Programmes & Funds

Programmes & Funds

SCTP LOGOG FINAL min | | SECAD Partnership CLG

Sustainable Communities Training Programme

The Sustainable Communities Training Programme is a fully funded programme for community groups, volunteers and businesses across South and West Cork.  It provides expert training for successful applicants who are interested in developing and nurturing sustainability within their local communities.  It will assist the participants to promote the sustainable development of their own communities in social, environmental and economic terms.

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.

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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)

How can I get involved?

This free training programme will run from May 2021 to September 2022 (with a break across July and August):

Step one – Launch of the Programme

Attend the launch event in your area where we will provide an overview of what the programme will involve and we will introduce you to the trainers for your area.

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Step two – Application Process
May / June 2021

Sixteen communities in South and West Cork areas will be selected to participate in the full Sustainable Communities Training Programme.

If your community would like to take part in the full SECAD Sustainable Communities Training Programme, please complete the brief application form and submit to by 11th  June 2021.   You can access the application form by clicking here.

If you have any queries about completing the application form, please contact Nuala O’Connell at or 087 9672515 / 021 4613432


Step three – Training Programme & Development of Community Plans
September 2021 to June 2022

  • Bespoke Training Programme to build Community Development Teams and develop Community Led Sustainability Plans rolled out in sixteen communities
  • Project management training to help sixteen communities implement their Community Led Sustainability Plans

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.


Application Process

Following the introductory modules, SECAD will invite applications from communities across South and West Cork to take part in the full Sustainable Communities Training Programme, with a view to selecting 16 applicants who will develop detailed community-led sustainability plans throughout 2021 and 2022.  The successful groups will receive support in bringing together a diverse Community Development Team, which can include key community volunteers associated with existing community organisations and members of the business community. A specific focus will be placed on diversity within the group in terms of ethnicity, family structure, disability, age and gender.


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.


In South Cork

CbD logo with words min | | SECAD Partnership CLGThe 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. 

Change by Degrees is a Social Entrepreneurs Ireland Awardee 2018, a 2019 Women Mean Business Award Finalist and a 2019 Cork Digital Marketing Awards Finalist.  Dr Tara Shine has worked in environmental policy in Ireland and internationally for over 20 years and has an understanding of policy frameworks from the UN to local authorities.  This is important in helping communities to respond to policy drivers and to benefit from funding streams and emerging legislation.

Madeleine Murray specialises in engagement, UX design and communicating sustainability.

 MaREI is the Science Foundation Ireland Research Centre for Energy, Climate and Marine, coordinated by the Environmental Research Institute (ERI) at University College Cork.  MaREI’s expertise spans scientific research, social science and stakeholder engagement in sustainability and climate action.  The team will be led by Aoife Deane, Communications & Public Engagement Manager.

Rosemarie Mac Sweeney is project manager and architectural technician based at the Irish Green Building Council. She has extensive experience in project management within the research, construction, and sustainability sectors.  She is a qualified architect with wide ranging professional experience and ability to train others, specializing in sustainability.  Rosemarie has proven success in completing projects and leading multi-disciplinary teams to achieve project objectives while meeting deadlines.


In West Cork

voice logo no tag min | | SECAD Partnership CLGThe Sustainable Communities Training Programme will led by VOICE who will bring the following expert partners onboard 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
  • Suzie Cahn, Carrig Dulra Community Development consultant

 Through this consortium, communities participating in the programme will have access to a wide range of experts working within the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and ensure that the programme is truly tailored to the needs and interests of the community itself.

VOICE has become one of the leading environmental charities in Ireland, with over twenty years experience in waste and water policy development, public awareness and outreach to communities and companies to encourage behaviour change.  VOICE moves beyond merely running public awareness events and workshops by asking and helping individuals, communities and businesses to become active participants in achieving sustainable change in their local or business environments.  VOICE envisions an Ireland where local communities help each other to make Ireland a more sustainable place to work, live and achieve a sense of well-being. With SECAD VOICE aims to build on experience from initiatives such as the Towards Zero Waste Cashel, RAP and Sustainable Communities to develop a framework for a more sustainable future.


Eligibility Criteria

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

  • Be based within SECAD’s operational area:

  • Commit to develop and collaborate with a team (Community Development Team) in your community from September 2021 to September 2022.



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

T:  021 461 3432
M: 087 9672515


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The SECAD Sustainable Communities Training Programme South & West Cork is funded under the LEADER Programme (2014-2020) through the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development – Europe Investing in Rural Areas.  Approvals for the awards of funding under this initiative are made by Cork County Council’s LEADER Local Action Groups which are a subgroup of the Local Community Development Committees. (LCDCs)