Clanmil has been working with Women'sTEC in north Belfast to provide a nine-week course teaching life and work skills to a group of Newtownabbey women.
The participants have been attending the weekly classes, which began in late January, at the Women'sTEC premises on the Antrim Road.
The course is being funded through the NI Executive Together: Building A United Community Strategy and is part of a wider Good Relations plan associated with Clanmil’s shared housing development at Felden in Newtownabbey.
Some of the practical skills the women have been learning include using power tools, decorating and wallpapering, crafts, introduction to electrics, and healthy eating, as well as a class in caring for houseplants.
The women have also been working on a personal project of their own, including wooden bird feeders, window boxes and craft items. Other classes looked at healthy eating where participants discussed and shared ideas for healthy options.
As part of the course, participants have also been exploring their place within their community and have had a chance to discuss what it means to be a ‘good neighbour’. The women also took part in a session that was specifically focussed on confidence building, motivational tools, and goalsetting.
Gerard Rosato, Community Cohesion Officer with Clanmil said:
“We are delighted to be working with Women’s Tec on this cross-community skills programme. The women who have been taking part have been telling me how much more confident they feel, not just in terms of the practical skills they’re learning, but also how they feel more empowered to make positive changes to their lives and in their community. Encouraging people from different communities to take part in activities together is a key part of our Good Relations work associated with Clanmil’s shared housing schemes in Felden.
One of those who took part in the course is Lisa Brown who said:
“I will be using the skills I’ve learned in keeping our house up to date and redecorating, and also teaching my own children what I’ve learned. The skills are beneficial because I don’t have to pay for a handyman to do things around the house. I can do it myself which saves a lot of money. It’s great to meet other women who have similar interests to me, get out of the house for a few hours in the afternoon and go home and feel that I’ve done something productive.”
Patricia Fleming, course co-ordinator at Women’sTEC added:
“It is so lovely to see the women grow in confidence each week and see the pride they have in learning new skills, especially when making their shelves from pallet wood.”
Find out more by watching this short video:
About our shared housing developments
The course at Women’s Tec is a ‘bridging’ programme that was developed from the Felden Good Relations Plan. Bridging events and programmes are delivered to the wider community to encourage a range of good relations outcomes which relate to health and wellbeing, education and training.
Felden in Newtownabbey is one of seven Clanmil shared housing developments across Northern Ireland and was established in 2016 as part of the NI Executive Together: Building A United Community Strategy.
The programme is supported by the Department for Communities and the Northern Ireland Housing Executive’s ‘Housing for All’’ Shared Housing Programme. The Programme has its origins in the NI Executive Together: Building a United Community Strategy which reflects the Executive’s commitment to improving community relations and continuing the journey towards a more united and shared society.
The Felden shared housing development is also supported by the Department for Communities and the NI Housing Executive. £6.03m funding was invested in the scheme’s development and the roll out of the associated five-year Good Relations Plan.
Clanmil continues to work in partnership with the Felden Advisory Group stakeholders and residents to develop the scheme’s Good Relations Plan, which seeks to build good relationships and a sustainable community.
For further information on the NI Executive Together Building a United Community visit:
The Executive Office - Together: Building a United Community<https://www.executiveoffice-ni.gov.uk/articles/about-together-building-united-community-tbuc