Housing Executive Paints a New Future for Belfast Women with Ceramics Class

Two women examine a ceramic figurine.
Local residents attending the ceramics painting class

A Social Enterprise Investment Programme grant from the Housing Executive is making a real difference to the lives of Belfast women by allowing them to participate in a ceramics painting class.

The Housing Executive funded two employees, along with equipment and rental for the premises, allowing Shankill Women’s Centre to run the classes for women in Greater Shankill and North and West Belfast. 

Intended to facilitate social integration, the classes encourage women to gather and converse in areas where social isolation is prevalent. During each session, blank ceramics are poured and fired on site. They are then filed, polished and painted to create seasonal decorations, such as planters and figurines.

Held in the Shankill, the classes are facilitated by volunteers who teach participants a range of painting and brush techniques. The finished pieces are subsequently sold to local women on site at Shankill Women’s Centre and there is a long term plan to open a shop on the premises.

Participants Annie Bell and Hazel McLean put the finishing touches to a ceramic piece at the Shankill Women’s Centre Ceramics Class

Women in the Greater Shankill and North and West Belfast areas who would like to get involved may do so by dropping into the Shankill Women’s Centre, by emailing: trish@shankillwomenscentre.org or  by keeping  an eye on: https://www.facebook.com/Shankill-Womens-Centre-198201790255684/

Shankill resident, Betty Morrison, remarked:

“I was caring for my father full time and began to feel isolated, so I joined the ceramics class at Shankill Women’s Centre. Getting involved with this project has allowed me to make new friends whilst gaining skills and has really improved my wellbeing.”

Shankill Women’s Centre’s Betty Carlisle said:

“We’re grateful to the Housing Executive, whose funding has enabled us to reach residents in the North and West Belfast areas with our ceramics class. This project aims to nurture friendships in these areas, while reducing social isolation and promoting good community relations.

“We also hope, in the future, to develop the project to include a social enterprise.”

The Housing Executive’s Gwen Tener added:

“Shankill Women’s Centre’s ceramics class provides a welcoming space for participants to bond and to build social networks, helping them grow in confidence whilst reducing social isolation.  We are proud to support such a worthy initiative.”

Shankill Women's Centre's Ceramics Class

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