“The day the Lord created hope was probably the same day he created Spring”. ~Bern Williams
After a long cold winter haven’t the last few weeks been amazing with the explosion of life on trees and in the hedgerows, spring flowers in gardens, sun, warmth and to crown it all a succession of holidays. I don’t know about you but I’ve been enjoying being out in the sunshine whether walking, gardening even shopping (my least favourite pastime) whereas in the cold of winter I want to close the blinds and curl up in front of a good fire. It seems to me that the quotation gets it right when it equates spring with hope for everything looks different, feels different is different as darkness gives way to light.
Spring and with it renewed hope has also arrived at TWN with the receipt of the long awaited Peace III funding. After the gloom of winter waiting we have the promise of spring activity as TWN and our associated projects can begin to move forward with confidence and get on with what we are good at; that is creating opportunities for women both in Northern Ireland and in the Border counties to develop their skills at every level.
As a gardener with ‘L’ plates I am learning that you need small as well as large plants in order to create interest in the garden, so it is with opportunity we need to be exploring all kinds of funding from different sources to create the opportunities for the women we work with. We at TWN are already doing this but have you thought about looking out for the smaller pots of funding that can pop up from time to time locally – why not check out some of the following to see if they might fit the work you do.
I found these sites by googling the companies and entering Corporate Social Responsibility on their .com website – perhaps you might discover more sites – if you do let us know and we can compile a data base of ‘small seeds’ that just might help others create larger opportunities.
I hope you enjoy this springtime and that you look forward with hope.
Personnel - changes to the Paternity leave entitlements and pay
April 2011 saw new changes to the Paternity Leave entitlements and pay. It now provides parents of children due to be born, or matched for adoption, on or after the above date with greater flexibility in how they use their maternity and paternity leave.
From above date, the legislation will enable eligible fathers or partners to claim the remaining leave and pay where their partner (the child’s mother or adopter) returns to work prior to her leave/pay entitlements coming to an end. Those eligible will be entitled to up to 26 weeks’ additional paternity leave from 20 weeks after the child’s birth or adoption. The leave may be paid if taken during the mother or partner’s SMP period, Maternity Allowance period or Statutory Adoption Pay period. Leave taken after this, would be unpaid.
The Equality Commission for NI provides training and advice for employers; to register for any of their seminars visit their website www.equalityni.org to book a training place or alternatively e-mail your specific training interest to:
or simply call 028 90 890 890
NICMA - looking for new Trustees
NICMA – the Northern Ireland Childminding Association is a regional charity and membership organisation whose mission is to support and develop quality home based childminding services. NICMA has recently undertaken a review of its governance structure and appointed a new Board in order to meet the demands of its expanding remit. They are currently looking for new Trustees to continue to help shape future strategy and achieve all missions, but with a specific interest in rural issues to ensure that all communities are represented.
NICMA welcomes expressions of interest from those in a variety of backgrounds, who may have skills in finance, fundraising, marketing, campaigning or charity law. Although previous experience as a trustee would be useful, this is not a necessary requirement for application. The trustee role is unpaid, but travel and expenses will be reimbursed.
If you would like to help NICMA achieve its mission, and have a little time and a lot of interest, please request a Trustee Information Pack from Valerie Earney on 9181 1015 or email
NICMA –the Childminding Association, 16 –18 Mill Street, Newtownards, BT23 4LU, Tel: 028 9181 1015 Fax: 028 9182 0921, Website:www.nicma.org e-mail:
Upcoming consultations due for response include:
DEL – Regional Strategy for widening participation in Higher Education
This consultation is designed to create an environment where the last elements of educational disadvantage are eliminated from society. Responses to this consultation will feed into the development of an integrated Regional Strategy for widening participation in Higher Education which will be published in 2011. Responses should be submitted before the closing date of 3 June 2011
DEL – A Strategy for those Not in Education, Employment or Training
Responses received to this consultation will inform the development of “Pathways to Success” a cross-Departmental strategy to reduce the number of young people most at risk of remaining outside education, employment or training. Responses should be submitted before the closing date of 30 June 2011
DEL – Future policy on Higher Education tuition fees and student finance arrangements in Northern Ireland.
In accordance with guidance on the distribution of publications from the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister, the DEL have released a public consultation document on the future policy on Higher Education tuition fees and student arrangements in Northern Ireland. The consultation paper seeks views on a range of fees and student support packages and sets out the possible implications and key considerations with each of these options. Responses should be submitted before the closing date of 10 June 2011.
Every four years, the Northern Ireland Assembly is required to hold an election on the first Thursday in May. This is in accordance with the Northern Ireland Act 1998 (section 31). The previous Assembly must be dissolved before the election can be held (dissolution is the official term for the adjournment of the assembly, pending new elections to it).
The period between the Assembly dissolving and the election is set by an order made by the Secretary of State. During the pre-election period (dissolution) all the 108 MLAs cease to be MLAs. Since the Assembly requires MLAs to carry out both Assembly debates and Committee work, the Assembly cannot conduct official business. The Assembly will resume its business when newly elected MLAs take their seats after the election.
A total of 218 candidates were standing in this election compared with 257 in 2007. The largest number of candidates is in East Belfast, where 17 candidates are seeking election, while the smallest number – 10 – is in South Antrim. Of these 218 candidates, 38 (17.4%) are women compared with 47 (18.3%) in 2007. The largest numbers of female candidates in a constituency with 4 each are in East Belfast, South Down and Upper Bann respectively. The constituency with the lowest number of female candidates is Newry and Armagh which does not have any women contesting the election in the area.
The political party with the greatest number of female candidates in this election is Sinn Fein with 11. Out of the 5 biggest political parties contesting this election the UUP has the least amount of female candidates fighting the election with 3.
TWN Networking Event
Are you a parent interested in becoming a registered childminder whilst even caring for your own child/ren? Or are you interested in becoming a self-employed childcare provider working from home, with flexible working hours
If the answer is YES, TWN have an event for you. In association with NICMA (Northern Irelands Child Minding Association) TWN are holding an information evening on Tuesday 7 June 2011 @ 6.30pm in our premises in 10b Weavers Court, Belfast. Liz Brown from NICMA will talk about what you need to do to become a home based childcare provider, discussing the process from start to finish. This is an excellent opportunity for anyone interested in a career in childcare whilst allowing you to be self employed, to work from home, with flexible working hours whilst even caring for your own child/ren to gain information from the organisation that works to ‘support and develop registered home-based childcare’. This event is FREE and light refreshments will be provided on the night.
If this is something that you are interested in and you would like to gain more information about it, please contact Julie on 9031 9888. Places are limited so book early to avoid disappointment.
Vocal Coaching Workshop
We all work hard at our presentation skills but do we ever really stop to think about our vocal presentation skills? This workshop will cover basic speech and presentation skills, modulation, breathing and correct speech in a casual, informative but fun mode culminating in a short poem being performed at the end of the workshop by everyone together.
Our vocal coach, Lynn Webber has over 30 years experience in speech and drama. The Workshop will take place on Monday 27 June from 10.00am – 4pm in TWN and costs £25 per person including a light lunch, a maximum of 30 places are available so why wait, register for this fantastic and interesting workshop today. Contact Julie on Tel No. 028 90 319888
Budget 2011: Key points at a glance
Personal Allowance for income tax (PAYE) has risen by £1,000 per annum as expected and this will be raised by a further £630 in 2012 for under 65s.
Employer’s National Insurance Contributions have been raised by 1% to 13.8% and employees’ NIC raised to 12%
Corporation Tax rates for small businesses will be lowered from 21% to 20% as expected, for larger companies it has been reduced by 2%, from 28% to 26%, as opposed to the 1% planned. Corporation Tax rates will continue to fall for the next 3 years
The annual exempt amount for capital gains tax will increase from £10,100 to £10,600
From the 6th of April, Entrepreneurs’ Relief doubled to £10 million
Mileage Allowance has increased from 40p per mile to 45p per mile for the first 10,000 miles from the 6th April
Air passenger duty has been frozen for the time being
ICT tips – how to combat spam email
Safe guardyour email address and avoid disclosing it
Chain email – A chain email couldinclude hundreds of email addresses which the spammers want to harvest. Breakthe chain by initiating a new message, copy/paste only the contents you want toshare with others, instead of forwarding the whole message
Notification subscription – Manyonline organisations give the visitors the options of subscribing to their newsor product information. Make sure those options are not selected unless youreally want to receive their product/service information
Email address on the website orpublic forum – Spammer uses special software to scan websites for emailaddresses. So never publish your email address on your website. Instead, use contactform for the website visitor
Use computer-side anti-spamsoftware
We all use email addresses in our dailylives; online shopping, banking, holiday booking, service registration, socialnetworking, etc; it is impossible to completely avoid our email addresses beingdisclosed or even being shared. That’s why there are so many computer-sidesoftware products available in the market. The software does not usuallyprevent spam messages going into your computer; it simply scans the incomingemail being downloaded and moves the spam messages to a specified folder foryour further actions. Some well-known free anti-spam software:
- Microsoft Outlook built-in junkmail filter - Mailwasher - Spamfighter
Use server-side anti-spam filter/blocker
A more efficient way to manage spamemail is to use the server-side anti-spam facilities, which means your computerwon’t download the messages that have been treated as spam at the mail serverside. You can usually manage your email account including the spam filterconfiguration by logging in your email service provider’s website.
Use web-based email services
Web-based email providers such asGmail, Windows Live (Hotmail), Yahoo, etc have very good spam protectionfacilities; You don’t even need to do any configuration as their spammer listsare automatically updated. Gmail in particular has been commented upon as thebest web-based email provider in spam protection.
Positive Relations Project Conference
TWN hosted the P?sitive Relations Project Conference in the Tullyglass Hotel on Tuesday 29 March 2011. The Conference was attended by over 300 participants representing all 23 Regional Project Management Agencies (RPMA’s) and included representatives from the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB) and the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA). The conference allowed participants to celebrate the closure of the P?sitive Relations Project by engaging in workshops that encouraged the sharing of experiences on the project and how to develop and sustain these experiences and relationships beyond the project.
The workshops included:
Women Building Peace – An International Perspective ~ Facilitated by Women Without Borders & May de Silva, WiP
UN Resolution 1325 – On Trial ~ Facilitated by Kate McCullough
Building the Road to Peace ~ Facilitated by Brigid Loughran
Evaluation Discussion Forum ~ Facilitated by Sarah Travers
The Keynote Speaker at the conference was international humanitarian, Terry Waite who delivered a highly emotive speech on his experiences in captivity and his continual work for Peace and Reconciliation.
Extending Positive Relations Project
TWN is currently in the process of rolling out the ‘Extending Positive Relations Project’ which will see the work of the Positive Relations Project extended and consolidated throughout Northern Ireland and the Border Region via our 23 RPMAs.
This extended project will build upon the successes that have been achieved to date, develop sustainable, meaningful relations and strengthen further the communion of the current RPMAs into one large network spanning the whole of the six counties of Northern Ireland and the six border counties, a lasting positive relations network that can be accessed by all women at their local level.
TWN Room Hire -For Businesses That Want To Make A Lasting Impression
Located in the heart of Belfast City and with free onsite car parking, TWN’s state of the art room hire facilities are ideal to meet all your training and business needs. When it comes to making that all important business presentation or delivering a professional training programme, the last thing you want to worry about is the details! At TWN we can meet all your catering and business needs, leaving you to get on with the business at hand.
With 3 rooms ranging in size, the Training Suite is a multi-purpose room that provides the perfect setting for large meetings, lectures, small conferences, seminars and training workshops. While the Board room can accommodate 20 delegates theatre style and the Meeting room can accommodate 6-8 boardroom style, all offer very comfortable meeting facilities.
At TWN we aim to meet all your needs. Our rooms can be laid out to your specifications, with or without tables. All rooms are fully air conditioned and have natural light.
NICVA is involved in administering Collaboration NI grants, together with BCT (Building Change Trust). This is open to all organisations, and the expression of interest form is on the NICVA website.
As part of the Smart Solutions campaign, Cutswatch is an internet feature allowing people to see where cuts are falling across the UK. Organisations will be able to log their cuts through the NICVA website.
NICVA has been pursuing an answer to the questions over the Public Benefit test for charities, little is likely to happen until the new Assembly has got down to work.
As this is the final year of NICVA’s current strategic plan, work is starting on a new one, which will be submitted in the autumn. The Executive Committee is holding a special planning meeting next month.
We hope you have enjoyed this edition of TWN’s e-zine, the next e-zine will be e-mailed at the end of July, if you wish to submit an article for inclusion, please e-mail Heather by 22 July