OPINION: Precarious Position for Women’s Frontline Services- by Alison Blayney

AlisonBlayney

Alison Blayney is the director of Kilcooley Women’s Centre and a member of the North Down and Ards Policing and Community Safety Partnership. With over 25 years experience in community development and women’s education, Alison has sat on numerous boards and worked in partnership with all statutory agencies.

JOIN OUR NEWSLETTER
Join over thousands of readers who are receiving our newsletter and being kept up to date with the latest news from the community
We hate spam. Your email address will not be sold or shared with anyone else.

www.KilcooleyWomensCentre.co.uk

 

Almost 8 months from the collapse of the NI Assembly, Northern Ireland politics seems to have adopted the attitude of fiddling whilst Rome burns. As austerity bites, and the prospect of full blown welfare reform being implemented seems ever more likely, the future looks bleak for those working in the community sector and in particular community based services for women and children.

 

One in four children in Northern Ireland are said to be living in poverty (Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health). The current political vacuum leaves those of us who lobby and campaign for improved services and changes in policy to improve the lives of children, with no one to turn to.  We have no Ministers; no decisions can be taken.  Everything bar the common cold is now blamed on the political impasse, which in some cases is probably true, in others, maybe a convenient excuse to maintain the status quo.

 

Child poverty will affect health, and will have a long-term impact on outcomes and life chances for those children living in challenging circumstances. More and more families are classed as ‘just managing’ or the ‘working poor’ who we are now referring to food banks. These are the issues the average woman accessing our services is prioritising.  In addition, the dire state of community based training for women offers no way out of the poverty trap.

 

The results of the decision by former Department of Employment and Learning Minister, Dr Stephen Farry, to limit European Social Fund to cap training to a maximum Level 1 qualification has decimated the opportunities for women, who are currently being encouraged back to the workplace as part of welfare reform.

 

This decision was not financial, as it costs more or less the same to train someone to Level 2 (GCSE equivalent), the level most employers will be looking for. Many in the women’s sector are still trying to work out the rationale for this policy directive.  Restricting women’s training to Level 1 will no doubt mean women can only access low level training and therefore low paid work, which no doubt will be reliant on some form of means tested benefit, and the cycle of poverty and disadvantage continues.

 

Often seen as the ‘Cinderella’ service of the community, women’s centres and groups are providing frontline services for vulnerable women and children, often in socially disadvantaged communities. Low lying fruit is easy to cut.

 

Even in the ‘good old days’ when politics in Northern Ireland was functioning, women’s projects limped from year to year, with short term ‘emergency’ funding for childcare and other services. Due to the nature of working with children and vulnerable adults, and complying with safeguarding legislation, a 3 month rolling contract just doesn’t work if you are recruiting or employing someone working in a role which requires vetting.

 

It is proving more and more challenging to recruit and retain experienced staff who are simply sick sore and tired of playing Russian roulette with their contracts. The nail biting annual charade of ‘if or when’ a new contract will be issued is painful enough.

 

It would not be uncommon for a new contract for a childcare worker being issued on the day the old one expires, which is unworkable in circumstances where an element of forward planning for personnel is required, not only for continuity, but to protect and safeguard some of the most vulnerable children in society.

 

 

 


Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. More people are reading the Unionist Voice than ever but unlike many news organisations, we haven’t put up a paywall – we want to keep our journalism as open as we can.

The Unionist Voice is editorially independent, meaning we set our own agenda. Our journalism is free from commercial bias. No one edits our Editor. No one steers our opinion. This is important because it enables us to give a voice to the voiceless, challenge the powerful and hold them to account. It’s what makes us different to so many others in the media, at a time when factual, honest reporting is critical.

f everyone who reads our reporting, who likes it, helps to support it, our future would be much more secure. For as little as £1, you can support the Unionist Voice– and it only takes a minute. Thank you.

Support Us

59 Responses to "OPINION: Precarious Position for Women’s Frontline Services- by Alison Blayney"

  1. Sherlene  August 19, 2018 at 11:28 pm

    This is actually useful, thanks.

    Reply
  2. http://www.smartcity24x7nyc.com  August 28, 2018 at 3:46 pm

    Thanks for the excellent manual

    Reply
  3. Www.appleiphonelawsuit.com  August 28, 2018 at 5:45 pm

    This is actually useful, thanks.

    Reply
  4. Nida  August 28, 2018 at 6:23 pm

    I spent a lot of time to find something similar to
    this

    Reply
  5. Esperanza  August 28, 2018 at 7:51 pm

    Thanks for the great article

    Reply
  6. Stephen  August 28, 2018 at 8:31 pm

    Thanks, it’s very informative

    Reply
  7. Elke  August 28, 2018 at 9:29 pm

    Thanks, it is very informative

    Reply
  8. Kenny  August 29, 2018 at 3:24 am

    This is actually useful, thanks.

    Reply
  9. Thanks for the excellent guide

    Reply
  10. Shona  August 29, 2018 at 4:00 am

    I spent a lot of time to find something like this

    Reply
  11. Gabriel  August 29, 2018 at 4:22 am

    Thanks to the wonderful manual

    Reply
  12. Anthony  August 29, 2018 at 4:43 am

    Thanks, it is very informative

    Reply
  13. Willie  August 29, 2018 at 5:54 am

    It works quite well for me

    Reply
  14. thelaunchconference.Com  August 29, 2018 at 6:13 am

    This is really useful, thanks.

    Reply
  15. Domingo  August 29, 2018 at 7:28 am

    Thanks, it’s quite informative

    Reply
  16. Kristie  August 29, 2018 at 8:29 am

    This is actually useful, thanks.

    Reply
  17. Polly  August 29, 2018 at 11:13 am

    I enjoy the report

    Reply
  18. It works very well for me

    Reply
  19. http://www.destinationalberta.net/  August 29, 2018 at 5:54 pm

    It works very well for me

    Reply
  20. Www.Yaleclubbeijing.Org  August 30, 2018 at 12:34 am

    I spent a great deal of time to find something like this

    Reply
  21. http://Www.destinationalberta.net/  August 30, 2018 at 3:31 am

    It works really well for me

    Reply
  22. Garry  August 30, 2018 at 3:50 am

    I spent a lot of time to find something such as this

    Reply
  23. Kim  August 30, 2018 at 11:11 am

    I spent a great deal of time to find something similar to
    this

    Reply
  24. Raleigh  August 30, 2018 at 11:40 pm

    Thanks, it is very informative

    Reply
  25. Http://Thelaunchconference.com  August 31, 2018 at 1:07 am

    This is truly helpful, thanks.

    Reply
  26. Like  August 31, 2018 at 9:53 pm

    Like!! Really appreciate you sharing this blog post.Really thank you! Keep writing.

    Reply
  27. ปั้มไลค์เพจ  September 1, 2018 at 9:53 pm

    It is in reality a great and useful piece of info. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

    Reply
  28. Halley  September 2, 2018 at 10:58 pm

    I like the report

    Reply
  29. Mona  September 3, 2018 at 3:24 am

    It works really well for me

    Reply
  30. geolorean.com  September 3, 2018 at 6:46 am

    Thanks for the excellent article

    Reply
  31. Carma  September 7, 2018 at 9:27 pm

    Thanks, it is very informative

    Reply
  32. thelaunchconference.com  September 8, 2018 at 1:49 am

    I spent a lot of time to find something similar to this

    Reply
  33. Phil  September 15, 2018 at 8:00 am

    Thanks, it’s quite informative

    Reply
  34. Titus Francois  September 28, 2018 at 6:20 am

    I do not even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post was great. I don’t know who you are but definitely you are going to a famous blogger if you are not already 😉 Cheers!

    Reply
  35. Karlene Mcnay  September 28, 2018 at 12:56 pm

    Hey are using WordPress for your site platform? I’m new to the blog world but I’m trying to get started and create my own. Do you need any html coding expertise to make your own blog? Any help would be greatly appreciated!

    Reply
  36. Hugo Blayney  September 28, 2018 at 9:12 pm

    Hey! I’m at work browsing your blog from my new iphone 3gs! Just wanted to say I love reading your blog and look forward to all your posts! Keep up the excellent work!

    Reply
  37. Cassy No  September 29, 2018 at 9:09 am

    An impressive share, I simply with all this onto a colleague who was simply doing little analysis on this. Anf the husband the truth is bought me breakfast because I came across it for him.. smile. So permit me to reword that: Thnx for any treat! But yeah Thnkx for spending some time to discuss this, I find myself strongly regarding it and adore reading more on this topic. If at all possible, as you grow expertise, can you mind updating your blog post with more details? It is actually extremely of great help for me. Big thumb up just for this writing!

    Reply
  38. Chiquita Digioia  September 29, 2018 at 3:08 pm

    It’s difficult to get knowledgeable individuals within this topic, however, you be understood as you know what you are referring to! Thanks

    Reply
  39. Kasandra Czarniecki  September 29, 2018 at 11:36 pm

    Hi there, just became aware of your blog through Google, and found that it is really informative. I am gonna watch out for brussels. I will appreciate if you continue this in future. Numerous people will be benefited from your writing. Cheers!

    Reply
  40. Omer Porco  September 30, 2018 at 5:38 am

    I love what you guys are up too. This kind of clever work and coverage! Keep up the good works guys I’ve added you guys to blogroll.

    Reply
  41. Benton Vonderkell  September 30, 2018 at 1:32 pm

    soem sites that offer download games have viruses and spywares on it. so make sure to have some antivirus on your PC’

    Reply
  42. Monte Gammill  September 30, 2018 at 5:35 pm

    eating disorders are of course sometimes deadly because it can cause the degeneration of one’s health~

    Reply
  43. Noe Guerrero  October 5, 2018 at 11:26 am

    Hello.This article was extremely fascinating, especially because I was looking for thoughts on this subject last Monday.

    Reply
  44. Hwa Savidge  October 5, 2018 at 6:03 pm

    My coder is trying to convince me to move to .net from PHP. I have always disliked the idea because of the expenses. But he’s tryiong none the less. I’ve been using Movable-type on several websites for about a year and am concerned about switching to another platform. I have heard very good things about blogengine.net. Is there a way I can transfer all my wordpress posts into it? Any kind of help would be greatly appreciated!

    Reply
  45. Maxwell Mcgowin  October 5, 2018 at 7:51 pm

    Hey, you used to write magnificent, but the last few posts have been kinda boring… I miss your tremendous writings. Past several posts are just a little out of track! come on!

    Reply
  46. Antonio Tevlin  October 5, 2018 at 8:02 pm

    hey there and thank you for your information – I have definitely picked up something new from right here. I did however expertise several technical points using this site, as I experienced to reload the web site a lot of times previous to I could get it to load properly. I had been wondering if your web host is OK? Not that I’m complaining, but sluggish loading instances times will often affect your placement in google and could damage your quality score if advertising and marketing with Adwords. Anyway I am adding this RSS to my e-mail and could look out for much more of your respective fascinating content. Ensure that you update this again very soon..

    Reply
  47. ปั้มไลค์  October 7, 2018 at 6:58 am

    I believe you have noted some very interesting details, thankyou for the post. 🙂

    Reply
  48. Jamie Daugherty  October 9, 2018 at 2:17 pm

    I simply couldn’t go away your web site before suggesting that I extremely enjoyed the standard information an individual supply for your guests? Is gonna be again frequently to check out new posts

    Reply
  49. Stanley Gonzale  October 9, 2018 at 9:02 pm

    whoah this blog is great i love reading your articles. Keep up the great work! You know, many people are looking around for this info, you could help them greatly.

    Reply
  50. Felton Durelli  October 10, 2018 at 7:08 am

    My coder is trying to persuade me to move to .net from PHP. I have always disliked the idea because of the expenses. But he’s tryiong none the less. I’ve been using WordPress on a variety of websites for about a year and am nervous about switching to another platform. I have heard good things about blogengine.net. Is there a way I can transfer all my wordpress content into it? Any help would be really appreciated!

    Reply
  51. Maranda Whitt  October 10, 2018 at 7:10 am

    Nice blog here! Also your web site loads up fast! What host are you using? Can I get your affiliate link to your host? I wish my site loaded up as quickly as yours lol

    Reply
  52. Ashlee Iacuzio  October 11, 2018 at 9:10 pm

    I loved as much as you’ll receive carried out right here. The sketch is tasteful, your authored subject matter stylish. nonetheless, you command get bought an edginess over that you wish be delivering the following. unwell unquestionably come further formerly again since exactly the same nearly very often inside case you shield this hike.

    Reply
  53. Lavada Veldkamp  October 12, 2018 at 1:41 am

    You actually make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find this matter to be really something which I think I would never understand. It seems too complicated and extremely broad for me. I’m looking forward for your next post, I will try to get the hang of it!

    Reply
  54. Madelene Benders  October 12, 2018 at 6:09 am

    Hello! I could have sworn I’ve been to this blog before but after checking through some of the post I realized it’s new to me. Anyhow, I’m definitely happy I found it and I’ll be book-marking and checking back frequently!

    Reply
  55. Robin Hilo  October 12, 2018 at 3:53 pm

    Hello. splendid job. I did not expect this. This is a fantastic story. Thanks!

    Reply
  56. Lucia Hoffmaster  October 13, 2018 at 10:40 am

    Hi! Someone in my Facebook group shared this website with us so I came to check it out. I’m definitely loving the information. I’m book-marking and will be tweeting this to my followers! Outstanding blog and wonderful design and style.

    Reply
  57. Simon Honig  October 14, 2018 at 11:36 am

    Wow I found this place on Yahoo poking around for something else entirely, and now I’m going to need to go back and go all the old material. So much for free time today, but this was a spectacular find.

    Reply
  58. Eleanor Reher  October 15, 2018 at 12:37 pm

    Hi, Neat post. There’s a problem with your site in internet explorer, would check this… IE still is the market leader and a large portion of people will miss your wonderful writing because of this problem.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.