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COVID19 - Kilcooley Women's Centre Responds

RESPONDING TO CLIENT NEEDS 

Kilcooley Women's Centre has been delivering several key projects to respond to the crisis of the pandemic COVID19.  This includes:  

CARE PACK PROJECT 

  • Key Worker Childcare Support  
  • Care Packs - Well Woman
  • Care Packs - Well Man
  • Care Packs - Baby Box 
  • Care Pack - Household Hygiene Helper  

The project has been supported by:

  • NI Housing Executive Covid Response Fund
  • Ards North Down Borough Council Covid Response (Redirection of Funds)
  • Community Foundation NI
  • Charities Aid Foundation
  • Martin Lewis Charity Fund  

KWC will receive referrals from community organisations, statutory agencies or people can self refer.  Support will continue until supply for the Care Packs are depleted.  Additionally, Ladybirds Childcare will continue to offer our crisis food bank with the availability of bread and essential items on request. Thank you to Marks & Spencer and Tesco Springhill Bangor for their continued support during these difficult times.  

TRAINING PROGRAMME & DEVELOPMENT OF THE WOMEN'S VIRTUAL COLLEGE PROJECT

KWC is known for the delivery of comprehensive accessible training programmes.  During lockdown, the majority of these courses have been moved online, using our Zoom platform.  Where necessary, face to face, socially distanced workshops have continued to conclude some programmes.  Thank you to our facilitators, in house training and assessment/IQA team for the support and innitiatve shown for the continuity of services during the early stages of lockdown.  Moving forward, we have issued the Septmber 2020 timetable, which will include our normal training provision such as GCSEs.  We will implement the training in line with current Government guidance, and is subject to change.  New courses will be introduced online to add variety for those who cannot attend the centre.  COVID19 advanced the centres strategic plan to offer more options via blended learning (mix of face to face classroom based learning, with online elements).  

Funding is being sought to deliver the new digital programme and to enhance the digital services of the centre.  

EMPLOYABILITY PROGRAMME

The 'Step Up' Employability Programme has continued throughout the COVID19 period, with staff continuiing to offer client support to re-enter the job/employment market.  This includes:

  • CV preparation
  • Interview skills / Mock Interview sessions
  • Assistance with appliation completion

The employability team have been proactive with clients who have been made redundant as a result of the pandemic, assisting them being well prepared and best placed when trying to secure that new job.  

HEALTH & WELLBEING  

The Health & Wellbeing team have continued to deliver support throughout COVID19, including assisting plan and implement our COVID Care packs, linking in with rural and isolated women and familes.  A WhatsApp contact group was established for those shielding during lockdown, to help ensure they did not experience adverse mental health issues and to enable us to signpost to other support services.  This was particuarly important for our rural and older women who rely on the health programmes for contact, friendship and support. Our YouTube channel was a great success with the in-house team developing serveral thematics on the platform, including a weekly Gardening Club, Cookery Club and Yoga for Beginners.  The new health improvement plan continues to be implemented, taking social distancing into account, and the centre team continues to seek funding to add programmes and transitioning to blended learning and enhancing our digital presence.  The new timetable for September and the autumn has been launched and enrolments opened by appointment to ensure safety for both staff and clients of the centre.  

EARLY YEARS, CHILDCARE & PARENTING SUPPORT 

Ladybirds Childcare, Pathways and WCCF Project continued througout the critical period of the lockdown.  Ladybirds was the only childcare unit in Bangor which remained open, providing crucial childcare places for Essential/Key Workers who otherwise may not have been able to continue to work on the health frontline.  Thank you to the team for their dedication during this time. 

Parents were supported with home learning packs, access to foodbank support and Care Packs.  

Ladybirds moved location during lockdown, creating additional pressure within the Department, however this has enabled the service to expand, and respond to the additional needs in the area, and tackle the waiting list for services. 

SOCIAL MEDIA INFORMATION SIGNPOSTING 

The KWC team from all departments remained at work (working from home) during lockdown.  Each member of staff ensured a high quality output was planned and delivered via our Social Media presence on Facebook and Twitter, signposting followers to key messages from statutory agencies, Government Departments and other support services.  Feedback from the content delivery has been postive, with many women reporting they used the KWC pages as a source of reliable content, and somewhere to go for up to date information on the COVID crisis. 

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