First Steps Womens Centre Dungannon

First Steps Womens Centre Dungannon

Wellbeing Programmes

HolisticsThe overall aim of our Wellbeing work is to improve the physical and mental health of women and provide opportunities which will enable them to achieve their full potential.

First Steps Women's Centre (FSWC) has a holistic approach to women’s education and personal development. We strive to anticipate the barriers women may face when they return to education and help them overcome these, for example, providing Childcare and Transport.

The role of the Wellbeing Co-ordinator was created as there was recognition within FSWC that women needed support and education in relation to their health and wellbeing.

Women can face many changes and demands on their health throughout the course of their lives, such as motherhood, menopause, bereavement, divorce, changes in financial circumstances, caring for a family member etc. A number of women who attended our courses were living with long term medical conditions  or mental ill health (some just newly diagnosed). The relaxed comfortable and supportive environment here enables women to confide in Staff about issues which have impacted on their lives. This can include the loss of confidence and self esteem. There were also a number of women who visited FSWC who didn’t feel quite ready to undertake a qualification but wanted to enroll in a short course. Many of these women now start with a Health Promotion course to build up their confidence and then progress on to an accredited course.

It is important to note that many women undertake these courses for enjoyment and the opportunity to get out and meet other women and socialise.

FSWC new Wellbeing Co-ordinator Amanda Boyd has held this post since August 2015. Amanda is qualified in Reiki / Seichim, The Art of Feminine Presence courses / workshops, Coaching and Yoga / Relaxation.

Amanda says "For my personal interest and so I can bring the very best to our participants, I continue to be a student of leadership and personal and spiritual growth learning the most up to date techniques, strategies and systems that simply work. As I apply these strategies and tools , I am passionate about sharing them with others so they too can overcome the same challenges and fears I have experienced and help make a bigger impact in their lives"

Amanda's work is funded through ESF/DFE and The Arts Council.

I Believed in Myself

All this week, the media has been giving special coverage on the experiences of disabled people in the workforce and as consumers. One interviewee said employers were “missing a trick” because people with a learning disability or any disability are resilient, flexible and good at problem-solving because they have had to be. This is what Gerard from the PCC has to say on this.

I'll never forget the day when I was 19, I was told at the end of a workplace training programme to forget about a career in health and social care.  I wasn't capable of this type of work.

Instead I was advised to consider cleaning jobs or stacking supermarket shelves. Why? Because I have a learning disability.

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#STILL ME

It is estimated there are 19,000 people living with dementia in the north of Ireland, but only some 13,000 have received a formal diagnosis. Looking ahead it’s expected that by 2051 there will be around 60,000 people with dementia.

Since September 2016, the #STILL ME dementia awareness campaign has been running across Northern Ireland.  The campaign features local people living with dementia talking about how their condition affects them. 

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Parkinson's Information

Parkinson’s Awareness Week 2017

Since 1969 we’ve been working tirelessly to help find better treatments for people with Parkinson's. Whilst we've made developments in some areas, the last significant drug discovery for Parkinson's was over 50 years ago.

We know Parkinson's drugs aren’t good enough. They don't stop, slow down or reverse the condition or its effects. They can only mask some symptoms for a time – and they can have distressing side effects.

People with Parkinson's need a breakthrough. And we won't wait any longer.

That's why in Parkinson's Awareness Week, which will run from 10-16 April 2017 we'll be launching our new campaign – We Won’t Wait – asking the public to donate and support our new research approach. We’ll also be raising awareness of the need for better treatments.

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The Hidden Heartache Of One In Four

Baby Loss Awareness Week runs from 9-15 October. Last year, we featured a blog entitled I Am One in Four by Alison Carr. That’s because one in every four pregnancies in the UK end in miscarriage. Alison suffered not just one miscarriage. In total, she had five!

Having three or more miscarriages is termed recurrent miscarriage and affects one in every 100 pregnancies. In her blog, Alison spoke movingly about her ‘grief, fear, pain, jealously, self-recrimination and self-loathing’ which grew with every miscarriage, and of the lack of specialist bereavement counselling to help her come to terms with her losses.

She also talked about the lack of specialist care for women in Northern Ireland who experience recurrent miscarriage, and having to make multiple trips to London to attend a specialist clinic. Alison is one of the lucky ones. Some women are never offered referrals to specialist clinics. Alison got the diagnosis and treatment she needed and, today, she is the proud mother of two girls.

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Caring For Someone With Huntington’s Disease Means Having To Grow Up Fast

Ashley Clarke, a carer, full time student, volunteer and trustee of Huntington’s Disease Association Northern Ireland (HDANI) describes her experience of caring for her dad who has Huntington’s.

When I was 14 years old my father was diagnosed with Huntington's, an incurable brain disease that slowly breaks down the centre of the brain causing a gradual loss of control over movement, speech, behaviour and thoughts. 

At the age of 16 I became his carer along with my brother Ryan. Two years is not much time to adjust and face the harsh reality of HD. From then I have had to watch him change every day as the HD mask takes over his whole body, mind and mannerisms.

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Organ Donation – Having Information To Make Decisions

There are currently around 657,000 people from Northern Ireland on the NHS Organ Donation Register, that’s around 36% of the total population.

5th September 2016, sees the start of Organ Donation Week, a time when the organ donation and transplant community raise awareness of organ donation.

There are many cultural and religious reasons why people would choose to donate their organs or not. It is and should remain a decision based on individual values and beliefs.

While it’s a personal choice, and regardless of the outcome of the decision, its important family and friends are aware of a person’s wishes. We know there is a willingness to discuss dying and related issues, because people openly share their views and experiences with us when we meet them in community halls, shopping centres, cafes and other places across Northern Ireland.

People have told us that information on practical issues such as writing a will, making funeral arrangements, advice on insurance,

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What’s The Real Cost Of Unused Medicines?

There is no doubt that with an ageing population, the pressures on healthcare services will continue to grow, so more effective and efficient ways of using resources and delivering services in the future need to be adopted.

The Health and Social Care Board launched a campaign called Wipe out waste. Keep your eyes peeled for it throughout September! They say £18 million is wasted in Northern Ireland every year from medications not being used or thrown away. They’re encouraging people to help reduce waste, by checking their stock before re-ordering and letting their doctor or pharmacist know if they think they are getting too much.

It’s interesting to know the cost of medicine waste and what it could be spent on, if saved. For example, the Health and Social Care Board say that £18 million is the equivalent to 19,000 cataract operations; 700 community nurses; or 1200 treatments for breast cancer. Do you think having information like this can make a difference to people’s actions in Northern Ireland?

To view or add a comment, click here

Courtesy of Patient & Client Council

Raising Awareness Of Sarcoma

Sarcomas are rare cancers that develop in the supporting or connective tissues of the body such as muscle, bone, nerves, cartilage, blood vessels and fat. Paul’s Campaign started in 2011, after a young man called Paul from Derry, passed away, following a battle with Sarcoma. Lisa-Marie Holden, from Paul’s Campaign explains more.

Pauls’ Campaign was created to bring about greater awareness of Sarcoma.  Our aim from the very beginning is to educate health professionals in this field of cancer, and to highlight the signs and symptoms of Sarcoma among members of the public.

We held our first awareness walk in August 2011.  It started off at Sainsbury’s, along the Quay, over the Craigavon Bridge, over the Foyle bridge and down to DaVinci’s, where Paul had worked as a chef.  Since starting this walk, it has grown every year.  After the first year, we decided to hold the walk in July, as that’s Sarcoma Awareness Month and walk along the Derry walls in the heart of the City.

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Patients' Views On Diabetes

With more than 86,000 people in Northern Ireland living with Diabetes, we’ve been gathering patients’ views on the condition and their hopes for services in the future. Deepak Samson explains more.


‘Setting the record straight’ is the theme for Diabetes Awareness Week and that’s exactly what we’ve been helping people to do.

Over the past few months we’ve been talking to diabetic patients to understand what’s working well for them and how they feel services could be improved.

Patients really value the care they receive from staff, and acknowledge the pressure they are often under.

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What's It Really Like For People Living With Dementia And Their Families?

We’re living longer, which is something to celebrate, however, living longer, can bring more health complications.

This week is Dementia Awareness Week, and a lot has been happening to raise awareness of this condition.

Dementia mostly affects people over the age of 70 and is uncommon in people under the age of 60 but it can appear, though rarely, in people in their 40s or younger.  At the Balmoral Show last week, we heard from many hundreds of people who highlighted ‘care of the elderly’ as something they’d like our decision makers to focus on.

We all know someone who has dementia: a neighbour, a friend, a colleague, a family member.  A report from the Department of Health states that around23,000 people in Northern Ireland will be living with dementia, by 2017.

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