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Elevate 5th Year Celebration event

Fifth year celebration of the Elevate Community Mentoring and Grants programme

On 22 May 2024: Community and voluntary groups across Northern Ireland will gather in Kildress, county Tyrone to celebrate their local and collective achievements of the Elevate Community Mentoring and Grants programme.  

Today, they will share their learning on how they engaged with over 3,500 people to take action on the social issues that are important for good health, in their own communities. Young people, older people, people living with disabilities, migrants, refugees and asylum seekers and minority groups, who experience social isolation and exclusion have directly benefitted from new social connections and community led support. 


Over the last 5 years, The Community Development and Health Network has worked in partnership with the Public Health Agency and Community Mentor organisations and to develop and deliver a training, community development and support programme, enabling 122 local community and voluntary groups to address health inequalities in their communities.  

A further 1,200 people from across sectors participated in Health Inequalities and Community Development training. 

Together organisations and individuals are a conduit for social change and collective action, working at grassroots level to address health inequalities, enabling groups to build relationships, connections and alliances which will lead to healthier and better resourced communities 


Public Health Agency were delighted to be able to fund the programme again this year and would like to congratulate all of the groups who have been involved. Over the last 5 years the programme has continued to provide opportunities for organisations to make connections, build networks, share information and ideas and support each other in their work, whilst implementing a small project using a community development approach to tackle health inequalities.” Diane McIntyre Interim Head of Health Improvement, Public Health Agency. 


Joanne Vance, Director of Community Development & Health Network said,  

“Elevate is assisting community workers and volunteers have come to together to create local community responses to today’s global challenges; income inequalities, the mental health crisis, war, conflict and climate change, food insecurity and problems in accessing our health system. Post COVID, our programme results show that volunteers are stepping out again and demonstrating how community development practice can promote prevention, support people to raise their voice and involve most disadvantaged in our communities in finding solutions to reduce our growing health inequalities in Northern Ireland”  



For further information, please contact Stephanie Houston on 028 3026 4606 or email  


Note to editors: 

Our event is kindly hosted by Kildress Wolfe Tones GAA Club, who were one of the Elevate programme participants in 2023-24. Elevate is a training and peer mentoring support programme that awards a small grant of up to £5,000 form the PHA to support groups to develop their project ideas.  

A total of £524,000 has been distributed in 5 years of the Elevate Community Mentoring & Grants Programme. 

A list of organisations funded by the Elevate Programme for 2023/24 will be available on request, contact Stephanie Houston. 

  • Key speakers on the day include Aidan Ormsby, ARC Healthy Living Centre,  

  • Shannon McCullagh Rural Support,  

  • Eugene Hamill The Bridge NI,  

  • Linda McKendry Compass Advocacy Network,  

  • Nicola Foster Footprints Women’s Centre  

  • Paddy McEldowney, Health and Social Wellbeing Improvement Manager, Public Health Agency  

  • Joanne Vance Director of Community Development & Health Network. 


The Elevate Programme is supported by The Public Health Agency (PHA) Strengthening Communities for Health Steering Group, under the Department of Health’s Transformation programme and the ‘Expansion of Community Development Approaches' Framework. (2018) 


Research from the DoH Health Inequalities Report (2024) highlights that preventable mortality trebled in the most deprived areas, compared to the least deprived. Government needs to lead on and implement a joined-up “Health in all Policies” approach to reverse this trend. This will include the involvement and participation in decision-making of those communities most affected. Communities here, are stepping up and learning and working together to see what difference they can make.  

Our Community mentors, ARC Healthy Living Centre, County Down Rural Community Network (CDRCN), Mid & East Antrim Agewell Partnership (MEAPP) and Supporting Communities NI led valuable networking and partnership working with mentee groups; supporting them to develop local projects tackling the root causes of health inequalities using community development approaches to help people with their health and mental well-being .   

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