An Introduction to the Sustainable Communities Training Programme 2021-2022

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Course Overview

The SECAD Sustainable Communities Training Programme has been designed and developed by SECAD Partnership CLG in conjunction with delivery partners VOICE (in West Cork) and Change by Degrees (in South Cork).

Developed with community members in mind, this training programme seeks to enable communities to build Community Development Teams which will take part in training, develop Community-Led Sustainability Plans, including detailed plans for Legacy Projects for their own communities. The programme will be run over SECAD’s two operational areas in South & West Cork and is funded by the LEADER 2014-2020 Programme.  Due to the current restrictions, this course will be delivered through blended learning.

The core programme will run until June 2022, beginning in September with a series of weekly workshops that will cover a wide range of important sustainability topics. The community groups involved will be supported throughout as they build their sustainability plans, before finally presenting their work as part of a showcase in autumn 2022.

Who is this programme for?

We are looking for the following people to take part in this programme:

  • Are you a community volunteer involved in groups in your area?
  • Or a community member with skills, interests and ideas for your community who has not had the opportunity to be involved to date?
  • Are you a business owner or someone who would like the opportunity to work remotely or set up a business in your local area?
  • Could your voice be one of a diverse range of voices in your community to develop a plan for your community’s future?

If so, then this programme will give you the opportunity to link with your neighbouring community members to learn, share ideas and prioritise plans to develop a strong sustainable community integrating social, economic and environmental strands.

Image showing programme facilitators

Madeleine Murray from Change by Degrees (trainers for South Cork course) Nuala O’Connell from SECAD and Tad Kirakowski and Abi O’Callaghan-Platt from VOICE (trainers for West Cork course)

The Training Process

Each team will work with the expert trainers on specific areas of concern, such as developing detailed plans for legacy projects and carrying out a skills audit to address skills gaps, while implementing recruitment policies to address these gaps. The community groups will also receive project management skills training adopted from private sector models.

West Cork

Sustainable Communities Training Programme will be led by VOICE who will bring the following expert partners on board to help deliver a truly bespoke programme for each community that addresses both the latest research as well as practitioners and experience:

  • Environmental Research Institute
  • Cork Environmental Forum
  • Local Authority Waters Programme
  • Tipperary Energy Agency
  • StreamScapes
  • Farming for Nature
  • Simon Cork and FoodCloud
  • Design Republic

South Cork

The Sustainable Communities Training Programme will be delivered by a consortium with a wealth of sustainability expertise led by Dr Tara Shine and Madeleine Murray from Change by Degrees and including experts from the MaREI Centre, UCC and Rosemarie MacSweeney, a project manager specialising in  Circularity, Sustainability, Built Environment. 

Change by Degrees inspires and partners with organisations to help them design sustainability solutions that deliver real, measurable results.

  • They provide inspiration for teams through motivational talks and mentoring as well as leadership masterclasses.
  • They shape strategies and action plans that engage employees and volunteers and build their capability and skills.
  • They design employee and community engagement campaigns that are fun and impactful and provide specialised sustainability communications to create messages and content that connect. 

How can I get involved?

This FREE training programme will run from September 2021 to September 2022 (with a break across July and August). The Community Application Process for this programme is now CLOSED. If you would like to support your community and you are interesting in learning more about the SECAD Sustainable Communities Training Programme, you are welcome to watch our Introductory webinars created as part of our Online Launch Event – all you need to do is register or login to our Online Learning system:

If you are interesting in participating in the Sustainable Communities Programme, please complete the registration form for your area.

If you have any queries, please contact Nuala: or 087 9672515 / 021 4613432

Eligibility Criteria

Communities that wish to participate in this training programme must satisfy the following criteria

For More Information

For more information on SECAD’s Sustainable Communities Training Programme please contact Nuala

T:  021 461 3432
M: 087 9672515

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What is SICAP?

The Social Inclusion and Community Activation Programme (SICAP) 2018-2022 is funded by the Irish Government through the Department of Rural and Community Development and co-funded by the European Social Fund under the Programme for Employability, Inclusion and Learning (PEIL) 2014-2020.

What are my rights after registration?

Under the Irish Data Protection Acts and the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) 2016 you have a right to request a copy of your personal information at any time. You can get this information by contacting us on 021-4613432 or by email through

You can withdraw your consent to provide any of the information needed for SICAP and have your file deleted.

You can do this by contacting us on 021-4613432 or by email through

How is my data used?

The information we record about you is used for five main purposes:

  1. To establish if you are eligible for the programme.
  2. To review how we assisted you so we can provide you with the best possible tailored supports.
  3. To share your name and contact details with other service providers (e.g. ETB, Citizen Information Centre, Local Employment Service), as agreed with you in your Personal Action Plan, so we can make referrals and appointments on your behalf.
  4. To produce statistics which will help us plan and improve our services; so we can provide our funders with aggregated data to assist them in providing a better national service.
  5. Your data may be reviewed from time to time as part of a programme audit.

Some of the information we require is personal data such as your name and address, your phone number, your economic status, gender and age band etc. We need this in order to be able to contact you, to deliver a tailored service, and to know about the people who are engaging with SICAP. We will also be asking for your Personal Public Service Number (PPSN). This is voluntary and you do not have to provide it.

The PPSN will help us and Pobal to track your progress over time, which will allow programme outcomes to be assessed.

We will be asking you for sensitive personal data. All sensitive data is voluntary and you do not have to provide this. Sensitive information is your ethnic/cultural background and if you have a disability. It is asked because it The Social Inclusion and Community Activation Programme (SICAP) 2018-2022 is funded by the Irish Government through the Department of Rural and Community Development and co-funded by the European Social Fund under the Programme for Employability, Inclusion and Learning (PEIL) 2014-2020. gives us more detail on which people are using SICAP and the extent to which different groups are receiving supports, and so we can monitor equality of access.

SICAP Registration

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