DERRY WELL WOMEN
In the most uncertain of times, there is one thing the people of Londonderry can count on and that is the unwavering support provided by Derry Well Women.
30 Years and Thousands of Women
In a society challenged by the legacy of the Troubles, Derry Well Women was founded with the aim of supporting the women of the city in the way that they need. Susan Gibson, manager of the charity, provided some background:
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“The organisation has been around since 1989 and we have more than 2000 women a year who use our services, right through from 18 and our oldest is 92. Our focus is on childcare, counselling and mental health and chronic illness. Finally, a huge pillar is the impact left by the Troubles.”
The services receive positive feedback including: “The Troubles have affected us all and I feel this course has helped us all to interact and to share and connect with each other. It’s helped enormously.”
Lockdown does not mean Shutdown
When lockdown restrictions came in, Derry Well Women was determined that it wouldn’t stop them from continuing their support. Susan commented:
“We are reaching 54 women a week through counselling and that is primarily via telephone, but we’re also getting our counsellors trained in zoom counselling. Counselling is the one way that we hear what the issues are from people. The economic impact of the lockdown and domestic violence has reared its head in a really significant way that is worrying. In the first month of lockdown, we had 19 calls regarding domestic violence.”
Sense of Community
Susan says the charity plans to introduce a new way for their people to stay connected to them in 2021 with the funding. “The fact that it is unrestricted is so important as it means we can be a bit creative, we can try a new approach like a new callers’ care line. It gives you a bit of flexibility to use it for a purpose that is for the organisation and its development.
“The actual experience if being involved with the Black Santa Sit-Out fund at the Cathedral is wonderful,” added Susan. “It’s an uplifting, inspiring and validating experience and brings such a sense of community in Northern Ireland - it’s wonderful.”
To find out more about Derry Well Women, visit their website here.