A new Children and Young Persons Centre, providing specialist services for families affected by domestic and sexual abuse, has opened in the North West, launched by Foyle Women’s Aid.
POD15 offers a range of services and programmes to support the families affected by abuse to strengthen bonds and re-establish the family unit. This includes a creche, after school service and an array of activities and programmes for non-abusing parents and their children.
Andrea Doran, Verbal’s Director of Programming and Learning, attended the launch of POD15 at Ashelywood House, taking along with the Reading Rooms mobile bus. NI Commissioner for Children and Young People, Koulla Yiasouma, highlighted the importance of Foyle Women’s Aid in supporting children and young people at the event.
A key feature of the centre is the “pod”, an enclosed cosy, yet modern, space where a young person can go to be alone, sit and relax, or to talk in private. Adjustable lighting and sounds make it possible to create different moods depending on individual needs and wishes, providing an inclusive safe and caring environment for children and young people.
Women’s Aid NI is Northern Ireland’s leading charity for preventive education. Their fun and participative Helping Hands programme, for primary school aged children at key stage two and three, implements proactive approaches to addressing issues of personal safety in education settings. They are committed to ensuring every child hears their message about keeping safe and healthy relationships, with nearly 1000 teachers representing 650 schools been trained so far in Northern Ireland.
Children & Young People’s Strategic Partnership has identified a need for classes for parents and children together, teaching them to communicate without fighting. Andrea Doran: “Children and young people often feel that their voice is not heard, that they are not listened to, and need to speak out more. Reading Rooms, through our model of shared reading and peer-to-peer support, will aim to engage with families together, helping to train both parent and child to effectively communicate.”
Reading Rooms will be partnering with Teenlink. a ten-week scheme aimed at empowering young people. Andrea Doran: “We want to give these young teens an opportunity to be heard in a caring environment. Through discussing and reacting to carefully selected poems and stories, the participants can rehearse conversations, asking ‘what would you do?’ or ‘how would you feel?’ for particular situations, helping to prepare them for later life.”
Foyle Women’s Aid offer Domestic Abuse, Domestic Violence Support in the Derry / Londonderry, Strabane, Limavady & Dungiven areas. They operate a 24hr freephone helpline, open to all men and women affected by domestic and sexual abuse: 0808 802 1414.