Charities unite for Women on Wheels

Charities unite for Women on Wheels

Fresh start new beginnings and Lighthouse Women’s Aid have come together to work with the organisers of Kesgrave Women on Wheels.

Both small local charities, who on their own would not be able to organise such a large event, but together, have used their shared knowledge, expertise, and, with help from volunteers, are able to support Women on Wheels and encourage participants to raise money for both charities.

The charities have previously worked together, most recently helping Mandy (not her real name) her teenage daughter and eight year old son.

Mandy met her husband of 3 years via the internet about 4 years ago.  She lived in the North where she had a small flat, worked part time and had friends and family close by.  After meeting Steve (not real name) on-line and a whirlwind romance, with Steve visiting often, Mandy decided to move to East Anglian to give romance a chance and be with the man who had been visiting her almost every weekend.

He made a special effort with the children and as well as taking her out would also have time for family trips to the park, beach and town.

Following the wedding Mandy moved in with Steve.  She looked for a part time position however Steve suggested she might like to stay at home and look after him and the children.

A few months later Steve began to change, he started to have time off from work and eventually lost his job.  Steve then applied for benefits and would control the income received.  He became angry, often shouted and scared the children as well as Mandy.  Every day was like ‘walking on eggshells’, not knowing what mood Steve would be in and living in fear of what might happen next.

The relationship became unbearable with everyone dreading when Steve would be in the house.  Mandy could not take anymore. She was very concerned for her children’s safety and decided to leave the family home.

They had nowhere to go and left with only the clothes they had on and whatever they could carry.  Mandy sought help and was advised to go to the refuge run by Lighthouse Women’s Aid.

Lighthouse provided a safe place to stay and both the practical and emotional support that Mandy and her children needed, from accessing benefits (Mandy had to leave her job when she fled), to helping each member of the family recover from the devastating effects of abuse and start to plan for their future.

Whilst at the Refuge, Mandy’s teenage daughter disclosed that she had been sexually abused by Steve.  She had been scared to talk about it before as Steve had threatened to kill her mum if she spoke about what had happened.  Steve had also told her that no one would believe her.

Mandy’s daughter had been raped by Steve on many occasions when Mandy was shopping or collecting her brother from school.  Lighthouse made contact with Fresh start new beginnings who began working with the family to help take away the feelings of blame and shame that both Mandy and her daughter felt.

Both charities were instrumental in helping Mandy and her family rebuild their futures and start looking forwards instead of over their shoulders, wondering what would or could happen next.

Patsy Johnson-Cisse said: “It’s fantastic to work with Lighthouse Women’s Aid on this joint fundraiser.  We are thrilled to be able to raise awareness of both charities and would encourage mums, daughters, friends and work colleagues to dust of their bikes, sign up and come and enjoy a fun morning out riding. The organisers are working hard to make this a fun, friendly sociable event with stop offs in village halls for cakes and refreshments, supported by local Womens’ Institutes.”

Laura Squirrell said: “Lighthouse is really excited to be charity partners for WOW Kesgrave alongside Fresh start new beginnings. There is so much synergy between the vital work of both charities in supporting those affected by abuse. WOW Kesgrave provides a great opportunity to do what women do best – get out there, have fun and make a difference. Taking part in this event will help raise awareness and much needed funds to enable us to keep reaching more people who desperately need our help.

So, whether you regularly enjoy getting out on your bike or haven’t used it in a while, this event is for you. Encourage, girlfriends, family members and colleagues to join you. There is the chance to take part in a 10 mile or 20 mile ride on Sunday 1st September, starting in Kesgrave at Sports Med East.

For more information on the route and to sign up please visit

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