Armley: Women’s safety project to launch

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Interplay Armley
Venue: Interplay Theatre in Armley Ridge Road

A project which aims to significantly improve the personal safety of women and girls in LS12 will be officially launched in Armley this week.

SHESafe is made up of a team of volunteers who are coordinating a series of initiatives aimed at raising awareness of issues and support services alongside learning practical self-defence skills.

The initiative was born following a free self-defence class where members of SHEnanigans – a women only/anyone who identifies as a woman fun and friendship activity – were asked if they felt safe and the unanimous response was no.

Coupled with the fact that Armley has the second-highest domestic abuse incident rate across Leeds, and in February 2024 there were 182 violent crimes across the community, the partnership team had a choice to make – do something or do nothing. They chose to do something and created the unique SHE Safe campaign.

SHEnanigans and the SHE Safe project are free to join for any woman or person identifying as female who lives or works in the LS12 area. SHEnanigans has a current membership of over 760 women and the group is non-political, non-religious and works on a ‘pay as you feel’ basis. 

SHE Safe will be launched at 7pm on Thursday, 18 April 2024 at Interplay Theatre, Armley Ridge Road, LS12 3LE.

The launch evening will begin with a short introduction from partners of the SHE Safe project, followed by a demonstration of the Leeds wide ‘Walk Safe’ fab and free phone app that enhances personal safety. There will be free self-defence lessons led by Suffia, a qualified and experienced karate teacher who will be demonstrating simple yet effective moves that can protect attendees should they ever find themselves in a threatening position.  

Lizzie, one of the organisers said: “Armley is a great place to live but, like anywhere, we have issues which we can choose to ignore or choose to change. Through SHE Safe, we’re committed to the latter so that women and girls in our community feel safer and stronger.

“The launch night is the start of a year-long programme to embed initiatives that protect our female residents. The hope is that we can demonstrate that this initiative works so that other areas across Leeds replicate what we’re doing and personal safety doesn’t ever become a tragic afterthought.”

Sara, from Women Friendly Leeds, said: “This collective, proactive and positive approach to women and girl’s safety has been inspiring. A partnership between like-minded women who genuinely care about protecting others from harm has the potential to become a tangible lifeline for so many.”

SHE Safe is run by SHEnanigans in partnership with the police, Safer Stronger Communities Team, Armley Action Team, Interplay Theatre, New Wortley Community Centre, Women Friendly Leeds and Goshukan Karate Academy West Yorkshire. The SHE Safe project is a one-year initiative made possible by funding from the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.

For more information or to get involved, find SHEnanigans on Facebook or email: armleyshenanigans@gmail.com or armleyshesafe@gmail.com.

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