13 Aug 2022

Heather McKenna is new Domestic Violence Specialist at Longford Women's Link

Hungarian Ambassador to Ireland visits LWL

Longford Women's Link

Hungarian Ambassador to Ireland visits LWL

Over the last few years, Longford Women’s Link Domestic Violence Service has been working hard to support women who experience abuse and violence in their homes.

PHOTO above shows Hungarian Ambassador to Ireland visiting LWL 

Longford Women’s Link were delighted to welcome Mrs Judit Tóth from ICB - International Charity Bazaar Dublin and her husband, His Excellency the Ambassador of Hungary, Istvan Palffy to LWL on Thursday, October 25.

ICB has shortlisted LWL for a possible sponsorship of €8,000 for the ‘Domestic Violence peer support group’ project. LWL Domestic Violence Support Service welcomed the opportunity to showcase the work of the service to to Mrs Tóth and the Ambassador ahead of their final deliberations.

Pictured left to right are; Stephanie Igoe (Chairperson LWL), Angela Keaveny (DV Service Co-ordinator), Judit Tóth (ICB), Louise Lovett (CEO LWL) and Istvan Palffy (Hungarian Ambassador to Ireland).

Heather McKenna is new Domestic Violence Specialist at LWL continued......

They have seen the demands for their service increase month on month over the last few years, and while they endeavour to give every woman the best service possible, the pressure on staff and service resources has been immense.

That is why LWL Domestic Violence Service are so happy to welcome their new full time staff member, Heather McKenna, who will be working as a Domestic Violence Specialist. Heather comes to the service with huge experience and wisdom to share.

Heather is originally from Streete, in County Westmeath. She went to school at Mullingar Community College and attended Athlone Institute of Technology where she studied Social Care.

For three years, Heather worked with young people experiencing homelessness through the Salvation Army at Laffoy House in Dublin.

Many of the young people she worked with were emerging from care into homeless, and it was Heather’s responsibility to help them adjust and find suitable housing and employment. She found the work challenging, but extremely gratifying to witness the resilience of young people facing difficult life circumstances.

Heather then moved on to Galway, where she took up work as a Family Support Worker for two and a half years, helping parents and children individually and as a unit develop their strengths and coping strategies.

She liked the fact she was based in the community, and she grew to appreciate the diversity of her work. She was allowed to get involved in all divergent community activities like art programmes, youth discos, and community festivals.

This then led Heather closer to home, to Women’s Link in Longford. Heather feels her skill set matched the area of work in the Domestic Violence Service. The most surprising thing about the job so far for Heather is that there is a considerable focus on staff wellness and self-care.

She has been impressed by the emphasis on team support through debriefings and outside supervision. This ensures that staff never feel overloaded with the difficult issues they are interacting with every day. Heather believes that this shows the organisation recognises the importance of staff well-being in such challenging work.

During her free time, Heather is a busy mother, and is occupied with all the things other mothers know too well: cleaning, cooking, and running after an active daughter.

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