Pobal’s voluntary board of directors meet nine times a year and you could be taking part in those meetings if you have a community development background, a good internet connection, and get in an application for board membership by this Friday afternoon. Meetings currently take place via Zoom.
There are two vacancies to be filled and, for those who fit the criteria and are keen to see the community development landscape improve across the ROI, this is as good an opportunity as it gets.
– Opportunity to serve on board of country’s biggest not-for-profit
In particular, the board is seeking people with professional experience in community development and experience of the sector.
“As an organisation, we fund most of the community development programmes in the country. If you’re interested in that, come on board with us,” says Deiric Ó Broin, chairperson of the board.
Pointing to the potential roll-out of new community development programmes and local development programme, he said, “We are really keen to access the expertise of the broader community sector.”
Pobal, officially a charity, had a budget last year of over €700m and there are many in the community sector with decades of experience who may not have previously considered applying for membership of its board. Practitioners tend to prefer small initiatives, yet Pobal has had a hand over the years in supporting tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of local community initiatives.
– Chairperson Ó Broin wants more community activists
Ó Broin described his fellow board members as “really committed people” from across the country with diverse backgrounds. Current board members already include people with strong community or voluntary backgrounds, although only one (John Redmond) is described as “an activist”.
If you’re one of those on-the-ground, community workers with insights to bring to the table, it could be time to dust off the CV. The process is wide open and competitive and directors are appointed for an initial four-year term. The criteria are explained in full online (links below).
The word ‘pobal’ is Irish for “community” or “the people”. The organisation is unique, Ó Broin pointed out: “We look after over 30 programmes for over five government departments.”
He said, “We’re really interested in people from a community development background. Our experience has been that people coming from community development tend to be very resilient, quite innovative, quite entrepreneurial and, at the same time, quite good at managing or overseeing change. That’s one of the big challenges for any organisation like Pobal.”
“We’ve grown dramatically over the past number of years. It’s a very fluid environment for us. It’s not just about Covid-19. For example. childcare is changing and there’s the potential for new community development programmes and local development programmes. So, we’re really keen to access the expertise of the broader community sector,” he said.
THE KEY ATTRACTION
Asked why someone in community development should join the board, he pointed out that Pobal funds “most of the community development programmes in the country” and encouraged people interested to come on board.
“See how the system operates. Bring your own experience,” he advised. “While we don’t design the programmes, we work with government departments, and you can input your expertise, knowledge and awareness into the process over the years. That’s the key thing.”
As to his own experience, he enjoys being on the board “immensely”. “It is really rewarding and it’s an amazing board to be part of”.
The board attracts “really committed” volunteers come from across the country and all have diverse backgrounds.
“Every day you learn something new. I can’t speak highly enough about it,” he said.
In his day-job, Deiric Ó Broin works as the Head of Social Enterprise and as Acting Head of Civic Engagement in DCU.
Interested applicants must include a CV and a cover letter in their submissions which are to be emailed to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Closing Date: 3pm on Friday 9th October 2020.
Notes about the vacancies are also available on the website of the Public Appointments Service and State Boards, at http://www.stateboards.ie/stateboards/campaignAdvert/124086.htm and http://www.stateboards.ie/stateboards/campaignAdvert/124086/booklet.htm
Pobal’s board is appointed by Government and members give their time and expertise on a voluntary basis.
A pre-assessment process may apply depending on the number of applications received. A shortlist of qualified applicants is then put to the Minister for Rural and Community Development.
In 2018, Pobal oversaw the expenditure of €729 million while providing management and support services in respect of programmes for Government departments, the EU and other bodies.
Much of Pobal’s focus is on childcare, while it also supports the Social Inclusion and Community Activation Programme, Peace IV, Tús, the Rural Social Scheme; the Senior Alerts Scheme, the Ability Programme, and the new the Covid-19 Stability Schemes, among others. Read more about the programmes.