Since Feb 2018, Footprints Women’s Centre has welcomed Newcomer women and children who have settled in the Colin Area and has worked in partnership with these families to establish services to meet their distinct needs. We would like to share Footprints pride in these amazing women and in the creation of a thriving and supportive space for them to develop and flourish.
1,637 people have been resettled in Northern Ireland under the Vulnerable Persons Relocation Scheme (VPRS) Many of the families have little or no English language skills on arrival.
Women reached out to Footprints for support and a Syrian Women’s WhatsApp group was quickly created to became our initial communication route with these new members. As Newcomer women and children settled into their new community, it was apparent that communication and limited English was impacting on all areas of life including their health and well- being.
Working in partnership with CRAIC NI and Belfast Met, ESOL classes were facilitated at Footprints Womens Centre. Women reported that their learning was greatly assisted by the presence of a crèche facility on site, a woman only space and the location of the Centre in the heart of the community.
A Syrian Women’s group was established in Footprints and over the next eighteen months this group of 27 women participated in many cultural events and activities at the Centre including preparing the most amazing Syrian fusion food for Footprints AGM and Feile an Phobail
Supported by funding from DfC’s Social Supermarket Pilot for an interpreter, the group continued to develop their conversational English skills and became participants on Take the Next Step Project, building their skills for volunteering and employment. Coaching and mentoring alongside health programmes focused on meeting the groups distinct needs and in June 2019 representatives from the group were very pleased to have the opportunity to speak and present their needs to an Urban Villages Programme Board meeting.
During 2019/2020 the Syrian Women’s Group accessed 6,480 hours of Footprints services.
“I want to learn more English. I use to work as a nurse in the past. I wish to continue to work in the field of nursing kids
In Nov 2019 Footprints commissioned an independent researcher to conduct focus groups and interviews with the Syrian Women’s Group, to establish how we can build on and develop existing partnership work with Newcomer women and their families. To access this report, ‘2020 Vision for Newcomer Women and Children’ please contact Footprints on telephone: 02890923444 or e mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
When lockdown was declared, Footprints staff implemented a plan to ensure that New Comer families were supported during this difficult time. Bespoke food parcels were delivered to families and English classes continued weekly through remote media platforms.
This support and connection was vital to wellbeing and reducing feelings of isolation. As a result of this experience a new project, led by Footprints Syrian Women’s Group will be launched in 2020- “Good Morning Syrian Sisters”. Syrian volunteers will reach out through regular telephone calls to Newcomer women ensuring that there is a friendly voice to welcome and support them as they continue their life journey and resettlement in Northern Ireland
” having the Syrian group continue during this time gave me security, knowing someone was on the end of a telephone line if an emergency occurred. I feel blessed to belong to this group of women”.