About Longford Women’s Link
Longford Women’s Link Ltd (LWL) was founded by 3 members of the Longford ICA to provide back to education and training opportunities for women who had left school early or who had to leave work when they got married. Most of these women had been working in the home, or caring for sick relatives or on farms particularly in rural areas of Longford. There were no state supports for these women to retrain into employment as they had not been paying stamps so under the company name of Longford ICA Now Ltd; these women sourced funding from the NOW, Equal & Equal II programmes for female entrepreneur projects. As the issue of Domestic Violence became apparent and as the number and type of services provided also increased, the name of the organisation was legally changed to Longford Women’s Link. However, the link to the ICA remains and in line with LWL’s Memo & Arts, the current Longford ICA Federation President is always invited onto the Board for the duration of her Tenure and afterwards is she so wishes.
Vision, Purpose and Priorities
LWL is a Community organisation and Social Enterprise based in Longford Town. We believe strongly in supporting the development of collective approaches to achieving equality, working in solidarity and making relevant the connections between the local and the national levels. We work passionately to directly address inequality and associated disadvantage. LWL is a significant contributor to the economy of Longford. With the recent appointment as Lead Sponsor for all DSP CE Childcare schemes in the county, LWL now employs 110 staff and by the end of 2015 will have a turnover in the region of €2.2m much of which is spent in the local economy.
LWL’s vision is that
‘Women in Longford can achieve their full potential in a safe and equal society’
From our experience of supporting women on the ground we have concluded that there are three key issues that many women in Longford face that contribute to and maintain poverty and disadvantage for them and their families:
1. Lack of Economic Independence
2. Specific needs of Women from New Communities
3. Domestic Violence (DV)
We attempt to address these issues through our ‘Integrated Model of Service Delivery’ which is driven by the recognition that disadvantage is complex and that generally, no one single intervention is enough to address the problem.
is to link women with resources to help improve and change their own and their families’ lives providing a knock on transformative effect on the local community.
Our Three priority areas of work are:
- Providing DIRECT SUPPORT to individuals – services include Domestic Violence Support, counselling, support for migrant women and community childcare
- Building Community Capacity by providing ACCESS to affordable – Community Education & Training. (critical here is the removal of access barriers)
- Collective Lobbying & Advocacy – to make sure women’s VOICE is taken into account at local, regional & national decision making.
Within each of these priorities we provide a myriad of services and interventions which are available to all of the women attending our centre. The premise is to move women from the initial stage of crisis and severe disadvantage through the various services so that they come out the other end with a realistic degree of economic and social independence and are in a position to provide for themselves and their families as they would wish and not as society dictates.
We believe that Citizen Engagement is key to developing an equal and participative society and one of our flagship programmes (Longford Women’s Manifesto Project) focuses on working with local elected representatives and
informing grassroots women on where they need to be in order to participate in the local decision making process e.g. they need to be on the Community & Voluntary Forum which as a result of the Local Government Reform Act will soon be reconfigured as a Public Participation Network (PPN) and if possible get elected to the Local Community Development Committee (LCDC).
Within each of these priorities, we have identified a number of strategic objectives:
Strategic Objective 1:
To provide effective and accessible responses to the identified barriers that prevent equal participation of women in their community
Building Community Capacity – Access
Strategic Objective 2:
Longford women’s social and economic independence is increased.
Strategic Objective 3:
Women’s collective voice in Longford is making a positive impact on the local community.
Advocacy – Voice
Strategic Objective 4:
The achievement of LWL’s policy development priorities positively impact on the lives of lone parents, victims of domestic violence and new communities both locally and nationally
Strategic Objective 5
To promote an Integrated Service Model as the primary means of addressing complex disadvantage
Strategic Objective 6:
To ensure LWL has the capacity to deliver on its strategic objectives.