Leeds-based charity Getaway Girls is celebrating its 30th year this May by sharing 30 empowering stories from young women across the city whose lives the charity’s efforts have helped to change for the good.

Alongside sharing 30 stories from young women who have been involved with Getaway Girls in the last 30 years, the charity is also hosting an event to mark the occasion, to be hosted by Capital FM’s JoJo. The event will feature live performances, and an exhibition of the 30 stories and portraits of those sharing their experiences, and is being held at The Faversham on May 23rd with a private guest list.

Young women's charity shares empowering stories to celebrate 30 years

Getaway Girls, based in Harehills, Leeds, is a charity which empowers girls and young women aged 11–25 to build their confidence, develop new skills and take positive risks in an environment which offers cooperation and support.

Over the last 30 years, the charity has supported more than 12,560 young women through issues such as domestic violence, teenage pregnancy, poverty, low self-esteem, mental health needs, and sexual exploitation.

Commenting on the anniversary year, Flavia Docherty, Director of Getaway Girls said:

“We’re delighted to be celebrating 30 years of supporting the young women of Leeds. As with any small charity, it’s never an easy ride, with raising the money we need growing ever more difficult due to the lack of government funding, however, our work is extremely rewarding.

“We decided that the best way to celebrate the occasion would be to share some of the powerful stories we’ve encountered over the years, after all – that’s what it’s all about!”

The stories highlight a range of issues experienced by young women in Leeds, featuring first-hand accounts of overcoming adversity with the help of the charity.

Alice, a young mum shared her story of being bullied at school, getting in with the wrong crowd and becoming pregnant aged 17:

“I was really badly judged for being pregnant at 17. I didn’t think I had a future and got a bit lost, becoming very isolated and withdrawn, just staying at home all the time.

“I joined the mums’ group and loved Getaway Girls straight away. I felt welcome, supported and understood. As the mums group is funded by Children in Need I was asked to represent Getaway Girls by meeting Children in Need workers. I was chosen to be part of the BearFaced campaign and went to London for a photo shoot at Rankin’s studio. All of these opportunities have helped me to build my confidence and Getaway Girls has really helped me through some difficult times.”

Bianca shared her story of wanting to inspire the next generation of black women:

“Being part of Getaway Girls gave me the confidence and drive to be the best I can be as a young black woman and the chance to meet other like-minded minority young women. I was also able to learn more about my heritage. Getaway Girls provides a safe place for girls to be inspired, experience new experiences, learn about the world and be themselves.

“I am currently finishing my teacher training in Primary Education which has been a stressful but really rewarding experience. In September I will have my first class in a primary school. Sometimes I’m the only black person in the school and I want to inspire black girls to achieve and reach their potential.”

Emma spoke about her experience of mental health needs:

“I’ve always had mental health problems ever since I was thirteen. I was involved in Children Adolescent Mental Health Service when I was younger and went into the hospital when I was seventeen, then there was no support when I turned eighteen. I hadn’t been to any places like Getaway Girls before.

“I’d never been to a place that made me feel so welcome. I felt like I’d found my place. It feels like a home from home. No one judges you. I always look forward to going to Getaway Girls.”

To find out more about Getaway Girls and the upcoming anniversary event, please visit: https://getawaygirls.co.uk/