Sector News

Advertisement for Stakeholder engagement sessions for main programme FSA...
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Department provides Budget Clarification
Read more here: Department provides Budget Clarification

Consultation on Proposals for the Provision of Strategic Support to the Voluntary and Community Sector in Northern Ireland 2017-2021


This consultation details proposed new arrangements for the provision of strategic support to the voluntary and community sector (VCS) in Northern Ireland for the period 2017 – 2021. This public consultation invites and welcomes comments in particular about: a) A proposed new vision for the provision of strategic support to the VCS; b) A series of high level desired outcomes; and (c) Key priorities and proposals geared to support the achievement of the desired outcomes (subject to the availability of funding). For more info and to respond online 
click here.  

Draft PfG Framework – 2016-21 Consultation Summary Analysis

The comments received during the consultation process have now been analysed and a Consultation Report has been produced. This is available to view on the NI Executive website from this link – 
PfG Consultation Report.

Greenway Women’s Centre Education Programme for September 2016

Enrolment will start on Tuesday 30th August 2016 at 9.30am. All students must register in person (Open to everyone). For more info click hereGreenway Programme

Fundraising Regulation for Northern Ireland

An overview of the
background to fundraising regulation and the advantages and disadvantages of different models of fundraising self-regulation for Northern Ireland. Read more.

Have Your Say Belfast Survey 

People living in Belfast are invited to share their ideas about emotional health and wellbeing by completing a Belfast Strategic Partnership (BSP) survey arriving in every home throughout the city in July. http://www.haveyoursaybelfast.com/

Department Budgets

The DSD 16/17 budget breakdown presentation is available here. Justice, DCAL and DAERA (DARD and DOE) budget presentations available via the following links: DOJ BudgetDAERA BudgetDCAL Budget

Sector Forecast Survey Preliminary Findings Released

Earlier this year NICVA launched their Sector Forecast Survey which explored organisations outlook for 2016. Findings from the Survey will be released as part of NICVA's State of the Sector launch in July 2016. In the meantime, some preliminary findings from the Survey are available on their website.

Parenting NI Survey

The Northern Ireland (NI) Executive is working towards developing the next strategy for Children and Young People (CYP) which will outline key issues for all children and young people in NI with actions set out for how government intends to address these. It is an overarching strategy for children and young people in NI with the vision for all CYP to have a better quality of life. As well as this the new Families Matter strategy is also being reviewed and this sets out the vision for improving support and services for parents, families and children. We are sure that parents will have lots of ideas on these issues, and so we invite you to take part in Parenting NI's short online survey. 

Causeway Coast and Glens Community Planning Strategic Partnership

Did you miss the Community Planning Public Engagement Meeting in your area? HAVE YOUR SAY shaping the future for Causeway Coast and Glens. Please take a few minutes to complete the Community Planning Survey.

Human Rights and the EU Referendum


The Human Rights Consortium felt that human rights issues have largely been ignored in the EU referendum debate. With just two weeks to go until we get to decide to stay or go, they decided to put together a Q&A style Briefing Note on the EU Referendum and Human Rights which is available 
here, along with some other useful links and information which can be accessed here. 

The Fresh Start Panel Report on the Disbandment of Paramilitary Groups in Northern Ireland

In December 2015 the members of the Panel, were appointed by the Northern Ireland Executive to produce a report by the end of May 2016 with “recommendations for a strategy to disband paramilitary groups”. This task flowed from the Fresh Start agreement which included commitments to help bring about an end to “paramilitary activity”. Read the report here: 
Fresh Start Panel Report

Northern Ireland Childcare Cost Survey 2016

Whether you are a parent that looks after your children yourself, uses childminders, day nurseries, afterschool clubs, grandparents, siblings or a mix of all of the above. Employers For Childcare Charitable Group wants to hear your views! The results will be used to campaign for better support for parents at a Government level. On completing the survey in full you will be entered into a draw to win an overnight stay at Galgorm Resort and Spa for a family of four. It should take around 7 minutes to complete the survey. Please note that your individual response will remain anonymous. To complete the survey click here.

Threat to the Human Rights Act still on the agenda

In a response to the Queen’s Speech the Human Rights Consortium has said that it is extremely concerned that proposals for a British Bill of Rights are still a serious consideration for the UK Government despite the clear indications that such a proposal would mean removing existing protections in the Human Rights Act (HRA) from legislation. Director of the Human Rights Consortium Kevin Hanratty said, “The Consortium believes that there is a fundamental lack of understanding within the Conservative Government that the Human Rights Act forms a central part of the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement (B/GFA)." The full Consortium Press Release responding to the Queen’s Speech can be 
downloaded here.

Community Planning in Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough

Are you interested in shaping the community plan in Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough? The community planning process will be progressed through the establishment of 7 individual themed working groups. These workings groups are specifically to progress the development of the plan, are time bound (3-4months) and are not indicative of final priorities or structures. For more information click here: Community Planning Document

Press Release by Amnesty International NI

Northern Ireland: Amnesty tentative welcome for moves to change law on abortion and marriage equality. 
Click here to read more.

CDSA release Manifesto for 2016-2020

This Manifesto sets out measures on a number of important issues that, with political will, can be taken forward over the next Assembly term to deliver real change for children with disabilities and their families
Click here to read the manifesto.

Human Rights Consortium Website Launched

We are delighted to announce that the Human Rights Consortium's new website has NOW gone live.The website can be visited 
here. This will be the main online point of reference for information about the Consortium and its work. Containing overviews of each area of HRC work, events, news items, staff information, contact details, options on how to get involved with the HRC work or become a member.

Windsor Women's Centre Recruiting

WWC are currently recruiting for a 30 hours pw childcare assistant. Fixed term contract to 31/03/17 subject to funding may be extended. See Job Advert. Closing date Monday 16th May.

There's no such thing as too many cooks...


Get into Cooking returns to Belfast at one of the top-ranked restaurants in the city, the Mourne Seafood Bar. It will kick off with a taster session on 16 May and the programme will run from 23 May to 17 June 2016. Click here for more information.

Review of the Strategy for Victims and Survivors 2009-19

 As part of the Review the Commission would like to hear from you. You can share your views through the completion of an online survey which should take no longer than 15 minutes to complete and can be accessed 
here.The closing date for completing the Survey is Monday 30 May 2016 at 4pm.

Employers for Childcare Chariatble Group Prepare for #AE16

In this final week canvassers will be out and about in your area knocking doors. Employers For Childcare have put together their own manifesto for the elections. The manifesto contains their key asks of the new Assembly on behalf of parents. 
Click here for more information.

Job Opportunities at LORAG

LORAG (Lower Ormeau Resident’s Action Group) is a ‘needs led’, community development organisation, founded in 1987 to support the residents and community of the Lower Ormeau area of South Belfast. They are currently recruiting for a number of posts:
LORAG Job OpportunitiesDeadlines for applications 27th April.

Women’s pensions held back by male breadwinner model 

Fawcett publish new research report Closing the Pensions Gap: Understanding Women’s Attitudes to Pensions Saving, examining why women save less than men. It reveals that women in their twenties and thirties are under saving for their pensions and may be at risk of poverty in retirement, because they put their own needs last and take full responsibility for childcare costs. For more information and to read the full report: click here.

Love Equality NI

The Campaign for Marriage Equality has just launched a brand new website Loveequalityni.org. You can support the campaign by emailing your election candidates and you will also find lots of resources online as well. Click here for the website.

Youthnet LGBT Survey

Youthnet are trying to update the stats found in the 2003 Shout Report. It’s been over 10 years now since this report and they’d like to see if things are improving for LGB&T young people. Please encourage all the LGB&T young people that you work with to fill in this survey so that we can compare results. 
Click here to complete the survey

NICMA recruiting Assistant Director

NICMA – the Childminding Association is a charity and membership organisation which works regionally to promote quality home based childcare.For a recruitment pack please contact Valerie Earney valerie.earney@nicma.org. Closing date for applications: Wednesday 27 April 2016 at 2.00pm

WISPA recruiting Project Development Coach

The Project Development Coach will be responsible for the co-ordination, design and delivery of a range of physical activity programmes to women aged 16 yrs. and over. Programmes will be delivered in community settings across Belfast. For more information click here. 

Voting in #AE16

Information on how to vote and secondly why vote. Information sourced from aboutmyvote.co.uk. Read the full story here.

FALNI Manifesto

FALNI are calling on government to work with educational providers from across the sectors to build a culture of learning that embraces all citizens and their whole-life needs. To read the full story and their manifesto 
click here.

Django Girls Belfast Workshop


A FREE day of training in programming aimed at women, coming up in Belfast city centre in June. 
Click here for more information.

Women's Fund NI

The Women’s Fund aims to support women to overcome barriers preventing them from fulfilling their potential. By providing small grants to grass-roots organisations and bursaries to individuals. Read more. 

Belfast PEACE IV Plan Consultation


A draft local action plan (Belfast PEACE IV Plan) has been developed. BCC would like your views on the aims and objectives of this draft plan. Read more.

Amendments to Abortion in Northern Ireland

On Wednesday 10th February 2016, amendments to abortion law are due to be debated and voted on at the Northern Ireland Assembly. Read more.

Excitement is Brewing for #IWDNI16
02/02/2016International Women's Day is fast approaching. Catch up on how the festivities will unfold this year. Read More.

Invitation to tender: Health and Social Care Inequalities in Northern Ireland


The Equality Commission for Northern Ireland is working towards an update of its 2007 ‘Statement on Key Inequalities in Northern Ireland’. To inform the development of this revised statement, the Commission is seeking to contract research on current health and social care inequalities in NI, giving consideration to physical and mental health and well-being and access to health and social care provisions, which may affect relevant Section 75 (Section 75: Information Session) groups across the nine equality grounds. Full details and terms of reference are available on the Equality Commission website. The deadline for tender submissions is 12noon on Friday 12 February 2016.

Alliance for Choice stand up for #notacriminal

A second woman has been arrested and charge with accessing and administering abortion pills, Mifepristine and Misoprostal. Alliance for Choice, and their allies, condemn the criminalisation of women, and anyone who can become pregnant, for accessing reproductive healthcare. Read More.

5 Things Parents Need to Watch Out For in 2016

It’s hard to believe we are almost at the end of 2015, next year brings with it a series of changes and new policies. Below is a list of 5 things parents should watch out for in 2016 provided by Employers for Childcare Charitable Group…Read More

Equality Commission Publish Three Year Plan For Consultation 


Equality Commissions corporate plan for the next three years has been published online and is now out for 12 weeks’ consultation. Stakeholders are encouraged to share their views. Full story available here.

Barnardo’s Project Worker/Community Engagement Worker


UK Children’s Charity Barnardo’s are recruiting for a Project Worker/Community Engagement Worker, to be based within the Ards and North Down Council Area. The post will be 22.2 hours per week, salary £17,772 - £22,966 p.a. Closing date is 12 noon on Wednesday 11th November 2015. Full details here.

Sign petition to support WASPI Campaign


Support the Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI) Campaign, and make fair transitional state pension arrangements for 1950’s women by signing this petition. “The Government must make fair transitional arrangements for all women born on or after 6th April 1951 who have unfairly borne the burden of the increase to the State Pension Age (SPA). Hundreds of thousands of women have had significant changes imposed on them with a lack of appropriate notification.”

Attend Nolan/RTE Joint Live Show


Nolan and RTE will be doing a joint live show with audiences in both Belfast and Dublin, and are looking to get a good cross sectional audience. They have commissioned research on range of social issues that affect those living both North & South, such as: same sex marriage; abortion; government; united policies; voting trends and political parties. If you are interested in attending then contact Conal at 028 9033 8516 or email him with your contact number at nolanlive@bbc.co.uk.

HERe NI Family Story Corner


HERe NI's Story Corner is an opportunity for parents and children to visit the HERe NI Centre and enjoy their new range of books on same sex families, suitable for a variety of ages. Other age appropriate books are also available. There is a cosy seating area with soft furnishings for a relaxing story time for you and your child. Please call the HERe NI office on
028 9024 9452 to make sure the space is free.

Sexual Orientation Awareness Training

HERe NI delivers FREE Sexual Orientation Awareness training sessions for Community, Voluntary and Statutory service providers and policy makers. Key aspects of the training are: Understanding same sex attraction and use of appropriate terminology; Key health inequalities experienced by people who are same sex attracted; Forms of homophobia and heterosexism; Barriers to accessing mainstream statutory/community/voluntary services Mental and Sexual Health Outcomes for people who are LGB, and more. To book a training session please contact Tracey McDowell on 028 9024 9452 or email tracey.mcdowell@hereni.org.

Outitude: a documentary about the Irish lesbian community


Outitude is a documentary in progress, exploring the Irish lesbian community grassroot activism, collectives, community, academia, and politics from 1970s to the present day. Director Sonya Mulligan and Producer Ger Moane believe it is vitally important to document the country’s lesbian “herstory”, and that after the successful referendum now is the time to do it. While the team is Dublin based, the project is National and they want to focus on as much of the country as possible. If you wish to be part of making this documentary, show your support and donate here.

World Health Organization Belfast Healthy City Awards 2015


Does your organisation work towards improving the health and wellbeing of the people of Belfast? The World Health Organization (WHO) Belfast Healthy City Awards 2015 will recognise excellence in improving the health and wellbeing of the people of Belfast. This is a significant opportunity for your organisation to gain recognition for its hard work. There are four award categories, Promoting Health Equity; Healthy Places; Healthy Living and a new category for this year, Engaging for Change. This category is particularly aimed at projects that work directly with people to empower them to improve their own health and wellbeing. The awards are open until Wednesday 21st October. Further information and an application pack is available here.

Women’s Aid NI Recruiting


Women’s Aid Federation Northern Ireland is currently recruiting for the post of Chief Executive Officer. Details of the post and of how to apply, along with the recruitment pack, can be found at the website
here. Please feel free to pass this on to anyone who may be interested.


UN Release Report: Global Study on the Implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325


The report 'reinforces the Security Council’s original crucial recognition of the power of engaging women in peace with compelling proof. It shows that women’s participation and inclusion makes humanitarian assistance more effective, strengthens the protection efforts of our peacekeepers, contributes to the conclusion of peace talks and the achievement of sustainable peace, accelerates economic recovery, and helps counter violent extremism.' The report relies on research by TJI members Prof Fionnuala Ní Aoláin, Dr Catherine O'Rourke, TJI visiting scholars Karen McMinn and Dr Aisling Swaine, TJI external Board member (and Political Settlements partner) Prof Christine Bell. The paper also relies on the work of Political Settlements partners Megan Bastick, Faiza Jama and Eleanor O'Gorman. View the report here.

Alliance for Choice Fundraising


Alliance for Choice are fundraising for some ramped up campaigning in the coming year - they have a page on Local Giving here. From 10am next Tuesday 13th of October, they will double every donation made through Localgiving by up to £10. As well as doubling one-time donations, they'll also match new monthly Direct Debit donations by up to £10 for 3 months. With Gift Aid, Alliance for Choice would receive the following: One-time donation of £10 = £21.67. Monthly donation of £10 = £21.77 per month (for 3 months, £11.77 thereafter).

Build Your Career in the Third Sector


Applications are now invited for the final cohort for the practically oriented management and leadership programme for the Third sector which leads to the Ulster University Advanced Diploma in Sustainable Investment. The programme is scheduled to start at the end of January 2016. Anyone interested should complete the online expression of interest form on the programme website or contact Janette Sheerman on 077 1824 8921 or ja.sheerman@ulster.ac.uk for further info. You can view the promotional leaflet here.

Abortion Support Network seeking volunteers


The largely volunteer-led organisation Abortion Support Network is seeking dedicated volunteers to help them provide support to women across Ireland and NI in need of an abortion. Outreach, fundraising and communications & marketing roles would be particularly welcomed. Full details available here. To learn more about ASN, feel free to visit their website, or take a look at their recently released Annual Report here.

New Windsor Women’s Centre courses for October


A number of new courses will be running in Windsor Women’s Centre this autumn, including Ceramic Jewellery Making, Therapeutic Art and Reading Rooms. For full details, view the poster here or contact Windsor WC on 028 9023 5451.

Rural Development Minsiter launches NIRWN Rural Women's Manifesto


Rural Development Minister Michelle O’Neill has launched NI Rural Women’s Network (NIRWN) Manifesto for Rural Women. The Manifesto for Rural Women was designed by women, for women to ensure rural women’s voices are heard. It contains all the information rural women need to challenge decision makers and demand more on pertinent everyday issues affecting rural women, such as; caring responsibilities, transport, rural development, education and training, poverty and the economy and social isolation, health and wellbeing. Speaking at the launch event, Rural Development Minister Michelle O’Neill said: “As Minister for Rural Development I warmly welcome the launch of NIRWN’s Rural Women’s Manifesto and commend the organisation for its hard work in undertaking the significant research necessary for developing this valuable document.” For a copy of the Manifesto please click here.
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Greenway Women’s Centre recruiting Finance Officer


Greenway Women’s Centre are recruiting for a Finance Officer to ensure all Finance & Admin Procedures are fit for purpose and kept updated in accordance with all legal & funder’s requirements. Applicants must also have a commitment to, and an understanding of the ethos of Greenway Women’s Centre. Click here for full details, and for an application pack please email manager@greenwaywomenscentre.org or call Lindsay Cooper, Centre Manager on 028 9079 9912. Recruitment closes on Wednesday 30th September 2015.

Minister for Education launches “Sharing Works: A Policy for Shared Education”


The Sharing Works: A Policy for Shared Education document sets out the rationale, vision and objectives for Shared Education. It also explains what the policy proposals mean for those who support, govern, inspect, lead and work in educational establishments within the remit of the Department of Education. A copy of the policy is available via the website.

Little Hands recruiting Family Support Officer (Maternity Cover)


Little Hands SureStart are recruiting for a Family Support Officer (Maternity Cover) to help them deliver their support programmes. The role of the Family Support Officer will be to assist the Family Team Leader in the development and delivery of a range of centre based and outreach family support services for families and children. The position will be 35hrs per week with a salary of £19,158 per annum. For further information including a job description and person specification, please email secretary@littlehandssurestart.co.uk or telephone 028 7126 7524/028 7136 7524 for a recruitment pack. The closing date for receipt of applications is 12 noon on Tuesday 29th September 2015.

Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council Equality consultations


Suzanne Irwin, Rural Development Programme Manager, is in the process of carrying out research and consultation for the Interim Rural Development Strategy for the Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council area. She is seeking the views of the groups in the area to gather their knowledge of the rural issues and opportunities in the Borough, and has released this survey with some questions and background on the Rural Development Programme. If you would like to be a part of this process, please complete and return the survey to Suzanne at Suzanne.Irwin@causewaycoastandglens.gov.uk by Friday 24th September 2015. If you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact her.

Review of regional support to voluntary and community organisations


The Department for Social Development (DSD) is keen to involve the Voluntary and Community Sector in a partnership approach to the review of regional support arrangements to the Sector. A co-design approach will be utilised to afford the Sector an appropriate opportunity to be directly involved and contribute to the development of arrangements. A series of Co-design Workshops have been arranged across Northern Ireland. All details of dates, registration and the review itself can be found here.

Places left for Windsor WC Training


Windsor Women's Centre still have places available for their Level 2 Certificate in Counselling studies and Level 3 in Indian Head Massage. Please contact the centre on 9023 5451 for more information - alternatively you can email Kathy.Maguire@windsorwomenscentre.com or contact them on their facebook page.

NI Calais Refugee Solidarity Collection


The Social Enterprise Hub at the Grove Shopping Centre Downpatrick are asking for donations for the Calais Refugee Solidarity Collection. They are appealing for the following donations: tents, especially 4 man plus; heavy duty rubbish bags; blankets and sleeping bags; mens warm winter clothes in small in medium sizes; mens runners and walking shoes; candles and torches; toothpaste/brushes, soap etc; tissues; bikes and bike tools; medicines and first aid supplies. The hub is open open Tues, Wed and Thurs, 10am-4pm.

Donate supplies for refugee crisis


Whiterock Children's Centre - 91 Whiterock Road, 028 9043 8438 - are accepting supplies for the refugee crisis from Monday 7th - Friday 11th September. The centre is open from 9am-5pm, and would welcome the following items for women and children: clothing, hygiene products, games, books and pencils etc. For further info please visit their facebook page.

Donate unwanted money to Age NI


If you have foreign currency, or out of circulation coins or notes, don't let it gather dust - donate it to Age NI and they’ll turn it into much needed cash to help us support older people in Northern Ireland. Drop your unwanted notes and coins into one of their Age NI Stores, Age NI Day Centres, a Danske Bank branch, or post them to: FREEPOST RRTU-HSZY-LTHZ, Age NI, 3 Lower Crescent Belfast, BT7 1NR. Read more about the appeal here.

PHA launches public consultation on Lifeline service


Today the Public Health Agency is launching a 12-week public consultation on the future of the Lifeline crisis intervention service, which will run until Thursday 19th November 2015. The current Lifeline contract has the potential of a further extension to 30 September 2016, and PHA is keen to engage with the public and relevant stakeholders to ensure that the future service specification is appropriately informed. Please visit their website for full details.

Shankill Women's Centre recruiting tutors


Shankill Women’s Centre recruiting tutors Shankill Women’s Centre is recruiting for tutors to deliver the following classes:GCSE English, GCSE Maths, GCSE Sociology, Certificate in Basic Counselling Skills, Level 1 Health & Social Care. If anyone is interested in delivering any of these course please email robertag@shankillwomenscentre.org.

Equality Commission Training Available


If your organisation has paid staff, as opposed to volunteers, it’s subject to the same anti-discrimination laws as all other employers, regardless of size, in NI. The Equality Commission offer a wide range of free and expert training to help keep you on the right side of equality law, from a basic introduction to more specialised courses. The courses are in a choice of venues – Belfast, Ballymena, Derry and Craigavon. Details of all the sessions, from September 2015 to January 2016, are on the website. You can book by phone at 028 9050 0560, by email to edtraining@equalityni.org or online. Attendance at all courses can be used towards Continuing Professional Development (CPD).

Women Against State Pension Inequality


Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI) is an action group campaigning against the unfair changes to the State Pension Age imposed on women born in the 1950's. The group was formed by five women who are being personally affected by the changes and wanted to do something to address this injustice. Having signed Anne Keen’s petition “Reverse the State Pension Law” they established regular contact with each other in April this year sprang into action prior to the General Election - attending local election debates, taking part in radio interviews, writing and meeting their MPs, contacting newspapers, posting on Social Media and more.

Having raised £6,000 via Crowdjustice, they are in the process of establishing whether they have a legal case to challenge the Government in respect of little or no notification of the changes to the SPA in 1995 and 2011. WASPI have had support from many fellow campaigners, if you or your organisation would like to help, simply send them a private message on their facebook page.

OFMDFM Draft Childcare Strategy consultation events


Junior Ministers Michelle McIlveen and Jennifer McCann launched the Executive’s draft Childcare Strategy for public consultation on the 28th July 2015. The consultation period will run for 16 weeks and will close on Friday 13 November 2015. OFMDFM are holding a number of consultation events on the draft Strategy throughout Northern Ireland and details of these events, including how to register your attendance can be found on the flyer. An electronic version of the consultation document and questionnaire are available on the OFMDFM Childcare Strategy website here.

Shankill Women's Centre recruiting Childcare Manager


Shankill Women’s Centre are currently recruiting a full-time manager for their Small Wonders Childcare Dept. The hours are 37.5 per week, with a salary of £30,000 pa. They are looking for a minimum of NVQ Childcare Level 3, 3 years’ experience of managing staff and a commitment to completing a Level 5 Diploma in Leadership for Children’s Care, Learning and Development. The closing date for applications is Friday 3rd September at 12 noon, and interviews will begin on Wednesday 16th September. For further information, please contact Elaine on 028 9024 0642.

UN Women Guidebook on Women, Peace & Security


The Transitional Justice Institute released this statement on their facebook today: “Visiting Scholar Aisling Swaine (GWU) and Catherine O'Rourke have authored the UN Women 'Guidebook on CEDAW general recommendation no. 30 and the UN Security Council resolutions on women, peace and security'” Take a look at the guidebook here.

NI Assembly Education Service Ineractive


The NI Assembly website offers an interactive guide, which aims to support young people’s understanding of the Northern Ireland Assembly and democracy. The guide ranges from Primary level to 16 + and encourages young people to “Find out why we have an Assembly, try making your own law, experience life as an MLA and how it all links together with the Northern Ireland Curriculum.” Visit the website here.

Women's Self Injury Helpline


Self Injury Support are offering emotional support, listening & signposting for women affected by self injury via their helpline, which is available Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday evenings from 7 -10pm and Thursday afternoons from 3 - 6pm. They are an independent, confidential and anonymous service, run by women for women and anyone who identifies as a woman. To use the helpline just call 0808 800 8088 (free from landlines and mobiles) or to find out more visit their website.

Petition to support those prosecuted for use of abortion medication


Alliance for Choice and Voice for Choice are currently circulating a petition calling on the authorities to drop all charges against a mother who provided her daughter with abortion medication. She is being charged under the 1811 Offences Against the Person act, and if found guilty she could be imprisoned for up to five years. Please sign the petition here to add your voice to those demanding an end to the prosecution of all who use these pills or help women to access them. Alliance for Choice have recently been named Champions of Choice by the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS). Sarah Wright of AFC penned an article on her role in this campaign, and her experiences as a pro-choice activist here.

Cancer Focus NI seeking help for unique bra fitting service


Cancer Focus NI are looking for volunteers to help out with their specialist Bra Fitting Service. This is a sensitive support role providing ladies who have had breast surgery with a confidential, one to one bra and swimwear fitting service. You don’t need any specific qualifications for this role however you must be reliable, responsible and able to use your initiative and sensitive to the needs of others. Full support will be provided by Cancer Focus NI, together with any necessary training required to help you fulfil this role. Volunteers should be over 25 and female. To register for this role or find out more about any aspect of volunteering contact Morag Chambers, Volunteer Co-Ordinator on 028 9066 3281 or email moragchambers@cancerfocusni.org

NI Police Board Board publishes updated reports on LGB and Transgender human rights recommendations


Following the publication in 2012 of the Human Rights Thematic Review on the policing with and for people who identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual (LGB) and/or Transgender, the Policing Board has now published two reports on how the 18 recommendations made by the Review are being implemented by the PSNI. The review looked at how the PSNI engage with LBG and Transgender individuals across a range of circumstances - as members of the public generally; as victims of crime; as suspects; and as employees or potential employees. For further information, please contact the Northern Ireland Policing Board’s Communications Office on 078 0173 8795. To view the update report on LGB people click here and the for update report on Transgender people click here.

Survey: Young People’s Experience of Sexual Education in NI


Trademark have a placement student who is carrying out research on young people’s experience of relationship and sex education in NI. Please pass this survey on to any young people aged 16-21, it should only take 10m to complete.

Alliance for Choice seek signatures for support letter


Alliance for Choice are offering solidarity to a Belfast woman accused of procuring a poison for her daughter’s medical abortion. They have drawn together a letter naming themselves as willing participants in procuring these medicines for women and girls who need them, and outlining the injustices of denying women their right to safe, free and legal healthcare. Please contact Emma on 078 9406 3965 or via campbell.emma@gmail.com to find out more add your name to the letter.

PHA Launch Sexual Health Campaign


A new sexual health campaign ‘Choose to protect yourself – always use a condom’ was launched y the Public Health Agency on Wednesday 17th June 2015. The campaign will run until Thursday 31st December 2015 and aims to promote good sexual health and contribute to reducing sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in Northern Ireland. It will include mass media advertising and will be supported by public relations and social media activity as well as a new website www.sexualhealthni.info. Further details of the campaign are available here.

Women's Regional Consortium Facebook


The Women's Regional Consortium has just set up a facebook page to further promote their work and engage with women from disadvantaged and rural areas across NI. The page is currently under construction - feel free to like and share by following this

DOJ Human Trafficking Strategy

The Department of Justice is seeking views on a draft Northern Ireland Human Trafficking and Exploitation Strategy for 2015/16. The draft strategy they are consulting on has been developed by the Department after extensive engagement with both civil society partners on the DOJ’s Human Trafficking Engagement Group and statutory partners on the Organised Crime Task Force’s (OCTF) Immigration and Human Trafficking Subgroup. The purpose of the draft strategy is to raise awareness of human trafficking and slavery-like offences in Northern Ireland and to contribute to a reduction in the number of such offences. Further information and relevant documents are available here.

Bright Start Grant Scheme


The Bright Start Scheme has been introduced by the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister (OFMDFM) as part of the development of a new Childcare Strategy for Northern Ireland. The grant scheme is being rolled out on a phased basis. Round 1 is currently underway, Round 2 has already been allocated and is about to get underway and Round 3 is now at the promotional event stage. The promotional events will take place throughout the Region to inform prospective interested parties on how to access Round 3 Funding. For more information on the promotional events i.e. venue, dates, times and also how to book a place click here and for some more information on the grant scheme click here.

EU Ombudsman responds to Lobbyist Submission


The European Ombudsman's investigation into the European Commission’s delivery of Structural Investment Funds, including ESF, has been published. The Women’s Sector Lobbyist’s submission has been included and women are mentioned a number of times. Ombudsman Emily O'Reilly explained: "Among the fundamental rights issues I was alerted to during this inquiry were…higher barriers to women's associations' access to funds. I trust that the Commission will take my proposals on board at this early stage of the 2014-2020 funding period." The response acknowledges the complaints received concerning national authorities using EU funds in violation of fundamental rights, and a job creation programme that clearly discriminated against women. The full list of proposals are available here.

Help UN Women protect Nepalese Women & Girls


UN Women UK National Committee is seeking support for Nepalese women and girls, as the country reels from the effects of the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that struck last Saturday. UN Women’s focus is to support Nepal and its women and girls to cope with the impacts of the earthquake and to remain safe, by helping to co-ordinate protection and then expanding their focus to other areas such as shelter, food security, water, sanitation and hygiene as more technical capacity arrives. Their Nepal country office is helping with essential support by supplying “dignity kits” that contain the basic necessities that displaced women and girls require. You can help by making a donation via UN Women UK’s Nepal Earthquake appeal page. Real time updates on the situation are available here.

Village SOS - could you organisation benefit from support?


Rural Community Network (RCN) is one of eight UK partner organisations working together to deliver Village SOS, a campaign that aims to help and inspire rural communities across the region to start or develop projects and/or social enterprises by providing mentoring and practical support across a wide range of areas. RCN will coordinate all Village SOS activity in Northern Ireland, and they welcome the opportunity to support your organisation in some way through this campaign. To find out any further information about Village SOS please contact Fergal O’Donnell on 028 8676 6670 or email fergal@ruralcommunitynetwork.org.

IUN Women UK National Committee Survey


The Department for International Development (DFID), along with UN Women UK are running a survey to find out more about who is interested in gender equality and the empowerment of women, and how they would like to support this work. They would be grateful if their short survey could be completed by as many people as possible. To add your voice, please click here.

Equality Coalition Release Complaint Template


The Equality Coalition have developed a template to help those who want to make a complaint under the equality scheme. They are taking a zero tolerance approach to any lack of consultation, equality screening, or equality impact assessment by Government Departments and other public authorities. If you think a policy decision has been made without adequate equality proofing they would urge you to complain too. The paragraphs must be checked as some public authorities do charge the numbers of the chapters.
The templates for making an equality scheme complaint can be found here. For more info, please contact Emma Patterson-Bennett at equalitycoalition@caj.org.uk

Integrated Education Petition

A UNIT (Understanding NI Together) petition is circulating calling on OFMDFM to prioritise integrated education for all NI children. The Good Friday Agreement is 17 years old this year, yet many pupils born in 1998 have passed through their educational journey still as segregated pupils, despite promises to “facilitate and encourage integrated education” as laid out in the agreement. The petition calls for concrete evidence of real commitment to this issue from the assembly. Add your signature here.

NICVA #CutsWatchNI Survey Update


NICVA have been collecting data on the impacts of cuts to the community and voluntary sector by asking organisations what the impact will be on their funding streams, jobs and ultimately the members of the community who will suffer from a withdrawal of important and vital services. The information that they've  been collecting through their survey is not yet complete, but they will keep it updated as the responses roll in. Take a look here.

Health Minister Launches New Online Mental Health Services Tool

Health Minister Jim Wells has launched a new online service that provides easier access to information about mental health services across NI. The new service will provide mental health service users, their carers and health professionals with information on referral criteria and the range of services available from both statutory and voluntary & community mental health organisations. The Mental Health Services Finder was developed by DHSSPS, in partnership with the HSCB and nidirect. It is intended that this new online tool will be the first in a series of improvements to the way information about the health service is accessed. The new Mental Health Services Finder tool can be accessed online.

LGBTQ Issues & the Political Parties


A publication has been released by Ruth McCarthy with responses from the 2015 standing political parties on their LGBTQ policies and active records in terms of equality. It covers issues specific to LGBTQ women and can act as a companion to the Women's Manifesto. The publication is available here and can be passed on as a lobbying tool.

Women Wear Yellow

To mark the #CUT IT OUT campaign and celebrate women's hard work and contribution to society, women and girls will be wearing something yellow on Saturday 2nd May for the May Day Rally in Belfast. Whether you’re attending the rally or not, please consider wearing yellow that day and taking and sharing pictures of yourself with the #cutitout hashtag. This picture is available to use on social media, to print out, to display in cars, homes or at the rally itself. The idea is to create a big, bright yellow presence at the rally to show that women are many and deserve to be valued.

Petition Calling for new RSE Guidelines in NI schools


A petition is circulating, calling on the Minister for Education John O’Dowd to issue new guidelines to all schools in NI on the provision of Relationship and Sexuality Education (RSE). These include RSE not being administered by anti-choice groups, the inclusion of pro-choice and LGBTQ+ rights speakers at events, age-appropriate RSE education from primary level, and free and accessible contraception. Please sign the petition here to show your support.

DOJ Abortion Consultation update

Justice Minister David Ford has announced that there is substantial support for limited changes to abortion laws. He has no intention of pursuing abortion laws when a sexual crime has taken place and also said that he would be seeking a conscience clause to be added when he proposes this to the executive. Read more of the official DOJ response here. Check back for more updates on women’s responses to this decision. 
Leadership programme launched to support women in politics

An innovative leadership programme was launched on 16th April 2015 at Parliament Buildings. It aims to support current female elected representatives and to encourage more women to enter political life. The ‘Women in Politics’ Leadership programme, developed by Politics Plus and designed with input from female elected representatives, was launched by Minister Michelle O’Neill MLA. Find out more about the programme here.

#CUTITOUT campaign

Women’s Sector Lobbyist Orlaith Hendron has put out a call to all women affected by the recent funding cuts. She urges them to use twitter and make their voices heard by writing a short line on how the cuts have affected them, their colleagues, families and communities with the hashtag #cutitout. The hashtag is already proving popular, and Orlaith encourages women to get online and add their stories to the movement so that women’s experiences cannot be ignored.

Women's Sector featured in article on funding cuts

WRDA Director Anne McVicker and WOMEN’STEC’s Lynn Carvill recently contributed to a Women’s Views on News article on how the funding cuts will affect the women’s sector. Read the article here

"A Fair Deal for Women" campaign launches

The ‘A Fair Deal for Women’ campaign has been launched in anticipation of the General Election to influence politicians. It’s made up of a coalition of 11 women’s organisations led by the Women’s Resource Centre in London. To read their 7 asks of the government and add your voice to the campaign, please visit the website.

Women's Sector Lobbyist responds to funding cuts in press release

Women’s Sector Lobbyist Orlaith Hendron put out a press release on Thursday 2nd April 2015, outlining the impact the recent spate of funding cuts will have on women. Take a look here

Women's Sector Lobbyist responds to weak Women in Politics report

Women’s Sector Lobbyist Orlaith Hendron recently put out a press release responding to the NI Assembly Executive Review Committee’s appalling report on women in politics. To the disappointment of the women’s sector and those who provided stakeholder evidence, the report will likely have very little effect due to the weak and indirect language used. As Orlaith says in her article, this basically indicates that diversity awareness and female representation are optional, as opposed to mandatory standards which are vital for the progression of NI’s political system. You can find the whole release on the Business First Online blog.

STEM motion addressing gender imbalance passed in NI Assembly

The following motion was debated and passed in the Assembly on 24th March: 

“That this Assembly expresses concern that men outnumber women by nearly three to one in high-level science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) posts; welcomes the statement by the Minister for Employment and Learning on 4 June 2013 reiterating the importance of women in the STEM sectors; and calls on the Minister for Employment and Learning, in conjunction with his Executive colleagues, to publish a strategy and action plan that addresses specifically the issue of gender imbalance in the STEM sectors.”

The work of the STEM Business Subgroup, including the gender report and STEM Charter, was also highlighted. Read the full debate here.

Fundraising for the Abortion Support Network

The Abortion Support Network has been supporting women in need of financial aid for abortions for over five years. When the network started they often had no choice but to turn women down due to lack of funding, but these days their situation is much improved. Thanks to the donations of their supporters they have not had to turn a woman away since 2012, and were able to help 51 women last month. If you or anyone you know would like to donate and help them reach their £2,500 a month goal please visit the donation page here.

Training discount for IWD

In the spirit of International Women's Day, VIEWdigital is offering WRDA members and other women’s organisations a 15% discount on its training opportunities during March. This discount can be applied to a TV and Radio Interview workshop led by former BBC editor Angelina Fusco on 24th March or a one-day Digital Publishing - Magazines & Newsletters workshop on 31st March. Both would usually cost £199 per person. Full details are available from the VIEWdigital website

Spotlight audience special

BBC Northern Ireland's current affairs programme, "Spotlight" will be recording an audience special, presented by Noel Thompson, in Blackstaff Studios, Belfast on Tuesday March 24th 2015. This will give members of the public of all ages a chance to ask questions of a panel including politicians and commentators. Grassroots people who have an opinion on issues affecting their community are, in particular, encouraged to attend. It's a busy night for the audience: people should arrive promptly between 6.30 and 6.45pm. Filming then begins at 8.15pm. If you would like more details about the programme, please e-mail spotlightspecial@bbc.co.uk or ring 0845 300 30 80 or 078 6491 0147.

IWD 2015 programme out now!

The NI festival programme for International Women's Day 2015 is available now, featuring more than fifty great events. You can download a copy via this link. Information on local IWD events is also available on Facebook and the official IWD website. Plus, look out for the IWD15NI hashtag on Twitter. 

Equality funding under threat

DEL has launched a consultation on plans to end all Community Relations, Equality and Diversity (CRED) funding to help achieve required budget cuts. This could be a real blow to local education and lessen the opportunities our pupils have to build relationships with those from a different background. Information on how to respond to the consultation is available on this webpage. Submissions must be in by 6pm on 6th March. 

Consortium website launches!

A new website for the Women's Regional Consortium has gone live, featuring many resources for local women, including an extensive e-library and a directory containing hundreds of useful contacts. The site will provide regular updates on the Consortium's activities and can be accessed now via this link. WRDA is one of seven partners in the Consortium, working to provide a voice to women in disadvantaged and rural areas alongside FWIN, NIRWN, WOMEN'STEC, TWN, WSN and The Women's Centre Derry.

Research investigates treatment of pregnant workers


The Equality Commission for Northern Ireland is conducting a formal investigation into the treatment of pregnant workers and mothers in workplaces across Northern Ireland. Women, with children under the age of five, who have been in employment during all or part of their pregnancy can share their experiences through completing an online survey. Thanks to all who contribute.

Abortion Access under Review in Northern Ireland

On Monday 2nd January the NI Human Rights Commission (NIHRC) was granted leave to pursue a judicial review of the current abortion legislation in Northern Ireland. The review seeks to explore issues around the provision of and access to termination of pregnancy services under two particular cirmstances: when the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest and when there is a lethal foetal abnormality, meaning a foetus has formed, but has no chance of surviving to full term or will die at birth.

Northern Ireland’s current legislation prohibits access to legal abortion unless very strict criteria are met, mainly if there is a severe risk to the life or health of the woman. Despite this, however, more than 25 women a week travel from Northern Ireland to other parts of the UK to access private clinics that offer the service. This makes access only available to those who can afford to pay turning a health issue into a class issue. The courts heard of the specific trauma experienced by those who have no chance of having a baby at the end of their pregnancy due to serious malformations which is then added to by the fact that they have to travel away from home, often alone, to access a termination.

As a pro-choice organisation WRDA supports this judicial review and would hope it paves the way for Northern Ireland to come in line with the rest of the United Kingdom who have had open access to abortions since 1967, almost 50 years ago. Our Women's Sector Lobbyist Orlaith is actively campaigning on the issue. We will keep you posted.

Get registered!


NUS-USI is running a campaign for National Voter Registration Day (#NVRD) on 5th February to encourage more students to cast their vote. Last year, the union registered 500 students as part of the campaign in Northern Ireland and this year it is aiming to smash this total. There are lots of activities happening on campus during the week. If you want to take part, get in touch with Gerry Carroll on belfastaco@nus.org.uk for more information. You can register to vote now by downloading this form

Show your support for the Children's Bill

Children in Northern Ireland is seeking public backing for a new Bill that would compel all NI Exectuive Departments to work together in improving outcomes for children and young people. Tabled by Green Party MLA Steven Agnew, The Children's Bill would help departments colloborate on policy, pool budgets, share staff and resources, and jointly commission services for children and young people. You can show your support for the Bill, which will be discussed in Stormont next week, by signing your name to this petition.

Who is your woman of the year?

Nominations are now open for the Belfast Telegraph’s Woman of the Year Awards in association with The OUTLET, Banbridge. These awards recognise women who have done something special in their community or sporting organisation. There are ten different categories this year. You can nominate a someone deserving by filling in a simple online form by 19th February.

Celebrate IWD 2015 with us

The official call for events for this year's International Women's Day festival in Northern Ireland has just gone out. Events will take place right across NI to mark IWD 2015 on 8th March. Learn more about IWD and how to get involved here.

Film project seeking young women
9th January 2015

Females aged 16-25 years are being sought for Reel Politics, a new film-making project to promote the benefits of young women to stepping up as leaders in the political arena. Participants will create a shortfilm in just five days during February about the benefits of young women having a role in politics. Their results of all their hardwork will then be showcased on 8th March to mark International Women's Day. Learn more about how to get involved
here. The project is being delivered by Cinemagic and is supported by Belfast City Council and the Northern Ireland Assembly Initiative.   


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