A team of female North East lawyers is set to take on a 500 mile challenge next month to raise money for a regional employability charity.

Six members of the Women Lawyers Division North East have signed up to take part in the annual Spin for Smart Works event, a week-long cycling challenge which will see the team riding a combined 500 miles between 1 and 8 March, which is International Women’s Day.

The challenge is taking place to raise money for Smart Works, a national charity which helps unemployed women get back into the work place by providing them with high quality outfits and coaching for upcoming interviews.

Smart Works’ Newcastle centre on Ellison Place in the city centre was set up last year as a result of the money raised by the Spin challenge in 2018.

The charity’s six centres across the UK have provided over 15,000 appointments for women looking to get back into work, 60% of whom went on to succeed at interview within the first month of their appointment

Led by Clare Thompson, chair of the Women Lawyers Division North East and a partner at Hay & Kilner Law Firm in Newcastle, the team also features fellow Hay & Kilner solicitors Abby Dorani, Mairi Clancy and Chantelle Oxley, as well as Rosalind Hughes of Just Caring Legal and Frances Tait of Womble Bond Dickinson.

The participants will complete the challenge through a mixture of spin classes, exercise bike sessions in the Hay & Kilner office and on-road cycling around the city.

The Women Lawyers Division North East is a networking group for solicitors, barristers, trainees and paralegals within the regional legal sector.

It aims to create new and better relationships across different parts of the industry which wouldn’t necessarily come together all that often, and has grown to have an active membership of around 150 ladies since its inception five years ago.

Clare Thompson says: “Women can often face particular difficulties in getting back into work, especially if they’ve spent several years looking after growing families, but the range of practical ideas, opportunities and support that Smart Works provides can often help to overcome them.

“Dozens of local women have successfully re-entered the world of work over the last year with the support of the charity’s new Newcastle office and the money we’ll be raising will help ensure it can further extend the excellent work that is carries out here.

“Covering 500 miles in a single week is a tough challenge, even with six of us taking it on, but we’re all confident that we can do it and committed to getting across the line in time for International Women’s Day.”

Donations can be made in support of the Women Lawyers Division North East’s Spin for Smart Works team via https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/TeamWOW-WomenonWheels