Active Citizens, the British Council's social leadership training programme aims to promote intercultural dialogue and community-led social development, by working with participants aged 18 and over.

Active Citizens is open to a range of organisations, including grassroots and religious groups, sports teams, businesses, education providers, charities, youth organisations, arts organisations and social entrepreneurs.

We want to help Northern Ireland organisations to connect with the programme. By bringing together people from different cultures, beliefs and perspectives, we can provide more opportunities to learn, share stories, and ultimately create a fairer, more inclusive Northern Ireland.

In 2019-20, two Northern Ireland organisations were selected to become Delivery Partners - R City Youth and North West Migrants Forum.

Watch this short video on our Active Citizens programme


Active Citizens is a non-profit programme which promotes understanding of different cultures within local, national, and global communities. Since 2009, it has worked in 73 countries and supported more than 10,000 social action projects.

None of this would have been possible without our Delivery Partners. Getting involved in Active Citizens has helped them to support social action projects and take part in international visits, workshops and networking events. 


Delivery Partners can come from a diverse range of sectors: grassroots social movements, religious groups, sports teams, businesses, education providers, charities, youth organisations, artists and social entrepreneurs. 

The British Council pays a grant as a contribution towards the costs of running Active Citizens programme activities and to facilitate international and UK networking and exchange.

Delivery Partners can choose to deliver Active Citizen’s as a stand-alone programme, or as a component of a wider project.

The role of the Delivery Partner includes:

  • Deciding how the organisation is going to deliver the programme, working with stakeholders, partners and networks in their community to design and deliver the Active Citizens programme;
  • Identifying two facilitators to deliver the Active Citizens Learning Journey;
  • Recruiting 30+ participants and running Community Workshops where the facilitators deliver the Learning Journey;
  • Supporting the participants to develop their own local social action projects;
  • Supporting the participants to design and host a visit from a group of UK and international Active Citizens as part of an International Study Visit;
  • Nominating two participants to take part in an International Study Visit in the UK or internationally and supporting their cascade on their return;
  • Managing the grant, monitoring and reporting on progress, and submitting an end of cycle narrative and financial report to the British Council on programme completion.


The benefits of partnering with the Active Citizen’s programme are vast. By getting involved in a global movement of cultural understanding and learning, your organisation can:

  • become better connected, locally, nationally, and globally
  • reach new audiences
  • improve cross-cultural knowledge and communications skills
  • learn new or alternate approaches to your work
  • build an inclusive, forward thinking, and understanding work environment
  • benefit from potential media coverage
  • increase community participation
  • meet new/potential stakeholders
  • benefit from opportunities for cross sectoral collaborations
  • gain volunteers

In addition, your involvement will directly benefit your community by:

  • furthering understanding and knowledge of different cultures and beliefs
  • facilitating the learning of new skills and increasing social development
  • forging international ties and increasing international opportunities
  • improving participation in local events, and projects
  • reducing tension between different cultures or groups
  • creating a fair, inclusive, and resilient society

Each programme combines a set of core elements with highly flexible country-specific planning. This means well-planned and meaningful projects can be delivered to relevant communities around Northern Ireland.


In Northern Ireland we work with local government and relevant civil society and third sector organisations to identify national priorities and relevant themes. Then we determine target audiences, geographical areas, and social development opportunities.

Next, we recruit local organisations as partners to deliver the Active Citizen Programme in their communities. Induction meetings are held to discuss aims, processes and plans. Working together, we develop programme content to reflect the agreed national themes and priorities.

Finally, partner organisations identify individuals to take on the role of Active Citizen Facilitators, individuals who receive training on providing social action workshops directly in local communities.


Please note that to be eligible to apply to be a Delivery Partner in the Active Citizens UK Programme Cycle 2019-20, organisations must fulfil these criteria:

  • Be UK based and work with a community in the UK; 
  • Have a UK based bank account that requires two signatures; 
  • Operate from a sound financial position, demonstrated through their latest audited accounts (or appropriate equivalent); 
  • Have no conflict of interest relating to their involvement as a grantee; 
  • Be able to guarantee the commitment of a Project Co-ordinator and two facilitators; 
  • Be able to contribute the necessary staff time and additional costs to ensure effective delivery of the project, including monitoring, evaluation and reporting commitments, with a co-financing contribution of at least 20 per cent of the value of the Delivery grant. This may be from the partner’s own resources and/or financial contributions from third parties; 
  • Accept the requirements in relation to intellectual property rights; 
  • Have completed the activity from any previous cycle(s). (This applies only to organisations who have been involved in previous cycles of the Active Citizens programme.) 


The British Council pays UK delivery partners a grant in two parts.

This is to cover a) a contribution to the costs of running the Active Citizens programme in their community b) to facilitate international and UK networking and exchange.

The grant is not intended to cover the entirety of costs. The delivery grant is up to £8,000, and the international travel grant is determined by the events in which each partner takes part.


Applications are now closed for 2019-20.

Find out more about the programmes here:


Have a read of our Active Citizens information pages for more information or download the documents below.

Have a read of our Active Citizens information pages for more information or email the team at