Keeping Women in the North West Connected During COVID-19

20 May 2020 Kathy Maguire    Last updated: 22 May 2020

FWIN's social isolation packs

COVID has brought many challenges for the community development sector across NI. For Foyle Women's Information Network  their work to keep women across the North West connected continues. 

For many decades, Foyle Women's Information Network have been working with women across all communities in the north-west of Northern Ireland to combat sectarianism, address poverty and social isolation. Their goal is create communities of friendship and shared experience in this region. With the onset of COVID-19, the organisation faced a new challenge - keeping women connected in times of social distancing. 
With thanks to The The National Lottery Community Fund for Northern Ireland, Foyle Women's Information Network have sent out social isolation packs to over 350 women. Enclosed in these parcels were self-care gifts, positive affirmations, a journal, pen and a stamped postcard so that recipients can pay the goodwill forward and send a handwritten note to someone they are thinking of. 
In this period of social distancing and isolation, there is great concern across the community, that the already high levels of poor mental health experienced across  Derry-Londonderry is increasing exponentially. By sending out parcels in the post, the network wanted to ensure that women received a tangible reminder of their importance not only to their organisation but  to each other and to the community.  
And certainly, the response from recipients was overwhelming:

Recipient  Angela O'Donnell said , "I never thought receiving a parcel could bring so much joy, I was like a child at Christmas."

"I want to thank you very much for my lovely gift box," said Louise Lafferty. "This brightened me up so much."

So too for Gwen Millar, who requested a box for her mother who is currently socially isolating: "She was so happy to receive her wee gift... She felt special and cared about by yourselves."  

In addition, thanks to The Halifax Foundation for Northern Ireland, Foyle Women's Information Network have curated a daily online events series accessible to all via their Facebook page. Classes and activities on offer range from crafts to cookery as well as live music and mental health strategies to help keep women, in both rural and urban communities connected, to help develop their skills and maximise their input to social, educational and political development within local areas as well as at a strategic level within Northern Ireland. 
Foyle Women’s Information Network (FWIN) are a charitable organisation based in Derry/Londonderry. FWIN was formed in 1994. 
For more information, please contact  FWIN Co-ordinator , Catherine Cooke, via email: [email protected].   

The opinions, views or comments in this article do not necessarily reflect any views or policies of NICVA.'s picture
by Kathy Maguire

Policy Development Officer

[email protected]

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