Leeds: Cash to support city’s women

SUPPORT NETWORK: Mark Burns Williamson
SUPPORT NETWORK: Mark Burns Williamson
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A charity is aiming to keep eastern European women safe from sexual grooming after receiving thousands of pounds in cash seized from criminals.

Getaway Girls, based in Harehills, has recruited a woman who speaks Czech, Polish and Slovak, along with another worker, to carry out outreach work in Banstead Park and Ashton Park.

The charity supports vulnerable young women aged 11-25 to build confidence and develop new skills on issues including relationships, family, health and housing.

It received a grant of £4,480 from the Safer Communities Fund run by West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Mark Burns-Williamson, which uses money seized under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

Getaway Girls director Flavia Docherty said: “The funding is crucial for helping to keep very vulnerable young women safe.

“The workers support the young women who are not known to other services or who don’t want to engage with statutory services.

“The funding helps to make a real difference to young women’s lives by offering support when they need it in a space where they feel staff understand them.

“Without this funding, girls would be more at risk of exploitation and without the support they need to help them take steps to change their lives.”

Mr Burns-Williamson, said: “Helping vulnerable young women avoid being sexually exploited is vital and offering this mobile service at the two local parks is an effective way to reach them and offer this support. It was great to visit the area last year and hear directly about the Getaway Girls project.”