Cllr Emma Coffey, Joanne Jennings, Programme Director; Sarah Malone, Regional Co-ordinator for the Next Chapter and Cllr Anne Campbell.
Women from Dundalk and Louth are being urged to get involved in public and political life.
That was the message today from Joanne Jennings, Head of Programmes at Politics Plus, as a team from The Next Chapter begin their journey across Northern Ireland and the border regions of the Republic of Ireland to promote this new and innovative EU-funded civic empowerment programme which aims to support women in taking their first steps into public life.
The team visited Dundalk today where they met a number of Louth County Council public representatives.
Beginning in Belfast, The Next Chapter team and mobile billboard will travel hundreds of miles through towns and cities including Lisburn, Newry, Greencastle, Carlingford, Dundalk, Antrim, Ballymena, Portstewart, Derry/Londonderry, Omagh, Enniskillen, Upper Bann and Monaghan.
As well as publicising details about The Next Chapter and meeting female public representatives and business leaders along the journey, staff will be on hand to answer questions and provide information for those interested in registering for the programme.
The project is powered by Politics Plus in conjunction with Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action (NICVA) and Irish Rural Link. It is supported by the European Union’s PEACE IV Programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB). Match-funding has also been provided by the Department of Rural and Community Development in Ireland and the Executive Office in Northern Ireland.
The Next Chapter is a new programme supporting women to develop their ideas, build communities and support the transition out of conflict. It aims to improve the representation of women in public and political life and contribute to a more gender-sensitive society in Northern Ireland and the border regions of the Republic of Ireland.
The initiative will run a series of training, coaching, mentoring and empowering programmes for women living and working in towns, cities and rural areas across the region.
Head of Programmes for Politics Plus, the lead organisation behind The Next Chapter, Joanne Jennings said: “Women are underrepresented in public life in Northern Ireland and border counties of the ROI and The Next Chapter aims to increase the level of female representation. The programme has been designed to help women or all ages and backgrounds take their first steps into politics and public life and includes training in communication, conflict resolution, media and a range of other topics. Participants will also receive help in identifying how they can positively deliver change in their own areas.
“The programme will be organised through ten ‘Chapters’ located across the region. We are delighted to be travelling across the region over the next few days, meeting female public representatives and business leaders, and answering questions on this first-of-its-kind programme.
"I would urge women of all ages and backgrounds to register their interest at www.thenextchapter.eu.”
An information session with be held in Dundalk on 31st May at 7pm at Creative Spark, Clontygora Court, Muirhevnamor.
Further information can be found at www.thenextchapter.eu and the programme itself will be underway by June 2018.