Funding to help families impacted by COVID-19

Funding has ben allocated to six local groups to help families impacted by COVID-19 rebuild their lives.
Jeanette, Amelia and Darcie McLaughlin.Jeanette, Amelia and Darcie McLaughlin.
Jeanette, Amelia and Darcie McLaughlin.

The National Lottery Community Fund has announced over £140,000 for organisations in Derry, Strabane and Dungiven running initiatives including family health projects, outdoor cinemas, and equine therapy to help people with Autism.

The Women’s Centre Derry (WCD) is using a £97,960 grant to run their ‘Recover, Rebuild, Renew’ project which provides child development and mental health support services for children and their mothers during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Jeanette Mc Laughlin, who has been going to WCD for almost a year, said the centre has been a constant source of help, support and guidance throughout the pandemic. Her two children, Darcie (one) and Amelia (two), also attended their creche before lockdown closed the facility.

Jeanette said: “Being locked up for months with two children is a nightmare. It was great for making memories, but it does affect your mental health. The women at the centre were amazing throughout lockdown, they were catching up with me all the time, asking how I was doing and just being there for me whenever I needed someone to talk to. I have a close family, but everyone has their own worries, so knowing that I had other people to turn to for help was so reassuring.

“Knowing that we weren’t alone during this time was the biggest relief throughout the uncertainty of the last few months.”

During her time at the Women’s Centre Jeanette has completed several courses including well-being classes for mothers and even had the chance to enrol in a make-up course, which she had almost finished before lockdown. “I think it’s absolutely brilliant for the Women’s Centre to have received this new funding, I know how much work they do to help local women including me, so knowing they have this new pot of money and can help so many other people and beginner mummies, it’s absolutely brilliant.”

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Margaret Logue, Director of WCD said: “This funding is going to make a huge difference to local families, many who are isolated and have young children, and need that extra bit of support especially during the pandemic.”

Foyles Women’s Aid are using its grant to run an online health and well-being project for families, while La Dolce Vita is a using its new funding to support families who are experiencing domestic abuse during the pandemic through their online support services.

Ballymagroarty and Hazelbank Community Partnership is using its grant to stage an outdoor cinema and street entertainment at various locations throughout the Foyleside ward, while the Equine Enrichment C.I.C. Derry and Equine Enrichment, Strabane is providing innovative programmes for people with Autism and those experiencing mental health issues as a result of COVID-19. Dungiven Regeneration Group is using its funding to reorganise their centre to create maximum space so activities can resume.

Kate Beggs, NI Director of The National Lottery Community Fund said: “The wide range of projects funded demonstrate the strength of their members and communities and the importance of staying connected with each other in these unprecedented times.”