Foyle Women’s Aid is a value-based organisation, prioritising respect, understanding, shared learning, trust in clients, providing a non-judgemental service and challenging negative and stereotypical attitudes and beliefs surrounding domestic abuse. Foyle Women’s Aid values self-help and aims to enable clients to help themselves. Furthermore, it promotes both the rights of women and that of people in general.
Community Support – practical and emotional support to victims and survivors of domestic and sexual abuse in the Derry/Londonderry, Strabane and Limavady areas. Confidential support sessions that can take place by phone, Zoom or in person (with safety measures in place). The support is centred around domestic abuse; children; finances; legal: housing; physical health; emotional and mental health; self-care; community networks; employment. There is a rapid response for high-risk/MARAC cases, with crisis support and safety planning.
Accommodation – safe supported accommodation in independent units for women and children who have been made homeless or are at risk of homelessness due to domestic violence. The support is on the same basis as Community Support, with special emphasis on housing and safety.
Court Support – support for women who have to attend court on a range of civil matters is available free of charge. Staff and/or trained volunteers will accompany the women to court, wait with her in a private Women’s Aid room in the courthouse and liaise with solicitors on her behalf if needed.
Group Work – All Support staff are trained to deliver the Foyle Women’s Aid ‘Journey to Freedom’ programme with clients, either by Zoom or face to face (when it is safe to do so). There are several programmes running at the same time as the demand for the programme is high and the feedback positive among women, who gain an insight into domestic violence and its impact on them personally. Follow-on programmes on self-esteem and healthy relationships are also available.
Older Women’s Project (‘Free As Bees’) – tailored support group for our older clients, including activities and talks to combat isolation and other issues affecting women who are in the 50+ age groups.
Sweet Peas Crèche – registered centre with the Western Health and Social Care Trust, Early Years sector, as a childcare facility working to their minimum standards, Article 2012. At present, we can provide crèche for up to 14 children to maintain and comply with ratios. We currently have crèche supporting children within our residential accommodation, community-based clients and for women who avail of group work. Children are cared for by trained staff who look after each child’s individual needs, carry out observations, and keep records of milestones and achievements. The focus of our work is on play and offering this in a safe environment, so that the children can grow and learn.
Active Learning – weekly Active Learning sessions for school-aged children to come to POD15 (our dedicated Children & Young People’s Centre) and have access to technology, space to complete homework and to be supported amongst their peers in a safe environment, with continued staff support.
Early Intervention – we deliver our early intervention programme, Helping Hands, to children aged 5-11 years. Helping Hands is a 6-week programme, which aims to increase children’s understanding of feeling safe and to explore and promote behaviours which will contribute to a safer environment.
Family Support – staff are always on hand to support families with information on health, nutrition, education and behaviours. Some mothers rely on the emotional support and encouragement of the staff here and this, in itself, can make a massive different to their parenting. We have a wide volume of literature and leaflets that can assist a mother with weaning, bed routines and toilet training.
Teenlink – aimed at empowering young people, aged 11 to 16, who have been affected by domestic and sexual violence. We do this by equipping young people with the skills to better protect themselves by helping to promote healthier lifestyle choices, develop positive communication skills, reducing feelings of isolation and increasing self-esteem. Teenlink Services: one-to-one support; group work sessions; weekly youth group; Summer scheme; residentials.
Summer Scheme – every year, we have 6 full weeks of a Summer Scheme. This is spilt into various age groups and is always jam-packed with exciting trips and activities. Summer can be difficult for families financially and children are not receiving free school meals. At POD15, we include breakfast, lunch and snacks for children. We aim to use the Summer Scheme to enable children to work together, help prepare breaks and clear up. These life skills are extremely important and not always taught when a family is in crisis.
Referrals to all our services can be made through our central referrals system, which can be accessed by phoning (028) 71 416 800. Referrals can be made by the woman herself or through a third-party agency with her consent.