Our Vision

All young women and girls in Leeds will lead safe, healthy and fulfilled lives

Our Mission

Getaway Girls empowers girls and young women to support each other to build confidence, resilience, raise aspirations, develop new skills and take positive risks in a positive environment which offers co-operation and support.

We achieve this through our strength based approach, recognising young women’s strengths, abilities, talents and lived experience.

Our work is a balance of support, challenge/ opportunities and fun.

Our achievements

Getaway Girls has empowered girls and young women in Leeds for over 30 years. We have supported over 13,500 young women to learn new skills, build confidence, resilience and aspiration.

To hear about how we’ve positively impacted the lives of young women for over 30 years, download our 30 Years 30 Stories booklet.


Children and Young People Now National Awards:
Youth work award and Children
Young People’s Charity of the year

Leeds Compassionate City Awards:
Cultural Project of the year

Our Core Values & Principles

Our work is underpinned young women centred, strength based approaches where young women’s Voices & influence are important.

We work in partnership with young women, communities and other services.

All our paid staff, trustees, volunteers and peer educators are positive role models who care about making a difference.

Equality, diversity are important to us. We are welcoming & inclusive.

We develop creative, safe, flexible innovative projects.

We Empower young women to have their say and influence change locally and nationally.

Our journey

Getaway Girls was set up in 1987 and became a registered charity in 1990 originally to introduce young women to outdoor activities/ adventure education. It was felt that this was a male dominated area of work and in order to redress this Getaway Girls set about developing exciting opportunities for young women who may otherwise have a chance to try these activities.

Due to the changing needs of young women and new funding becoming available Getaway Girls expanded quickly. Getaway Girls has striven to remain flexible in its approach and as a result grew from being a small team to an organisation employing 18 staff and an active team of volunteers delivering a variety of projects. Our committed staff team have continued to offer a high quality service ensuring that Getaway Girls continues its reputation as an excellent organisation working with young women within Leeds.

Our team

Susan Allanson

Finance and Office Manager

I started working for Getaway Girls back in 2012 as Finance and Office Manager. I handle the finances at Getaway Girls, including planning project budgets, making payments and more. I produce reports necessary for monitoring and evaluation purposes. I’m also responsible for the smooth running of the office. I work closely with Flavia and assist my colleagues as and when required.

Before Getaway Girls, I’ve had a few jobs over the years, but when I started working in the community I knew that’s what I wanted to do. It is great to work for a charity that inspires young women and gives them a voice.

Hobbies: I’m potty about my dog Alfie, I spend most of my free time walking him with friends, it’s a great time to catch up, but it also keeps me fit. My husband joins me walking Alfie at the weekend, we love to find new walks and dog friendly café’s. I also enjoy going to the gym and meeting up with friends for lunch.

One of my favourite inspirational quotes comes from Malala Yousafzai “We realise the importance of our voices only when we are silenced.”

Flavia Docherty

Chief Executive (CEO)

I was involved in the start of Getaway Girls in 1987 and became the Director in 2010. My role is to manage the organisation including staff and resources.

My job is very varied and includes:
Plan for the present and future of Getaway Girls with our trustees staff, volunteers, peer educators and girls and young women
Ensure our work fits within Getaway Girls values, principles.
Produce clear plans and write reports evidencing our work
Recruit staff and oversee the quality of our work
Research Needs of young women and set up new services and projects based on needs
Fundraise for the work of Getaway Girls- approx. £440,000 per year,
Work with existing partnerships and alliances including Women’s Lives Leeds
Establish new partnerships and opportunities
Raise the profile, share good practice & represent Getaway Girls within Leeds and nationally,

I’m passionate about youth work and love working for Getaway Girls with an amazing diverse staff team who bring their knowledge, skills and experience to make a difference in young women’s lives. The best part of my job is knowing that we make a difference in young women’s lives.

I’ve worked for 38 years as a youth worker in Leeds and still love my job. I also enjoy listening to music, reading and spending time with my grandchildren.

Tshayi Hercules

Specialist CSE worker, voice & influence youth worker

My main duties involve supporting young women with low-medium level CSE risk, I plan and deliver group work in both primary and secondary schools, I facilitate the 13-16 girls group at Getaway Girls and also facilitate the Black Girl Magic forum.

What I love the most about working at Getaway Girls is firstly my team, who are all very supportive and the support, challenge and fun that we offer to young women in Leeds. Knowing the impact it has makes the organisation a great place to work.

Education: After leaving school I attended college and achieved a National Diploma in performing arts, this has always been something I have been very passionate about.

Hobbies: My hobbies are going to the theatre, socialising and spending time with family and friends, listening to music or attending concerts with some of my favourite artists. I love to do drama, dance and any other type of performance led work. I love to read, I enjoy doing yoga and meditating and the list goes on..!

My favourite quote is from Maya Angelou: “We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.”

Shanaz Kashem

Complex Needs Worker

I’m Shanaz Complex Needs Worker for Women’s Lives Leeds working in partnership with Getaway Girls.

My role is to support 13-21 year olds on a one to one, long-term basis with their emotional well-being when facing multiple barriers and challenges. These issues can range from challenging mental health, substance misuse, domestic abuse/coercion/gendered violence, CSE, isolation, poverty and destitution, the challenge of being new migrants, support for those leaving care, homelessness (or risk of homelessness), risk taking behaviours, young people on CN or CP plans as well as other issues affecting young women. I’m really passionate about making a difference to the lives of others and the role of Complex Needs Worker offers me this opportunity.

I love working at Getaway Girls because we support young women in a really positive and unique way. We are a charity doing grassroots work in the community and we reach diverse groups of young women. This is also reflected in our staff team. I feel passionate, like all of my colleagues, about supporting young women to keep safe through preventative work, to offer them a safe space to explore their challenges and to look at ways we can support them to make changes that they feel they need to enhance the quality of their lives.

I started working at Getaway Girls after a career break to bring up my children. As a teenager, I was part of a local youth group run by Flavia, Getaway Girls now Director. I remember the difference that that work had made to my life (as the child of new migrants to the UK) and the positive experiences I had as a young person.

Outside of work I love spending time with my family, my siblings, my nieces and nephews. I love learning so I am always trying to improve my understanding of the world. I also enjoy going to the gym and travelling when I can!

A couple of quotes that I love are;
“Every girl and every woman, has the potential to make this world a better place, and that potential lies in the act of thinking higher thoughts and feeling deeper things. When women and girls, everywhere, begin to see themselves as more than inanimate objects; but as beautiful beings capable of deep feelings and high thoughts, this has the capacity to create change all around. The kind of change that is for the better.”
– C. JoyBell C.

“You have to act as if it were possible to radically transform the world. And you have to do it all the time.” - Angela Davis

Sara Abraham

Groups youth worker

I first got involved with Getaway girls young mum’s group for support. With all the support I received from GG I then wanted to become a mentor for other young mums who had similar experiences as me. Before I started my volunteering role I completed the introduction to the youth work course. I then started off as a volunteer supporting the group side by side. I supported the young women with their mental health and supported women who had language barriers within the group. I speak several languages including Amharic and Arabic.

Gaining the experience as a volunteer gave me the confidence to then apply for a part time youth work role at GG. I facilitate a group called Sisters which is for Eritrean and Ethiopian young women. When the women come to the group it allows them to be themselves and to build on their confidence as the langue barrier is really hard for them in society. But also meeting young mums and women who face the same challenges. Alongside doing the sisters group I also facilitated the 16-19 Young Mums group and 11-13’s group. I have done groups in schools including Girls Talk and groups for young women new to Leeds.

By doing the activities it allowed them to express how they felt as there English was very minimal. It made me feel really happy that they were able to express their feelings though the work I was doing with them. By supporting the young girls in school it was encouraging them to come to GG and gain more support and come to our groups. Working at Getaway Girls makes me feel really good as a youth worker as I felt I was making a difference in supporting them. It has given me the strength and confidence be the best youth worker I can be.

My hobbies include enjoying time with my children and friends


Operations manager

I have been involved with Getaway Girls since 1987 attending various activities as a young woman and now working for Getaway Girls. I am the Operations Manager, my role involves supporting the daily operations of Getaway Girls, and this includes responsibility for the following areas overseeing staffing & HR & systems. Along with functioning at strategic level representing the organisation and CEO when required.

I have worked in the Third Sector in Leeds for over 20 years and have experience of community development, public health and managing various community projects. I am a trustee for a local women’s charity in South Leeds. I enjoy working with girls & young women promoting and advocating for women to have a voice and able to access their rights within society.

I want to empower women & girls to aspire for the future and gain access to better health care, education, and job prospects. Getaway Girls is a great place to work as it delivers innovative work which is in a relaxed safe space, empowering girls and women and offering fun & opportunity.
I did my undergraduate studies in London and had the opportunity to do a placement study abroad in Sri-lanka studying the Environment and Sustainable Development along with a Postgraduate degree in Development Studies in Leeds, meeting many amazing individuals along the way working for NGO’s. At present I am studying for a Postgraduate Diploma in Counselling & Psychotherapy.

I have two wonderful amazing daughters who are also passionate about making a difference for girls & young women and have been involved with activities & campaigns with Getaway Girls over the years.
I enjoy reading, visiting green spaces and have a passion for travelling and learning about history and culture. I have been fortunate to travel to many different countries from places like Brazil to across the world to Japan. This has enabled me to experience different cultures and has given me an insight into how people live and work.

One of my favourite quotes:
‘I raise up my voice not so I can shout but so that those without a voice can be heard’.
Malala Yousafzai (Pakistani activist for female education & youngest Nobel Prize laureate)

Zara Marcus

Safe Space, specialist Child Sexual Exploitation worker

I have worked at Getaway Girls for the past 11 years and have had many different roles. I currently work on the Safe Space Service as a specialist Child Sexual Exploitation worker. My work offers support to young women aged 11-18 in Leeds, working on a 121 basis, group work and detached outreach sessions looking at keeping safe and reducing the risk of harm.

What I did before
Before working at Getaway Girls; as a teenager I worked in catering. I especially like working at the Elland road stadium for the football matches as the atmosphere is fab! Whist I was studying at University for my degree in Youth and Community Development, I have worked in various jobs in retail, clubs and bars, and as a carer for people suffering with dementia. I love meeting new people and I’m very passionate about the work I do and continuing my professional development.

A bit about me
I’m from Leeds and love living and working here!
I have three young children who keep me extremely busy at home with various sporting activities, board games, reading and baking. When I have a bit of me time I love to read or catch up with friends for a nice meal and a giggle. One thing I’d like to do in the future is travel and visit & see as much of the world as possible! A road trip through Europe in a campervan would be an ideal start.

A quote that inspires me is from Maya Angelou:
We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty. This quote reminds me why I love working at Getaway Girls, we have the pleasure of witnessing the young people evolve, grow and develop their individual strengths and passions, within a safe structured environment with fun encompassing the work involved.

Daniella Somers

Inspiring Futures Worker

I first got involved with Getaway Girls during lockdown as a volunteer delivering food for the food bank and gift project.
My current position is a young women’s worker with the Inspiring futures team. My role involves looking at young women’s goals for the future, supporting them in thinking about the next steps in terms of education, employment and training.

I also facilitate the Dream it Real group sessions with the young women building their confidence and encouraging them to pursue their aspirations.

All the team at Getaway Girls are warm and welcoming. Meeting the young women and building relationships makes me happy. Seeing the women’s confidence grow is a wonderful feeling and the main reason why I love working for Getaway Girls.

In my spare time I enjoy the outdoors and being active. I am currently at University studying my post grad in Counselling and Interpersonal skills. I am optimistic and have a half glass full outlook on life.

My favourite quote is
“There is power in allowing yourself to be known and heard, in owning your unique story, in using your authentic voice.”
Michelle Obama


Young Women’s and Digital Media Worker

How did you get involved in Getaway Girls?
I applied for a position I heard about through a mutual friend.

What’s your job and what does it involve.
Young Women’s and Digital Media Worker – I manage the Social Media accounts and will be working with other digital organisations who wants to play a part of Getaway Girls future.

What’s the best thing about your job?
I get to advertise Getaway Girls and the amazing, life changing work they do on a daily basis.

Hobbies / interests or what are you passionate about?
Being a mother has been a dream come to life, I enjoy creating new memories with my family. I also love puzzles and creating new ideas.

A quote from a woman who Inspires You.
“Each time a woman stands up for herself, without knowing it possibly, without claiming it, she stands up for all women.” — Maya Angelou.
"I am grateful to be a woman. I must have done something great in another life.” — Maya Angelou.


Youth Support Worker

How did you get involved in Getaway Girls?
I was introduced to getaway girls in 2001 during my secondary school days. I really employed being part of Getaway Girls as I felt excluded from other social interactions. Getaway Girls helped me to build up my confidence and give me some sense of belonging.

What’s your job and what does it involve?
I am now a youth support worker at Getaways Girls,I support young woman, to develop new skills, encourage their aspirations, whilst providing support and guidance.

What’s the best thing about your job?
Coming back after all these years and now being part of the team is so refreshing for me. The staff are brilliant to work alongside, and the girls that attend are a lovely bunch. I hope I can make a difference in some way for the young woman here at Getaway girls.

Hobbies / interests or what are you passionate about?
I enjoy taking my dog Marlow for long walks. Writing and playing pool.

A quote from a woman who inspires You?
“strong woman don’t have attitudes, we have standards” by Marilyn Monroe.


Youth Support Worker

How did you get involved in Getaway Girls?
My journey with Getaway Girls started with me being there as a student on placement. Seeing the work Getaway Girls do firsthand allows me to see the impactful work they do. It sparked my passion for community engagement and youth advocacy. Now, as part of the team I am committed to empowering young women and fostering positive change.

What’s your job and what does it involve.
As a Youth Support Worker, my role involves collaborating with the lead worker to facilitate various youth groups. I actively engage with young people and help create a positive and safe environment. Additionally, I handle administrative tasks to ensure a smooth execution of our programs.

What’s the best thing about your job?
The most rewarding part of my job is to see the positive impact the work we do has on the young individuals. I particularly love seeing them open up to new people and make friends.

Hobbies / interests or what are you passionate about?
In my free time you will most likely find me with my nose in a book. I love reading romance and fantasy books. If not, my second favorite thing is being active, whether that's going on a walk or going to an women's football group I attend.

A quote from a woman who Inspires You.
"Women, they have minds, and they have souls, as well as just hearts. And they’ve got ambition, and they’ve got talent, as well as just beauty. I’m so sick of people saying that love is all a woman is fit for." - Lousia May Alcott


Young Women’s Worker

I was involved with Getaway Girls when I was younger and now my daughters are involved.
I am a Young women’s worker. I work with groups of women and girls as well as one to one sessions . The aim of all the work is to encourage and empower the young women to reach their own personal potential and to have new experiences with their peers, whilst they grow in confidence.

I am passionate about equality and fair treatment for all women and girls. I believe all people have the right to live in safety , free from harm.

A quote that I like is from Maya Angelou “My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humour, and some style.


Young Women’s Worker

How did you get involved in Getaway Girls?
I got involved in getaway girls when I was 15 I started by attending the Cultivate project. After attending for several years I then became a peer educator supporting the young women in their groups and on a youth exchange to Dublin. I then did the youth work training.

My job is a young woman’s worker and involves supporting girls in groups including Proud to be mum group, 13-16 group , schools work and offering one to one support as a mentor.

What’s the best thing about your job?
The best thing about my job is I am able to meet a wide range of different young women and watch them grow and mature into womanhood, see them overcome challenges and be able to be themselves in a space that is fun & safe also realising many of the challenges they are facing they are not alone as many other young women are going through it too.

Hobbies / interests or what are you passionate about?
I am very passionate about family and togetherness. I want all the young women in my family to be great, strong and independent young women so I put a lot of effort into helping steer them in the right direction.

A quote from a woman who Inspires You.
“Don’t settle for average. Bring your best to the moment. Then, whether it fails or succeeds, at least you know you gave all you had. We need to live the best that’s in us.” – Angela Bassett

Our trustees

We have a fantastic board of trustees, who provide valuable support and expertise.


Chair of Trustees

Why did you become a Trustee at Getaway Girls?
I was aware of the good work that Getaway Girls undertook since the early 1990 and had been involved in partnership work with some events and residentials linked to my youth work job for another organisation. Then, I was approached in 2004 to become the Chair of Trustees by the then Director of Getaway Girls, who was a good friend and previous colleague. I was reluctant to begin with because I did not believe I had the skills and experience to take on such a role and responsibility. She was very persuasive, encouraging and supportive in informing me otherwise, so I accepted the challenge and have been involved ever since.

What do you like about being a Trustees at Getaway Girls?
It’s a delight to see the transformation of the girls and young women who access the services, the 30 years of stories all point to amazing achievements throughout the years. It is fantastic to see the commitment and passion of the workers who support the girls and young women to recognise their own strengths and skills and use them to make a difference in their own lives. I find it powerful that Getaway girls has maintained its strong mission and remains committed to strong youth work values in the work being delivered.

What are your proudest of / achievements?
I’m not too good at shouting out about my own achievements, however over the years I would like to think I have helped make a difference in the lives of many young people. It always makes me smile when I see them as adults now with their own families and they say to me “Do you remember when…….” Plus, I have had two children of my own and as parent’s I think we all make mistakes in their upbringing, however I’m proud they have both turned out to be decent adults.
Day job / studying. I have a Masters in Youth & Community Development work, so most of my paid and volunteer work revolve around this background. I currently have 2 part-time day jobs, one at Shantona Womens & Family Centre in Harehills, the other for The Highfield Community Association in Keighley. In my spare time I also volunteer for a few other projects in West Leeds.

What do you like to do ?
I really enjoy going to listen to live music, theatre and comedy shows. Glastonbury festival is usually my highlight of the year. I’ve extremely lucky to get tickets most years. I also love getting in the pool with the Bramley Mermaids Club which brings women together for a creative swimming and water dance class once a week. The club meets to learn new routines inspired by synchronised swimming techniques.

Do you have a favourite quote from an inspirational woman?
There are so many by Maya Angelou however “Try to be a rainbow in someone's cloud.” stands out.


Lead on Equality and Inclusion Sub-group

Why did you become a Trustee at Getaway Girls?
I was involved in the early days. I've always really believed in what we are trying to achieve here.

What do you like about being a Trustees at Getaway Girls?
I find out about all the amazing work they are doing.

What are you proudest of / achievements?
I love the way every girl and young woman who attends is respected and valued.

What is your day job?
I teach Health and Social Care at Leeds City College.

What do you like to do?
Walking. Cycling. Reading.



Why did you become a Trustee at Getaway Girls?
I believe in everyone contributing to making each other's life better, it enriches your own life and makes communities
I particularly chose GG because they are very proactive, contacting people to ask for what the girls need from a job to a building

What do you like about being a Trustee at GG?
Working in a business environment for many years being a Trustee at GG is completely different, I am learning so much about other people's challenges, sometimes I can offer practical suggestions, other times a more experienced person is needed - but either way, I am always impressed by the achievements the group makes.

What’s your proudest of/ achievements at GG?
I will pass on my knowledge and experience to help others find their way into employment.

Hobby/ or something you feel passionate about?
I am very passionate about Arts and Crafts, literally all of them, I will travel miles to see an exhibition and I join groups to talk to people with the same interests. I enjoy the beauty in other people's creations, and I admit my own.

A quote from an Inspirational woman?
I'm afraid none come to mind, However, I genuinely live by the one below and think about it often. From it I take that change is a good thing and I embrace it.

If you keep on doing what you have already done, you will keep on getting what you have already got





I first got involved with Getaway Girls when I was a teenager as part of the summer programme. I was a sporty girl from a protective family in Harehills, and Getaway Girls provided me with valuable opportunities to try new activities, deepen my interests in sports, and have a productive outlet during the holidays, instead of being stuck at home! As my parents' trust in Getaway Girls strengthened, I was grateful to have my first trip away from home through Getaway Girls, which was incredibly empowering.

I now work as the Director of Sales for a local EdTech startup called Synap, and I'm still as sporty as ever! By having the exposure of visiting new places with Getaway Girls, I'm now confident with travelling as part of my sales role and speaking to new people. Getaway Girls also gave me the confidence to branch out and try new sports over the past 15 years, often by myself, because this passion has been nurtured through the multiple opportunities provided by Getaway Girls.

Getaway Girls has made a big impact on my life as well as so many others, which is why I decided to become a Trustee. There are many young women in our local community that need help, support, an outlet or an opportunity, and Getaway Girls provides all of these through the variety of programmes they provide. I love meeting up with the team and hearing about the work they do with young women - it's inspiring to hear how Getaway Girls go above and beyond, and consistently provide the care and love that makes a difference in young women's lives.



I first became involved in Getaway Girls as part of the Summer Scheme, where I took part in lots of fun activities and trips. As a quiet teenager, I was scared to come out of my comfort zone, but at Getaway Girls I always felt supported. Fast-forward a few years and my confidence has grown massively! I continued to be involved as a Peer Educator whilst I was at College and University, helping with projects on body image, diversity and much more. After qualifying as a Registered Nurse, I worked in the NHS and found myself in the middle of the Coronavirus pandemic – a time that taught us all the importance of sticking together.

Getaway Girls has also provided a platform for me to refine my public speaking skills through hosting various events and workshops. For example, I had the chance to host a livestream virtual event for International Women’s Day – Herstory in the Making, which was a massive success! I also now have a Global Marketing Master’s Degree under my belt, which has given me even more skills that will help me as a well-rounded Trustee.

I love everything that Getaway Girls stands for, and after being involved in various activities over the years, I felt that it would only be right to become a Trustee. This gives me the opportunity to contribute meaningfully to the Getaway Girls mission, make strategic decisions, and have a positive impact on girls and young women.

The best thing about Getaway Girls is that everyone here is equally valued for their contributions; it’s great to work with such passionate people!









Why did you become a Trustee at Getaway Girls?
I had recently moved to Leeds and a colleague told me about Getaway Girls and suggested I go along with her to a Trustee meeting to find out more about the organisation and to see if I might be interested in helping out. That was nearly 20 years ago! I’ve been hooked ever since by the amazing work to transform young women’s’ lives.

What do you like about being a Trustee at GG?
I work for a very large organisation (the University of Leeds) so I find the contrast with Getaway Girls really fascinating and I’m constantly learning from my interactions with the team. I also think it’s really important to support organisations like Getaway Girls which are doing such important work with long-lasting impact in the city. I hope my small contribution is making a difference where it’s most needed in our city.

What’s your proudest of/ achievements at GG?
Being involved with an organisation for nearly 20 years means you see lots of changes and sometimes there are difficult periods to work through. So I’m particularly proud of Getaway Girls for celebrating 35 years in existence and being as strong as I’ve ever known it - making an impact on the lives of many young women and making exciting plans for the future.

Hobby/ or something you feel passionate about?
I’m a big music lover, especially modern country/folk/rock. I like to follow less known bands and musicians and enjoy going to see them perform live.

A quote from an Inspirational woman?
Ruth Bader-Ginsburg “My mother told me to be a lady. And for her, that meant be your own person, be independent.”

Our funders

A massive thank you to all our generous funders, whose help make everything that we do to help girls and young women possible.