Getaway Girls from Harehills notch up double at awards event in London

An inspirational charity which helps empower girls and young women has scooped a double at a national awards ceremony.

Tuesday, 18th February 2020, 5:00 pm
Getaway Girls punch the air after picking up their second gong of the evening at the Children & Young People Now Awards. Picture: Julian Dodd.

Getaway Girls, from Harehills, was honoured twice at the Children & Young People Now awards ceremony in London.

It won the prestigious Children and Young People’s Charity award, and the Youth Work title at the awards do. The event is considered to be ‘the gold standard for everyone working with children, young people and families’.

Getaway Girls works with girls and young women aged 11 to 25 to build their confidence, develop new skills and take positive risks in an environment which offers cooperation and support.

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Getaway Girls Rachel, left, Ripa, Rebecca, Sharandeep at the awards ceremony in London.

The charity, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary, 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.

Flavia Docherty, director of Getaway Girls said: “We are really proud that Getaway Girls won the Youth work Award, and the Children and Young People’s Charity award. We were really surprised to win as we are a local charity supporting young women for 30 years. We have fantastic team of staff, volunteers, trustees and young women who work well together to make a difference in young women’s lives.”

Getaway Girls’ peer educator Sharandeep was one of those who attended the awards ceremony at the Hurlingham Club in Fulham.

She said: “It was really exciting to go to the awards ceremony with all the other amazing organisations who make a difference to the lives of children and young people around the country.”

The Getaway Girls team pose for a picture in front of the 'Warrior Girl' mural. Picture: Sam Toolsie

She was thrilled Getaway Girls had been shortlisted twice but didn’t think they would win as they were up against national organisations. But Sharandeep added: “As the awards ceremony began the tension started to build. We felt really nervous and excited. Leigh Middleton, the chief executive from National Youth Agency, announced the winner of the Youth Work Award. As he said the words ‘Getaway Girls’ we were really shocked.

“We did it. We actually did it. We won the Youth Work Award. I’m still shocked now and really happy and proud we won.”

But the excitement and adulation didn’t end there.

Sharandeep added: “We’d had a fabulous night, and as it came to the last award of the evening, we didn’t think it could happen again. But it did, and we won again. This time, we were named the best children and young people’s charity in the country. Wow!”

Ripa, pictured as a youngster doing a 'leap of faith' activity with Getaway Girls, is now a trustee at the charity. Picture: Emily Docherty.

The award singles out ‘the charity or social enterprise that has made the most impressive contribution, at a local or national level, in improving the life chances of children, young people or families’.

It marks achievements that have been driven through a combination of innovative practice, effective partnership working or campaigning for change.

The peer educator added: “The judges praised Getaway Girls ‘sheer breadth, longevity, perseverance, and lessons it can offer others’. As we went to collect the award it still hadn’t sunk in: two awards at the national Children and Young People Now awards in our 30th Birthday year. How do we top this?”

Plans are already in the pipeline for a big event on May 1 which will celebrate the impact of Getaway Girls’ work.

To find out more about the charity see: getawaygirls.co.uk.

FACT FILE:

Getaway Girls helps to build young women’s confidence and resilience.

The Harehills based group became a charity 30-years-ago. It grew out of a youth group that was formed in 1987 and specialised in outdoor pursuits.

Getaway Girls’ current director Flavia Docherty was involved as a girls youth worker back in the early days. She said: “Originally it was outdoor pursuits, adventure education and building confidence. Now it is much more broader and all the issues. It’s anything that affects young women in Leeds.”

The charity helps them develop new skills and take positive risks in an environment which offers co-operation and support.

The organisation also supports very diverse groups of young women in terms of cultural backgrounds and needs. It strives to help young women who experience barriers or discrimination.

Examples include: Young mums and young women at risk at early pregnancy; Those who are excluded or have struggled with school and college; And young women who have experienced domestic violence.

They’ve also helped young women at risk of sexual exploitation. Over the past five years Getaway Girls has developed the Safe Space/Safer Spaces scheme. It is a prevention/early intervention service supporting girls identified as low to medium risk of CSE (Child Sexual Exploitation).