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On the 1st February, Sinn Féin MLA Ciara Ferguson returned to meet with FWIN to discuss the issues affecting women in the North-West. This was a part of our continued engagement with the Sinn Féin team, following our lobbying session with First Minister Delegate Michelle O’Neill, MLA’s Pádraig Delarg and local Sinn Féin councillor Emma McGinley in November.

We used this opportunity to lobby MLA Ferguson on a range of issues that our membership face. The Cost-of-Living Crisis remained our main point of discussion, where we elaborated on the impacts of our Christmas Present Appeal and food bank donation drive, that took place as part of our Christmas Craft Event. FWIN emphasised the detrimental impact that this crisis poses for parents and families in particular, and how the two-child benefit cap should be removed in order to better support them.

During a recent session of our “Getting Together Club,” many of our members stated the difficulties they face living in the city with a disability. We were able to relay their concerns directly to MLA Ferguson and deliberate ways in which we can heighten disability awareness in our roles. FWIN were also able to directly refer some of our member’s specific cases to MLA Ferguson to rectify.

Other topics we addressed included Childcare, the Violence Against Women and Girls and Gender Inclusion Strategies, Peacebuilding, the Legacy of the Good Friday Agreement and Funding for Women’s Sector Organisations.

FWIN were delighted to be able to showcase the work we have been doing establishing our “Getting Together Club,” running many of our creative classes to tackle isolation and planning ahead to represent the North-West at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women 67 in the USA next month.

MLA Ferguson and the wider Sinn Féin team wish to continue to engage with FWIN and the Women’s Sector, and plan to meet with us on a regular basis going forward.

We are keen to keep conversations with all relevant politicians moving forward, in order for us to amplify the voices of women across the North-West.