Independent and not-for-profit with 30 years' expertise in planning, community planning and engagement


Join The Dots Participatory Budgeting – Creating Connections!

Collaboration for Change (CfC) and partners are delighted to announce the launch of Join the Dots Participatory Budgeting (PB) around the theme of creating connections.  CfC is a collective of organisations and individual activists who are working alongside each other for the Common Good. We work to create open spaces for shared learning, peer support, practical hope and collaboration. 


Marian Farrell, CfC said “We are excited to have our first and totally digital PB process on the theme of Creating Connections.  This theme is all about bringing new folk together to work on an idea for the common good. People could also submit an idea that will, in itself Create new Connections that bring folk together for the common good. Groups can bid for funds of up to £500 (or its euro equivalent) to make an idea happen”.


Roisin McLaughlin, from NWCN one of the 9 partnering organisations said “This has been an excellent opportunity to learn about PB.  PB is all about people voting to decide how to allocate part of a budget. It is a way for citizens to have a direct say in how funds are used to address local needs. We are very proud that the funds available have been sourced through crowdfunding by our own CfC activists and supporters.  It has been all about collaboration within the community sector right from the start and it has been a pleasure to work with all of the other partners involved.”


The Join the Dots PB process launched on 23rd August 2021. To find out more, come along to one of our support workshops, on the 9th and 14th of September.


Topic: Join the Dots PB Support Workshop 1

Time: Sep 9, 2021 19:00 London

Meeting ID: 839 8694 4449

Passcode: 888830


Topic: Join the Dots PB Support Workshop 2

Time: Sep 14, 2021 11:00 London

Meeting ID: 847 4560 0840

Passcode: 809022


More information can be found at



Notes to Editors:


  1. Partnering organisations include North West Community Network (NWCN), St Colum’s Park House, Northern Area Community Network, Armoy Community Association, Zero Waste North West, Outer West Neighbourhood Partnership, Social Farms & Gardens and Community Places & PB Works
  2. For further information:
  3. For media queries contact: Roisin McLaughlin 028 71 261941 or
1 September 2021

Putting People in the Lead through Quality Participatory Budgeting

Our next learning workshop is on the theme of Community Led Participatory Budgeting (PB) and we are delighted to announce we will have guest speakers from the Gorbals in Glasgow.  The workshop will be held via Zoom on Wednesday, 16 June 2021 from 10.00 am to 11.30 am.  

What can you expect at the workshop? 

  • An introduction to Participatory Budgeting (PB) and further details on the Putting People in the Lead through Quality PB Project;
  • Hear from guest speakers Jo Speirs Community Budgeting Officer and Community Panel representatives from the Gorbals Ideas Fund in Glasgow; 
  • Help shape a PB Charter to support 'Quality' PB processes;
  • Sign up to become a PB Works Network Member. 

The Gorbals PB process is designed, developed and delivered by residents who live in the community, sit on the Community Panel and believe that people should be more involved in the decisions that affect their lives  

Please register to attend the workshop in advance.  You may join it from 9.50 am.


10 June 2021

Planning Your Place: Getting Involved - Engagement Sessions (25 May 2021)

Community Places and the Department for Infrastructure are co-hosting four online engagement events on Tuesday, 25 May 2021.  The sessions form part of the work of the Planning Engagement Partnership (established by Minister for Infrastructure, Nichola Mallon, to explore ways of improving the quality and depth of community engagement in planning).  All our member groups and people we have given planning advice to are invited to attend and give their views on how community engagement in planning can be improved. 

The four online sessions – each lasting 90 minutes – are themed as follows:

  • successful placemaking (10.00 am);
  • communicating creatively about planning (12.30 pm);
  • open and inclusive engagement (4.00 pm); and
  • engaging communities digitally (6.30 pm).

A wide range of expert speakers will share their own experiences of community engagement in planning, on how local communities can become involved in how their areas are being planned and how the Covid-19 pandemic has increased creativity and innovation in community engagement.  Discussion and issues raised at the sessions will feed into recommendations to improve community engagement in planning and will be presented in a report to the Minister.

You can attend any or all of the sessions.  Further information (including how to register) is available by clicking on the image below.


17 May 2021

Review of Planning Policy on Renewable Energy

Minister for Infrastructure, Nichola Mallon, has announced a review of the region’s strategic planning policy on renewable energy.  She said:  

“The planning system has played a key role to date in helping to achieve and exceed Northern Ireland’s renewable electricity target and I want to ensure that my Department’s regional planning policy remains up to date, robust and fit for purpose.  The planning system is where different and opposing interests often meet and there will be opportunities as the review progresses to hear from everyone who has an interest in this policy area. I want to ensure regional planning policy for renewable and low carbon energy truly furthers sustainable development and delivers in the long-term public interest”.

The Minister emphasised that the review will be informed by extensive public and stakeholder engagement to ensure that the new policy is up to date, fit for purpose and has the support of local communities.   Community Places has given advice to a number of community groups concerned about renewable energy proposals (including the proposal for a 33 turbine windfarm at Doraville which the Minister did not grant planning permission for), we thus look forward to the outcome of this review.  


22 April 2021

Minister Refuses Planning Permission for Doraville Wind Farm

DfI Minister Nichola Mallon has refused planning permission for Doraville Wind Farm which would have seen 33 turbines erected in the Sperrins Mountains.  Community Places assisted Broughderg Area Development Association (BADA) object to this wind farm in the Sperrins Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.  The Association first approached us in 2015 for advice on objecting to the planning application and we provided advice and support throughout this long-running and complex case which culminated in a Public Inquiry held in September 2019 by the PAC (Planning Appeals Commission). 

In reaching her decision the Minister said: 

“The PAC report indicates that the scale of the proposal and the sheer magnitude of the associated change has the potential to detract from local people’s sense of place and connection to the land.  My aim is to improve people’s lives, not add to their burden so taking all of this into account, and in line with the PAC recommendation, I have decided to refuse this application.”


27 October 2020