A team of female North East lawyers has put in a wheely good effort to raise more than £500 for a regional employability charity.
Six members of the Women Lawyers Division North East (WLDNE) took part in the annual Spin for Smart Works charity cycling challenge, with the aim of riding a combined 500 miles in seven days through a mixture of spin classes, exercise bike sessions and on-road cycling
But by the end of the event, a total of 567 miles had been covered by the team, with £540 being raised along the way for Smart Works, a national charity which helps unemployed women get back into the workplace 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.
More than £53,000 has been raised in total across the UK through this year’s Spin for Smart Works event.
The WLDNE cycling team was led by the organisation’s chair Clare Thompson, a partner at Hay & Kilner Law Firm in Newcastle, and also featured 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.
Rosalind Hughes says: “It was a real rollercoaster of a week, but we managed to get even further than our original target because we believe in empowering women and giving each other a helping hand.
“The crumbling knees, numb bums, aching wrists, cold noses, creaking necks and tired legs we all had were worth it to raise such a brilliant amount for a charity that makes a terrific difference to the lives of women in our region.”
The Women Lawyers Division North East is a networking group for solicitors, barristers, trainees and paralegals within the regional legal sector which aims to create new and better relationships across different parts of the industry, and has grown to have an active membership of around 150 ladies since its inception five years ago.
Clare Thompson adds: “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’ve raised will help ensure it can further extend the excellent work it carries out in and around the city.”