Women’s network hits key funds’ withdrawal

by Aisling Kennedy

VITAL funding used by the Southside Women’s Action Network (SWAN) to provide counselling services to disadvantaged women is set to be cut by the HSE over the coming weeks.
Loughlinstown-based SWAN is an organisation that provides many services, including information, advice, support, and counselling services for women throughout Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown.
The HSE informed SWAN in July that it would no longer be funding the counselling service beyond the end of 2015.
SWAN appealed the decision, but in September the HSE informed them that their appeal was unsuccessful.
A spokesperson from SWAN told The Gazette that the board is devastated at the loss in funding for the organisation’s counselling service.
The spokesperson said: “The counselling service is a major part of SWAN’s work with women in the disadvantaged communities of Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown.
“In line with the HSE Grant Aid Agreement, over the past 17 years SWAN’s counselling service has built a trusting relationship with our client group. This relationship enables women to seek help from our services without fear of judgement or stigmatisation.
“Being a community-based counselling service has an enormous benefit for service users. SWAN is a wraparound project which provides psycho-social services at the heart of the community – counselling, education, information and social activities, all aimed at social inclusion.”
The spokesperson said that SWAN’s counselling service also met the needs of what the HSE National Drugs Rehabilitation Framework were looking for, and added that they worked closely with addiction services and had built strong working alliances over the years.
“In light of the changes taking place within the HSE, and having already lost our family support service in September, we are devastated that our counselling service is now closing.
“This closure will have a detrimental effect on our clients, their families and the whole community in general. Once again, services are being cut where they are most needed,” said the spokesperson.
The HSE had not responded to a request for comment by the time of going to print.
Cllr Deirdre Donnelly (Ind) said: “It is disgraceful that funding cuts of this nature can have such a detrimental effect on a community.”
Carol Hunt, who is running as an Independent in the next General Election, said: “With all the current talk of economic ‘recovery’, one would have to ask has it become Government policy to take funding from those women and children who need it most? It’s quite disgusting.”

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