We spoke to Pamela Callaghan; Pamela is the pre-entry group coordinator for the Tiglin Women’s Centre in Brittas Bay, Co. Wicklow. We talked to her about her work and why she is passionate about it and about her contribution to society as a whole on this tiny Isle of Éire. This is what she had to say:

Women in our care, Brittas Bay, Co. Wicklow Women's Centre 

“I work as a pre-entry coordinator, so basically, what that means is I go into the communities, and I meet with the women who are looking to access treatment. Sometimes there can be a long wait to get into the treatment, it could be they haven’t met the criteria yet, so they still have a bit of a hill to climb. So, I would support them in the meantime. To take the fear of treatment out of them.

It could be their first time going treatment, it could be that some of the women haven’t left their house in a long time, so it’s a big deal for them to go to the meetings. It is to support them until they go to the centre.

I see the difference with the women that are coming to the meetings. One woman in particular [currently in rehabilitation] told me “I’m here only because you were ringing me and staying in touch with me”. So, it’s all about encouraging them and bringing life and hope into the distress.

When the women walk into the centre they don’t walk in with their heads down. They walk in with their heads up. They walk in straight with the attitude of “bring it on”. They’re excited about it and still nervous, but that’s where the pre-entry groups and connecting with them comes in; it takes the fear away.

Pamela speaks on giving hope to women

I do the pre-entry groups in Bray and Clondalkin. We had a few girls on the waiting list, so the situation was; the bed was not available for a while. They still have a bit of a hill to climb, so to say we have a bed, but it isn’t available for a few months was not enough. So with the groups, we can lead them up to the day they go to the centre. After the first contact is made, we stay in touch with them.

The most important thing I focus on is encouraging the ladies and bringing hope. Never judging them and letting them know they are not alone, and there is a way out, and Tiglin is that way out. Creating those bridges is important, and I’m so grateful to be that bridge; I love it, I absolutely love it. I love my job.

The best lesson I’ve learned is that anyone can lose it all. That it can happen to anyone and that there is beauty. I always ask the girls, “What did you do before addiction? What do you like to do? It brings them back and it takes the doom and gloom away from their current situation. People are born with gifts and talents; addiction robs all of that. Anyone can end up there, so it’s important to have compassion and empathy for everyone.

Leaving the drug behind and taking on recovery

As long as you have a glimmer of hope you’ll keep going. It’s the people that have no hope that fail. Its hopelessness, some people genuinely think, “what is the point”? They don’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. Hope is everything. Anybody can end up there, but anybody can get out of it as well”.

Seeing the girls on the other side, seeing the new them..

It is about being there to support them, to make them know they are seen and know that they are valued. It’s only to sit down to have a coffee and a chat. To check in with them, ask about their week and their plans going forward. Just showing that you care, it makes a difference. It goes a long way to sit down and look at someone and smile and to ask about their week and mean it. I am so passionate about my work because I’ve seen the destruction addiction brings to families, and most of the women that come in have no hope. They don’t see a way out.
If you know anyone that is in need of help; do not hesitate to contact our team though the link below:

Tiglin Column 

Tiglin Column: 19th of February, 2022