Kilcooley Women's Centre, is currently based in Balloo, Bangor and has provided services for women in North Down since 1995. KWC adopts the principles of COMMUNITY WEALTH BUILDING to improve the economic outcomes for the borough of Ards North Down through collaboration. The Women's Centre is a key player within the wider Kilcooley area and works collaboratively with other agencies towards improved outcomes for all residents of the estate, with a particular focus on early intervention programmes and projects to address educational underachievement and poor health and wellbeing outcomes. As the only women's centre serving Ards/North Down and unique in Co Down, where possible we offer outreach training to smaller towns and villages in the Borough. On 2nd June 2017, HM Queen Elizabeth announced in the London Gazette that she had awarded the centre the 'Queens Award for Voluntary Service' in recognition of the service to the community from 1995.
The Centre has been acknowledged as a valuable asset within the community and has developed a diverse range of services to meet the identified needs of women, children and their families living within the Kilcooley and wider Ards & North Down area. Local women are involved in the staffing and management of the centre. Kilcooley Women's Centre is a key provider of training, health awareness, childcare and young women's activities and leads on community based education in the area.
The Centre currently operates out of various sites, each one offering a welcoming environment, where local women can engage in a wide portfolio of activities, including training and education, programmes for young women aged 16-24, employability skills, health and wellbeing programs, peace and reconciliation activities, arts programs and personal development programs to build skills, confidence and self-esteem. To work towards self sustainability in a climate of austerity and reduced grants and funding, KWC is working towards a social economy business model as a trading arm.
The centre operates a regional programme across the Ards North Down and Peninsula area, working from Holywood, the gateway to Co Down to the tip of Portaferry at the most distant part of the peninsula. This work links urban and rural, crosses the different community and social divides and has developed a positive proactive working partnership with the Co Down Rural Network linking towns and villages. The partnership considers collaboration and transfer of innovation, experience and sharing of resources, skills and expertise is the way forward for women, children and families residing or working in the Ards North Down region.
Within the centre, we operate a childcare project called Ladybirds Childcare Services, which is registered with the South Eastern Trust Early Years Team for full-time day care. We offer 'Jellie Tots' baby room for the 0-2 year olds and 'Smarties' pre-nursery for 2-4 year olds preparing for their nursery year or transition to P1. Ladybirds Childcare offers affordable childcare to assist women engaged in training or in the transitional period into employment, respite as crisis intervention for vulnerable families and a not-for-profit affordable childcare programe.
The centre links with 14 regional women's centres in Northern Ireland through a close working relationship with Women's Support Network (WSN) the umbrella group for Women's Centres NI, who represent our views on the Department for Communities sponsored 'Women's Regional Consortium' which provides a one stop shop information and policy service for women in disadvantaged communities across NI. KWC also co-operates with other regional, national and European partners. KWC are keen to form collaborative and partnership approaches to service delivery to share services and support to deliver value for money and maximise any funding the centre is awarded.
We welcome and encourage any woman to contact us or call into the centre and speak to one of our staff about how we could assist you. Opening hours to the public are 9.00am - 4pm Monday to Thursday and 2pm on Fridays, but the phones are manned from 8.15 a.m. We are closed public holidays and for staff training on occasion.
Call us now on 028 9147 8292