What is the history of GLOW and where is it based?
Located on the street that connects the divided communities of the Falls and the Shankill, GLOW (Giving Life Opportunities to Women) was established in 2011 through a desire to help local women and girls who were suffering from a range of mental health issues stemming from trauma and/or social issues such as unemployment, low income and isolation. Chara Clarke, the visionary behind the organisation, identified an opportunity to help through the creation of personal development programmes that would encourage and guide participants in addressing mental health issues as well as setting realistic life goals that will provide a sense of purpose and fulfilment.
What does the group do and how have you adapted during Covid 19?
There are four core programmes which have been specially tailored to suit specific age groups:
-The Real Me (18+)
-LILY (10 – 13)
-Fearless & Female (14 – 17)
-GLOW Academy (18+)
All programmes are executed with the aim of achieving five outcomes for participants:
- Increased Confidence and Self Esteem
- Discovery of Purpose and Identity
- Learn and Nurture Practical and Essential Life Skills
- Guide you to living a lifestyle of positive mental health
- Build Positive and Lasting Friendships
In addition to the programmes, GLOW also facilitate a Friday morning women’s drop as well as evening youth sessions for girls. These sessions provide a safe outlet for women and girls to develop connections and friendships made from participating in the programmes.
In January 2019, Belfast charity GLOW received funding from the National Lottery that would enable them to establish You GLOW Girl, a social enterprise selling clothing, which would generate further funding to be invested back into the charity and the mental health programmes being delivered to women and young girls.
COVID-19 and lockdown measures have had (and continue to have) a major impact on GLOW as a charity.
Not only has the demand for our services increased, the stay at home message and social distancing measures meant our in house sessions had to move to an online capacity which can be off putting for those who do not feel confident using digital applications such as Zoom. The content within the programmes was also amended to facilitate Zoom sessions as practical activities and outdoor excursions were suspended.
Fundraising events had come to a halt too so we have had to come up with alternative ways to raise money as well as placing a heavier focus on the development of the social enterprise.
What do you think the three biggest issues facing women in your community are?
- Anxiety and Depression
- Low Confidence and Self-Esteem
How do you join the group?
Applications for our programmes are currently open via our website www.glowni.com. Simply go to the programme you are interested in and register your details on the form at the bottom of the page. A project worker will then be in touch to discuss available options.
Do you have an online presence?
You can keep up to date with the charity on the following channels: