Derry Well Women has been identifying, addressing and meeting the health and social care needs of women families and communities in the North West since 1989
Derry Well Women has, for the past 25 years, been committed to a social justice based approach to addressing health inequalities, advocating and taking action on a range of factors which determine health status.
In 1987, Derry Well Women started as an idea among a group of friends who, having experienced dissatisfaction with the care they received, began to dream about developing a women’s health centre. Our door on Queen Street opened in November 1989 and that dream has materialised over succeeding years.
We have promoted a view of health beyond the medical model acknowledging the key and central role of a commitment to social justice, essential for any society dedicated to improving health.
Derry Well Women was the first to provide generic, woman centred free counselling in Derry; to the fore in the development of community based services for cancer through the development of the first cancer support group, provision of cancer counselling and the development of a cancer patients Charter as well as community based eating disorders services, provision of menopause clinic and support for women directly affected by the Troubles.
Derry Well Women also created and continues to provide a raft of mental health and well being supports including pioneering programmes such as The Well Programme (for women living with cancer), Confidence to Question, Mindfulness and Journey to Inner Peace.
We have also developed and implemented a new model of health improvement within which life changing programmes are developed by and for women who are most disadvantaged by inequalities and who live on the margins of an already marginalised part of the island of Ireland.
Derry Well Women was the first Third Sector organisation to lead a cross border, cross sector, network of organisations committed to action to reduce health inequalities. This resulted in the publication of “Levelling Up”, Ireland’s first cross border plan for Social Inclusion.
Over twenty five years we have been there for times of change and we have led change.
We have linked with local women’s groups across the North and along the Border regions of Ireland, sharing with and learning from them about how we can best together improve family and community well being by changing women’s lives.
The current economic climate has brought devastating change to and challenges for women generally and for the women’s sector in Ireland.
Our launch of a three year Strategic Plan is a statement of determined conviction that Derry Well Women will continue to stand with ordinary women to secure gender equality, health equality and social justice.
Derry Well Women is an award winning organisation 1999 winner of GSK Community Health Impact Awards 1999 and 2010.
Winners of Clothes Workers Governance Award for
Foundation of the centre
The centre was established to:
- provide a comprehensive and accessible service for women, run by women, which encompasses a whole range of women’s health issues
- reach women, who for whatever reason, normally stay away from doctors
- provide health care in a relaxed and non-clinical atmosphere
- increase understanding about women’s health care provision
- recognise and welcome the development of complementary therapies
- actively encourage the formation of self-help and support groups both therapeutic and educational in nature
- provide health promotion for women
- seek more effective ways of preventing and meeting women’s health problems
Over the decades since we were founded, we have developed a number of projects addressing physical, emotional and social health issues for women. The programmes include:
- Four counselling services: Generic; Listening Ear; Cancer; Miscarriage;
- Menopause clinic;
- Six support groups;
- Courses and classes on complementary approaches to healing;
- Mental health and well-being programmes.
We train community counsellors through our Certificate in Community Counselling, Advanced Solution Focused Brief Therapy Course, Effective Listening skills and our Harmony Project – funded by the Victims Survivor Service.
We have successfully campaigned for change in respect of a number of health issues e.g. cancer, P.N.D., menopause. We are centrally involved in a number of partnerships including The Western Locality Cancer Steering Group, Emotional Health and Suicide Prevention Strategic Implementation Group, CAWT, Social Inclusion Project Board, The WHSCT Patient Client Experience Group, The Foyle Form on Domestic Violence and Derry Healthy Cities.
In 1997 Derry Well Women won the HSS Executive Citizens’ Charter Award for the Development of a Cancer Charter.
In 2019 Derry Well Women were winners of Cloth Workers Governance Award for Improving Impact
In 1999 & 2010 Derry Well Women won the prestigious GSK Community Health Impact Awards, as judged by the King’s Fund.