrewshire should be celebrated, and used as inspiration for what can be achieved.”
We will be promoting the work of our members through our social media channels, just click the buttons below for Facebook and Twitter. You can also join in the conversation too by sharing your experiences of working with Engage. The work continues of course so if you see a need in your area, and have an idea for a charitable endeavour to address it, you are encouraged to get in touch.