A team of fundraising swimmers are urging residents to back a charity helping women working in the sex industry in Leeds.
Kate Brown, chair of trustees at the Genesis charity, is one of three staff and supporters of the organisation who are collectively swimming six miles in the Great North Swim at Lake Windermere this weekend.
The 35-year-old University of York lecturer, from Whitkirk, has warned that during times of austerity Genesis’ services are needed more than ever amid financial challenges and social poverty.
Genesis has been supporting sex workers and sexually exploited young people in Leeds, offering health advice, therapy, safety advice and items like food and condoms, for more than 25 years.
Kate told the YEP: “There are lots of pressures on services which mean that we are not always able to meet demand.
“Genesis is a small charity and lots of other agencies funded through local Government money are facing pressures. It is a challenging time to be in safeguarding and support.”
She will take part in the swim alongside fellow Genesis supporters Amber Wilson, 41, and Carolyn Snell, 36, and they are hoping to collectively raise awareness of the in-demand services Genesis offers as well as around £1,500 for the charity by taking part in the swim.
Kate added: “A lot of the difficulties that sex workers face are related to the fact that people don’t know much about it and that there’s a lot of stigma around sex work.
“The women face a lot of disadvantages as a result of more negative attitudes towards their work. One of the things that we’re trying to do with the organisation is to tackle some of that.”
The Great North Swim, which runs from June 12 to 14, attracts up to 10,000 swimmers who tackle distances of between half a mile to 3.1miles every year.
Visit justgiving.com/Kate-Brown18 to donate or genesisleeds.org.uk for details.