All the latest news from WRDA!
Belfast Family Support Network Celebration Event

WRDA Training and Development Project Worker, Katherine Robertson, attended a celebration event for the Belfast Family Support Network IN LORAG where SouthBelfastOne family support hub is based.

Helen Dunn Regional Family Support Hub Coordinator reported that:

Family support hubs have been growing and developing across Ireland over the last 5 years and there are now 29 covering the regionThese are multi-agency networks of community, voluntary and statutory organisations who support families in need of early intervention services.  Working closely together the network members use their knowledge of local service providers and the Family support NI database to signpost families to the most effective service. By doing so family hubs ensure families receive the help and support they need at the earliest opportunity. Hubs are intended to be open access and referrals are made from a range of agencies and also by families directly.

Last year family support hubs supported 4522 families in this way and the families tell us having one place to go to for support works really well for them. The South Belfast Hub 1 is a really good example of this way of working and has already supported numerous families. I wish them every success as the Hub continues to grow and develop.”

South Belfast Family Support Hub Coordinator Natasha Brennan explained that:

“The south Belfast One family support Hub has been on a consistent journey of development and at present we have over 70 members partnering with the hub and 15 of these are core members who meet monthly to help source services for families in need.  Our hub crosses boundaries and has helped create and develop collaborative working partnerships that are focusing on supporting families”.
WRDA Annual General Meeting & Launch of 'Why Women Only?' Research
You are cordially invited to WRDA's 33rd Annual General Meeting.

This years AGM will focus on the theme 'Why Women Only?' with the launch of a new research paper which seeks to demonstrate the need and benefit of women-only services across Northern Ireland as well as providing the women’s community and voluntary sector with a tool to lobby for funding as well as to highlight the uniqueness and benefits of women-only services, not just for women but families and the community as a whole.

Not to be missed! Book your place now: Click here

18 Years After the Good Friday Agreement - What does this mean for Women and Good Relations today?

On 22nd of September Good relations worker Kellie O’Dowd hosted a seminar for Community Relations Week 2016. The seminar discussed the topic of ’18 years after the Good Friday agreement – what does this mean for women and good relations’
The event was chaired by Kellie O’Dowd with three guest speakers; Claire Bailey, Denise Wright and Courtney Robinson.

Claire Bailey, Deputy Leader of the Green Party, discussed her experience since the Good Friday Agreement. She said that 18 years ago, she felt a real sense of hope and opportunity for Northern Ireland.
Claire highlighted the fact that although we are 18 years on there is still no sign of a childcare strategy, something we have been promised for a long time now.

Denise Wright, chairperson of Embrace, main focus of discussion was about the challenges caused by the increase in immigration. Immigrants have to tackle huge barriers to integrate into society, from language to the understanding of the Northern Ireland culture and conflict. According to Denise, there is an important need to break down perceptions and impressions from the migrants and from the people of Northern Ireland.
However, she remained worried about the funding of such programmes, as a lot of funding for integration in Northern Ireland is allocated to fight paramilitary groups, usually forgetting women’s issues.

Finally, Courtney Robinson, campaigner for Labour Alternative in East Belfast, presented her young expertise on social issues. She believed that the Good Friday Agreement embodied a hope for more social equality, but resulted in the institutionalisation of sectarianism. Courtney said that this political framework failed to analyse the underlying causes of the conflict. Indeed, she strongly argued that poverty is the main driver of our society’s troubles.

The floor was then open to questions facilitating discussion and networking opportunities for the audience. We extend our thanks to all those who attended the event and our guest speakers. 

WRDA Welcomes New Staff Member
This week we have welcomed Kellie Turtle to the team  as WRDA's new Women’s Sector Lobbyist. She is responsible for developing lobbying and campaigning strategies in order to communicate women’s views and priorities directly to policy makers and politicians. Kellie has previously worked as the Education Worker at the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission delivering human rights training to the public and voluntary sector and providing human rights advice to government on policy and legislation. Kellie has also worked for the NSPCC/ChildLine as an education and outreach worker and was a youth development worker in Mornington Community Project.
 Kellie obtained an MA in Gender and Society from Queen’s University Belfast in 2009 and in the same year co-founded the Belfast Feminist Network, a grassroots community collective of people seeking to facilitate a platform for feminist activism.

If you wish to contact Kellie in relation to her work for WRDA please mail
Save the Date: Women at the Cutting Edge: The Impact of Austerity on the Women's Sector

On Tuesday 15th November Reclaim the Agenda are hosting a Regional Women’s Conference to explore the impact of the cuts on service delivery to women and children in local communities and to plan how we as a sector challenge these decisions.

The conference will take place in  Riddell Hall, Stranmillis Road, Belfast. The morning of the conference  will explore the situation in Northern Ireland and compare it with the Republic and the rest of UK. We will hear from Professor Eileen Evason about chairing the working group set up to offset the impact of welfare reform in NI and she will share ideas on how we can offset the impact in our own groups and organisations. The afternoon will be spent looking at the difficulties we may face when trying to work as a sector in fighting these cuts and also ideas on how best to challenge government decisions that are impacting detrimentally on the women and children in our communities. Keep your eyes peeled for more information to follow.

Programme for Government Framework- Public Consultation Analysis of Responses

Following Executive agreement to the draft Programme for Government Framework on 26 May 2016, a public consultation was launched to seek views on both the approach taken and the content of the Framework. A report was then released detailing the consultation methodology and analysis of responses. The Programme for Government (2016-21) will be the third produced by the Executive since the restoration of devolution in 2007. However, the approach being taken in developing the new Programme is markedly different to that used previously.

The decision to adopt an “outcomes-based” approach was endorsed by the parties to the Fresh Start Agreement in November 2015, and is based on its successful application in other jurisdictions including in parts of the United States, in Finland and in Scotland.

Our response to the PFG 2016-2020 can be accessed on our website at The full analysis of responses by the executive can be accessed via


‘Connect, Care & Share’ event, 12th October 2016
WRDA Annual General Meeting, 20th October 2016
A focus on the new 11 councils, 28th October 2016
Belfast, a hundred years on from 1916. How do we make a fresh start?, 3rd November 2016
What is What Works Research?, 15th November 2016

For more events, click here.


Aviva Charity Fund. Deadline: Rolling
Guardian Charity Awards 2016. Deadline: Rolling
Benevolent Fund, Charitable Grants. Deadline: 30th November 2016
Media Grant Scheme. Deadline: 4th November 2016

And finally...

Don't forget to follow us on Twitter, @WRDA_team. We'd love to connect with you there! You can also find us on Facebook or visit our website, which covers all the latest women's news.
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