Community Development

Home / Community Development

Our support to groups as restrictions ease

We know that community and voluntary groups have had a challenging time during the pandemic, reacting to a range of emerging needs, all with the added stress of having to make constant adaptions to their services.  As restrictions continue to ease, and more services can resume, we want groups to know that we are here to help you.  Whether you need practical help to re-launch activities again in a safe way, support with essential admin such as updating risk assessments, policies and procedures to reflect the ‘new’ way of working or need support to secure much-needed funding, please get in touch with our Outreach Community Development Worker, Ashleigh at or 07743 688 282 who will be happy to chat to you.

What we do to Help…

We appreciate that dedicated people run community groups and organisations, and many of them are volunteers, therefore North Down Community Network are committed to supporting community groups and organisations in a range of ways to best meet needs and priorities.

Our Community Development Worker, Ashleigh Hunter, and other staff in NDCN are available to offer services such as:

  • Funding Support and Impact Measurement
  • Training
  • Community Group Health Checks & Governance Support
  • Support for Community Events
  • Charity Registration


We know that many groups and organisations need funding to deliver their services, but the funding process can often seem complicated and overwhelming.  We can provide support to groups to search for relevant funding and help them to complete applications.  In these times, measuring the difference your group is making is so important, not only for your funders, but also to help you as a group to see the impact you are making on the people you serve.  We can guide you on simple and effective ways to measure the impact you are making, and evaluate your services, in a way that is best for you.


We provide a range of training to community groups and organisations, including:

  • Good Governance – especially to make sure charities are aware of, and are meeting Charity Commission NI requirements. 
  • Community Policies & Procedures
  • Management Committee Training
  • Taking the Fear out of Finances – basic finance procedures
  • Strategy Planning

Training can be provided on a one-to-one basis with committees or small groups, as well as at an individual level if that works best.  Also, if there are any training needs not mentioned, then please just get in touch and we will work with you to tailor a programme to meet your needs.


Often Management Committees and volunteers are so busy delivering services and supporting residents/members that it can be difficult to take the time to review their organisation’s policies, procedures and services to ensure everything is up to date, and effectively plan for the future.  It can feel overwhelming to understand and comply with the regulations of bodies such as the Charity Commission for NI, but it’s doesn’t have to be as complex as it may appear.

North Down Community Network can support groups to do this by doing a ‘health check’ and supporting groups to understand and take the actions required to meet regulations such as help with annual returns.  We can help you to get a sense of what areas are working well for your group, and what other areas could benefit from some extra support – which we can help with too.

So if you are considering how to better support volunteers, how to train your committee, how to get your accounts examined or how to ensure your policies and procedures are up to date, then do get in touch, and we will get a ‘health check’ organised.


We know that community events can be as large as a fun-day with hundreds of people through to a small focused event such as an Annual General Meeting (AGM), and we are here to support.  Community groups are the experts in what events will work well for their residents/members, but if you need a bit of support with any of the following aspects of event management, do get in touch:

  • Event Planning
  • Practical considerations, e.g. health and safety, accessibility, insurance, photography, etc. 
  • Setting and Managing a Budget
  • Promotion, especially through our social media and e-zine.

*  Evaluation after the event – Although it is great to capture the number of people who attended an event, we can also help you to capture people’s experience of the event, especially the positive difference it has made to them. 

For further information on any of the above, please contact Ashleigh Hunter by telephone on 028 9146 1386/ 07743 688 282 or email at


‘North Down Community Network along with Ards and North Down Borough Council, Ards Network and County Down Rural Community Network created a short toolkit and guide to provide some essential information to community groups and charities about some of the most common questions, queries and needs they might have.  Please see the link below to download the document:’



Check out our Step by Step video guide on how you can submit your own Annual Returns for the Charity Commission NI

Please see below our international women's day 2021 video - delivering afternoon teas and surprises to our wonderful women volunteers, friends of NDCN and DICE young women!