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

Kescia Awork

Crisis Intervention support worker

At Getaway Girls I support young women with their basic needs, for example support with housing needs, food banks, somewhere to stay for the night, financial help, getting back into education, employment and more.

What I like about working at Getaway girls is supporting our young women and the staff all work well together as a team. I got involved in Getaway Girls as a volunteer, and when a role became available for the Hardship Crisis team I applied and got the job and have been working here for almost two years and it’s been great, I have supported many young women in crisis and I’m so happy to be able to make a difference.

Education: I am also currently studying for my last year at Uni doing my degree in Youth and Community Development, and I will graduate this year!
Hobbies: My hobbies outside work are going to the gym.

My favourite quote is from Michelle Obama: ‘Success isn’t about how much money you make it’s about the difference you make in people’s lives‘

Maria Amuesi

Inspiring Futures worker

I was involved with Getaway Girls as a student on placement and I now work in the Inspiring Futures Team. My role is to support young women with development of their skills, increase their confidence and resilience. This support can be either one to one or through group work, as well as helping them to access training and voluntary opportunities as they move into the world of work.

My background is in Social Work. I’m now doing my Masters in Youth and Community Development. I also wanted an opportunity to work with young people differently; preventatively and creatively in supporting their personal and social development.

What I enjoy most about Getaway Girls are the opportunities to use different ways to engage young women, finding out what they think about their lives and communities. In addition, with the wide range of women and people I meet, there are opportunities learn from each other and then using that knowledge and learning for the benefit of young women.

In my personal time, I enjoy being creative – mainly through drawing and making resin jewellery and Jiu Jitsu.
If I had to pick one from the many quotes that I feel summarise my approach to life it would be: “Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.”― Maya Angelou

Alison Chandler

Complex Needs Worker (Young Women)

I work for Women’s Lives Leeds (WLL) and I’m managed by (and based at) Getaway Girls. I provide specialist, intensive support for young women aged 13 – 25. I provide personally tailored sessions according to the young woman’s individual needs and circumstances. I’m based at Getaway Girls as it’s the organisation within WLL that fits best with my specialism. It gives myself (and the young women I support) access to all the fantastic initiatives at Getaway Girls, such as training opportunities, support, fun activities, trips and voice and influence work.

I started working at Getaway Girls doing my most favourite EVER project in my working life, working on the Changing Labels Heritage Lottery project in 2013. I supported a group of young women into researching teenage fashion over the years...it was a fantastic project and I loved every minute of it. I then had a break, but moved back to Getaway Girls as Specialist CSE (Child Sexual Exploitation) worker and following this I successfully applied for the post of Complex Needs Worker and I’ve been in this post since February 2017.

Education: I studied Community & Youth Studies at Leeds Beckett, gaining a BA (Hons) First in 2010. I’m also a qualified ISVA (independent Sexual Violence Advisor) and gained this qualification in 2019. Hobbies: In my spare time, I go to the gym and I love hiking up mountains. I’m passionate about fashion and interiors – doing both on a shoestring (mainly pre-loved)... I only ever buy new if I absolutely can’t find what I want second-hand! I also LOVE live music and exploring the Lakes and Dales (it’s the only way I can recharge my batteries)!

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

Inspiring Futures Lead Worker

My role is to support young women aged 16-25yrs with developing their confidence, skills resilience and aspirations so that they can reach their potential. The Inspiring Futures Project proactively works with young women who face discrimination and barriers to help them to meet their potential. Through offering one to one individual support and group work, my role involves helping young women access training, work experience, volunteering opportunities. I will also look at supporting them to gain good interview skills, produce a good CV, making applications for jobs and then will support them during the transition into the world of work.

I love working at Getaway Girls because we offer support to young women in a very positive and unique way. We are a charity that does grassroots work 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, facilitating their growth and creating a positive impact in their lives and therefore in the wider community! 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. I felt Getaway Girls represented the difference that I wanted to make to the lives of others, having had first-hand experience of this myself!
I studied a BA (Honours) in Sociology and studied this at the University of Greenwich in London. I studied many interesting subjects during my studies including Third World Studies, Introduction to Counselling and Criminology which have shaped my own view of the world.

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

An inspirational quote I love from Serena Williams….
“The success of every women should be the inspiration to another. We should raise each other up. Make sure you’re very courageous: be strong, be extremely kind and above all be humble”

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 from being a young girl/woman attending various activities and now a worker. I am one of the new members of Getaway Girls team, I am the new Operations Manager a new role within the organisation. This role includes responsibility for the following areas HR systems and management of staff along with monitoring & supporting the daily operations of Getaway Girls.

I have worked in the Third Sector in Leeds for the last 20 years and have experience of community development, public health and managing various projects. I am a trustee for a local women’s project in South Leeds. I enjoy working with young girls, 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 fun and in a relaxed safe space, empowering young girls and women and offering opportunity.

I went to university in London and Leeds and had the opportunity to do a placement abroad in Sri-lanka studying the Environment & Science along with Development Studies at a postgraduate level meeting many amazing individuals along the way from NGO’s and other charities. I have two wonderful daughters who are all also passionate about making a difference for young girls & women. I enjoy walking, visiting green spaces and love to travel and learn 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 is ‘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

Naila Akhtar

Youth Worker

My background is in youth work, training and development My degree is in youth and community work..

My role is Girls and Young women’s Hub worker and youth worker . I facilitate the 13-17 and 18-25 hubs which are part of Women Friendly leeds around voice and influence. I also facilitates groups for girls and young women raising aspirations and building confidence.

I feel really excited to be part of such an amazing organisation to promote social change and be part of the movement to make Leeds the first women Friendly City. I want to make a positive difference, to enable Young women and girls to become change makers in the lives of other young women and girls within Leeds.

My favourite quote would be from – Dorothy Springs
“Life isn’t about waiting for the Storm to pass--Its About learning to Dance in the Rain”

Danielle McMillan

Trainee Youth Worker

I’m Dani a trainee youth worker at Getaway girls

My first involvement with Getaway Girls was as a young woman- getting involved in what Getaway Girls do. I then completed the introduction to youth work training since I had done some volunteering and was really interested in what Getaway Girls do and all the help they offer young women!

I now have the role of trainee youth worker giving me the opportunity to support the running of exciting group work and days out with the girls!

When I’m not working I study law at university and my hobbies include going to the gym to keep healthy and I am also learning Spanish in my spare time.

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.







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 their Summer Scheme, where I took part in lots of fun activities and trips. As a quiet teenager, the idea of being around lots of new people and trying new things was scary, but at Getaway Girls I always felt super comfortable. Fast-forward a few years and my confidence has grown massively; I became 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. Although I didn’t have as much free time to spend enjoying Getaway Girls, I still felt supported. GG also gave me the opportunity to work on my public speaking by hosting events and workshops; most recently I hosted a livestream event – Herstory in the Making, which was a massive success!

I love everything that Getaway Girls stands for, and after being involved in various activities and events over the years, I felt that it would only be right to become a Trustee. This gives me the opportunity to be an advocate and have a voice in the operations of Getaway Girls using my personal experiences to assist changes for the better. 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.

The best thing about Getaway Girls is the feeling of being welcome and supported – no matter what! All the girls are great, and you can tell everyone is equally valued for everything they bring to the table!









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.