2011 Clore Social Fellow Jacqueline Williamson is Chief Executive and founder of Kinship Care Northern Ireland, a charitable organisation providing help and support to grandparents and other kinship carers who are raising their family and friends children.
Thanks to Jacqueline's Fellowship, Kinship Care NI is transforming the lives of thousands of families. Incredibly, it even secured cross party support and a 'Motion on Kinship Care' in the Northern Ireland Assembly in March 2012:
“At the start of my Fellowship the charity Kinship Care NI had just been established. I had two trustees, a charity number and nothing else. Today, Kinship Care NI is recognized across Northern Ireland, we have secured cross party support and a Motion on Kinship Care in the Assembly, we have launched a book of short stories, developed a strategic plan and launched an important piece of research. Kinship carers are starting to stand up for themselves and we have four support groups operating across Northern Ireland. In addition, we have two Big Lottery applications at final stages and a group of volunteers raising awareness of kinship care in local communities. I have Clore Social and my Fellowship to thank for that.”
As well as undertaking coaching, mentoring and Action Learning Sets to help her develop her leadership skills and qualities, Jacqueline undertook a secondment with Zest, a charity which exists to address the problems which lead to suicidal behaviour and self-harm in young people and adults.
In November 2012, Jacquie published We are family: Key messages for Kinship Care in Northern Ireland. This practice-based research was the culmination of Jacquie’s Clore Social Fellowship, bringing together her knowledge, experience and extensive connections in the field.
In 2013 Jacqueline was nominated for Woman of the Year, she submitted an application to undertake a professional PhD to further develop her research into kinship care and secured a six-figure sum to develop Kinship Care NI’s work.