Seána Talbot talks about her involvement in the Newry Chapter and new opportunities she has taken up
Seána Talbot: I saw it on social media and I thought it looked interesting. I am passionate about supporting and informing women and am always looking for ways to strengthen my work. I’ve been a member of the Newry Chapter since the very first meeting and am really enjoying the experience.
|The Next Chapter: Tell us how you got involved in the programme.
Seána Talbot: I work full-time managing a Sure Start project, so unfortunately I couldn’t access any of the daytime training opportunities. However I’ve been to lots of evening meetings as well as the 'Women Champions of Peacebuilding' event in Monaghan and the #BalanceforBetter event at Stormont for International Women’s Day.
|The Next Chapter: How many of the activities have you been able to access?
Photo: Seána Talbot (second from the left) with other Next Chapter participants at The Next Chapter #BalanceforBetter event at Parliament Buildings, Stormont, to mark International Women's Day 2019
Seána Talbot: I have. I’m on the board of the Patient & Client Council, which is a statutory body. I had also been on a UK charity board for a number of years. However I hadn’t been a trustee on a NI-based charity until very recently. I’m now on not one but two local charity boards!
|The Next Chapter: What’s your background? Have you been involved in board work or civic life already?
Seána Talbot: We are PANGS supports women who are experiencing perinatal mental ill health – a crucial issue, while BirthWise focuses on supporting women through pregnancy, birth, and early parenthood – providing information and support, as well as opportunities to connect with others at the same stage. Both charities also have a strong campaigning focus, which is exciting, and both boards have a group of wonderful people who have come together to make things happen.
|The Next Chapter: Tell us more. What are the charities?
Seána Talbot: I’ve been involved in organising both the NI Maternal Mental Health Conference and the NI Positive Birth Conference, which have been really successful and influential events so far. We are Pangs offers support, networking and, excitingly, peer support training for women who wish to support others.
|The Next Chapter: That sounds amazing. What sorts of things do you do?
BirthWise has only been up and running since May, and we already have 1000 likes on facebook and 75 registered volunteers! Our volunteers are running a range of activities – from walking groups and Teddy Bears Picnics to breastfeeding groups and ‘Wee Ones meeting Wise Ones’ – an intergenerational meet-up in a residential home for older people.
Seána Talbot: We are still finalising the details, but we’re planning to run a series of events for local women, on a range of topics. We’re also considering formally constituting as a group, as sustainability is important to us.
|The Next Chapter: Fantastic! And what about your local Chapter? What’s your Community Project in the Newry Chapter?
Seána Talbot: That’s a tricky one, as The Next Chapter is such an excellent programme. I think I’d say being more flexible about the training times, so as to include working women who can’t use annual leave to attend.
|The Next Chapter: If you could change one thing about The Next Chapter programme, what would it be?
Seána Talbot: So many things! On a personal level I’m learning so much, making new friends, and discovering more about myself through the life coaching sessions. The programme is properly resourced, which is important. It feels as though the funders and coordinators genuinely respect women’s voices and want to support us to be those ‘Women Making a Difference’!
|The Next Chapter: And finally, what’s the best thing about The Next Chapter?
|The Next Chapter: Thank you very much for taking the time to talk to us Seána.
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