The year in review
2014/2015 has been a challenging year with many exciting opportunities. As in previous years we have seen a steady increase in demands for our services from all programme areas.
Children’s Services programmes has established the Art workshop initiative and it is available for children throughout the year, providing a relaxed and fun introduction to services for children and young people of all ages.
The Helping Hands programme has developed to incorporate ‘family work’ sessions, as requested by Mums. The number of families involved in the family work sessions has increased significantly. Children’s Services has been very responsive to the needs of the Mums and the children as they develop the services offered.
Refuge services provides safe, temporary accommodation and support to women and their children, many who have complex needs. Staff continue to meet all the needs of women and families residing in refuge and work in close partnership with NIHE, PSNI, S.E. Trust, C.A.B, The Storehouse and many other community and voluntary agencies. Again this year, there was an increase in the number of families residing in refuge and an increase in the number of women/families we have been unable to accommodate as requested.
North Down and Ards Women’s Aid continues to work with Choice Housing in an attempt to secure new premises in a new location. We received funding from the DOJ which enabled a badly needed refurbishing of the interior of the refuge, which has provided a modern and homely environment to the communal areas.
Floating Support services was successful in their bid for an increase in funding, providing this project with an increase in staff and a full time manager post. With the increase in capacity, North Down and Ards Women’s Aid has been able to expedite the allocation of key support workers providing services more efficiently and effectively. Floating Support has seen a significant and sustained increase in the number of referrals into the service this year. In order to meet the diverse needs of women in the community, Floating Support also works in close partnership with NIHE, PSNI, S.E.Trust, C.A.B., The Storehouse, Solicitors and many other community agencies. North Down and Ards Women’ Aid staff have presented awareness raising sessions to local church groups, local women’s groups, and presented training sessions to a number of professional organisations and statutory agencies during this year.
The new IT system is now live. Staff are using the system and becoming more familiar with its benefits. We are delighted to report that this year saw the launch of our Facebook page, which is very active and well followed.
We are dedicated and committed to providing high quality professional services that meets the needs of women and families coming into our services. I would like to thank staff for their continued hard work and dedication. I also would like to take this opportunity to thank the Board of Directors for their commitment, professionalism, leadership and dedication during a very busy and productive year. You can read more about what we did during the year in our Annual Report.
Beth Scott, Chief Executive Officer