|ALfA Learners get the inside track on the workings of the Assembly|
ALfA is delighted to be working in partnership with the Assembly Outreach Team at Stormont in supporting ALfA participants to become better equipped to lobby, as they learn first-hand about the roles & functions of the NI Assembly and how it considers the different issues that affect the people of Northern Ireland.
Over the last six months, a number of engaging and informative workshops designed specifically to support individuals and groups involved in the ALfA project, have taken place across NI.
These workshops have not only enabled participants to better understand the processes involved behind the scenes, but also to get the ‘inside track’ on the most effective strategies to get their own particular issues of concern heard at Assembly level.
Excellently facilitated by Stephanie Mallon (above) & Karen Jardine (below) of the Assembly Outreach Team, these participatory, informative sessions start by clarifying the Assembly and Executive structures & operations, roles & responsibilities, how to navigate the Assembly website, and opportunities for further support.
At each workshop participants also have a great opportunity to hear from expert guest speakers relating to their issues: Over the past few workshops, these have included MLAs Mark H Durkan and Raymond McCartney, Peter Hall, (Head of Engagement & Outreach at the Assembly), and Paul Carlisle, (Clerk to the Committee for Agriculture & Rural Development). In an informal, interactive setting, learners were able to ask questions and were given tips and advice on many areas including the roles your MLA can play in moving your issue forward, submitting oral or written questions, and the best way to engage with Committees.
Those who attended the workshops held in Stormont also enjoyed a very impressive tour of Parliament Buildings, and were able to see debates in action at a Question & Answer session in the Chamber. As one recent ALfA learner put it: “It was worth every minute”.
Learners also following ALfA Lobbying Programmes have found the “Getting to know the Assembly” workshops have added great value to their ongoing lobbying skills and knowledge and many are already planning a number of follow up actions:
If you are an Atlantic Philanthropies supported organisation, why not take advantage of a FREE “Getting to know your Assembly” workshop or Lobbying programme tailored specifically for your staff or the grass-roots organisations that you support.