Paul Harkin is Director of Community Development at The Benevolent Society. He has a Master of Community Development, 20 years’ experience working in the community sector in Ireland, the UK and Australia, and is a current MBA candidate at the University of Sydney. His present role with The Benevolent Society includes: supporting their community-focused services, so that each service understands and is connected to the individual communities in which they are based; understanding their impact; and creating partnerships with others that improve outcomes for clients and communities.
Paul’s career has given him the privilege of engaging with strong, resilient communities in urban and rural settings – communities that work with their strengths to address their challenges. He has engaged with communities to design new solutions to the issues they face, through needs assessment, collaboration and advocacy. Some of these have included: the establishment of social enterprise responses; multi-agency partnerships to tackle significant community disadvantage; community consultation and planning; service design and procurement; social action networks seeking to change views and systems; and innovative solutions to address access issues.