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Member Stories

It has been inspiring to watch how the third sector has responded to the challenges of the COVID-19 crisis.
In the midst of these challenging times we want to share your stories of how you have stood tall to serve those most in need during this crisis.
 
A huge thank you to all our members who have taken the time to submit their stories about how they are adapting to the current crisis. Their stories have been a great source of encouragement for the CO3 team. We hope you benefit as much as we have.

If you would like to share your stories with our network, simply click below and in 100-150 words tell us how your organisation has set up new services or changed existing services to protect your local communities. 
Your stories will also help to inform our communication with the media, politicians and government. 
If you have any questions/queries please do not hesitate to contact Nora at nora@co3.bz
Submit Your Story
Members Stories
Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful 
Quaker Service
OCN NI
Action Mental Health 
Parenting NI
Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful
This pandemic has seen us think about things differently. Social restrictions have seen us place a greater emphasis on our online services than we have ever done before. The Live Here Love Here team has conducted an online seminar for those wish9ing to apply for the Small Grants Scheme and they have continued to issue guidance and advice online for those who want to help during this pandemic. Similarly, our Eco-Schools programme has launched a #stayconnected campaign which provides resources for pupils and parents whilst they stay home and want to connect with our environment.

As an organisation we are promoting ways online for all of us to help the environment in our homes and when we take those few trips out for some exercise or shopping. Through our social media channels we are providing regular updates and tips for how the public can help the wider community and themselves.
 
Quaker Service
As regards Quaker Cottage family centre, it is impossible to deliver the in-person crisis support that we specialise in remotely, but staff have devised initiatives to maintain relationships and basic support with families.  Activities have included online story telling for children of various ages, crisis advice and signposting via facebook messaging and regular phone calls, food and hospitality package delivery. 

Our Youth Programme has successfully moved from in-person support to remote working. Whilst this is not a long term substitute for in-person contact, it if an effective interim solution to deliver this work at a time of real crisis and fear for our young people. 

Within our prison work, in-person visits have ceased.  Our large volunteer befriending team have enrolled in the ‘email a prisoner scheme’ and similar initiatives allowing them to keep in contact with those they support.
OCN NI
At OCN NI we are acutely aware that during this difficult period, learners will still need certificates in order to confirm their achievements and be able to progress onto further learning and/or employment.  Likewise, our Centres also need proof that learners have completed their courses so that they can claim funding from relevant statutory bodies. However, until the Government eases its restrictions on businesses, it is not possible to physically print certificates.
Therefore, we are delighted to announce that within the coming weeks OCN NI will begin issuing e-Certificates. This will enable Centres to download their certificates for distribution to learners.
Our new e-Certificates feature technology called AuthentiQual©, which ensures that the validity of our certificates is not compromised by forgery.  All certificates will include unique QR-code authentication embedded on the e-Certifcate and by scanning the QR code, authentication of the certificate is confirmed by OCN NI. 
 
Action Mental Health
Action Mental Health provides a range of services for people across Northern Ireland to help support their recovery from mental illness, the uncertainty and stress caused by the present situation provides specific challenges for their clients.

As such their services have never been so vital to help keep people safe and well. As Audrey Allen, Action Mental Health’s Head of Operations explains the team has risen to the challenge to ensure these needs are met. ‘Thanks to the ingenuity and dedication of our team, we have been able to quickly reshape our entire service delivery model to ensure we are able to remain in contact with our client base and also deliver training and support via online platforms. Feedback from our clients has been overwhelmingly positive, helping them to retain a sense of structure , security and normality in these extremely uncertain times.’
Parenting NI
Parenting NI has adapted quickly – Our well-being in the workplace seminars could no longer ‘physically’ take place, we worked with a number of clients to develop a digital workshop. We are now able to deliver our parental support workshop via an online interactive seminar to employees working from home. Additionally we have utlised our cloud based support line technology to ensure parent support officers can safely work from home - communicating with anxious parents via phone and webchat.  We are working speedily on developing a wide range of additional online support,videos and resources for parents to freely access at a time that suits them via our website and social media channels.
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