History – Beginnings, Achievements and Experience

The Strabane and Lifford Women’s Centre (SLWC) was established in 1997 to provide a shared safe space that provided women with an opportunity to avail of programmes that improve their quality of life. The Strabane and Lifford Women’s Centre deliever education, training, health and social recreational courses, programmes and projects that increase self-esteem, confidence, health and wellbeing of self and families, education levels and employability of women in the Strabane District. Strabane and Lifford Women’s Centre is a limited company NI 35654 and registered charity XR29356 and is based at 11 Railway Road, Strabane, Co.Tyrone

Telephone number: 02871 886253

Email: slwomenscentre@hotmail.com

Website: http://www.strabaneliffordwomenscentre.com/

Contact Person: Patricia Hegarty, Manager

The SLWC has a proven track record in relation to programme management. This is evidenced by the following range of publicly funded programmes implemented over the last five years:

Programme Title Focus Funder Programme Budget Summary of Impact
SLWC Measure 5.4 Programme PEACE II Extension Reconciliation, Education and Training for Women CFNI £287K All Targets Achieved> 200 women trained and supported per annum
SLWC Measure 5.4 PEACE II Reconciliation, Education and Training for Women CFNI £300K All Targets Achieved> 200 women trained and supported per annum
SLWC Measure 5.4 PEACE I Reconciliation, Education and Training for Women CFNI £310K All Targets Achieved> 200 women trained and supported per annum
4E’s Big Lottery Live and Learn Project Health and Employability Big Lottery Fund £ 1 Million Ongoing

SLWC has also managed a wide range of small grants programmes since its inception in 1997.

The key learning points captured by SLWC via its management of the above mentioned programmes are as follows:

  • Locally based interventions and programmes are more effective when they are delivered on a cross sectoral basis.
  • Referral networks must/should include organisations from the statutory, community and voluntary and private sectors.
  • It is more efficient and generally more effective, if the Programme Manager takes responsibility for the financial administration of the programme. This allows additional programme costs associated with financial adminstration to be channelled towards recruitment of appropriately skilled individuals to meet the needs of participants, and it planes more direct emphasis on the person.
  • Programme interventions meeting the needs of vulnerable adults should owrk on a person centred model; if a person does not meet their ultimate goal as a result of the programme they should be supported to re-engage in the process or be sign posted to a more appropriate pathway – the failure to meet any ultimate goal should never be treated as a failure.

Relevant Experience

The Strabane and Lifford Women’s Group have engaged with and supported 1752 hard to reach adults since July 2006 and supported then to participate on a number of programmes and courses at the Strabane and Lifford Women’s Centre, North West Regional College, Omagh College, Workers Educational Association, Open University and local community service providers. In total 1752 learners have availed of programmes within the centre and subsequently have been signposted to external agencies when appropriate.

All learners have the opportunity to avail of a personal development process that assists them to identify a progression route that is both realistic and achievable. Learners also can avail of counselling and listening ear support when required. Referral protocols have been developed in accordance with good practice relating to confidentiality.

The Strabane and Lifford Women’s Centre is registered with the Open College Netowrk to develop and deliver OCN qualifications, is a satellite centre for NVQ Justice Sector Awards and is in the process of becoming a OCR centre.

Courses delivered at the centre have ranged from OCN to RSA with the Open University also delivering a Certificate programme. All tutors are qualified to teach and assess courses and must meet a minimum standard.

As mentioned previously at total 1752 learners are registered with the Strabane and Lifford Women’s Centre and have been recruited through various mediums, these are as follows:

  • Working in partnership with women’s groups in the Strabane District and with community based and theme based organisations.
  • Community Work Programme
  • Customised Training Services
  • Dillon Court (accomodation for thosewith an array of problems)
  • Strabane Association for Temporary Homeless
  • Community Mental Health
  • Local General Practioners (those recovering from mild mental health illnesses, brain injuries and physical disabilities)
  • Gransha Hospital (Western Health and Social Care Trust)
  • Heart Chest and Stroke Association
  • Social Work Department (PHA)

Advertisments are also placed with the local newspapers, the Strabane Chronicle and the Strabane Weekly and in the Strabane District Council and Strabane and District Community Networks news sheets that are distributed across the district monthly.

Courses are also advertised on the Strabane and Lifford Women’s Centre Website.

The project manager also sits as a director on various committees and forums (as outlined previously) this provides oppprtunities to highlight the Strabane & Lifford Women’s Centre, the portfolio of services and social enterprises.