Charity Corner: The charity offering ‘New Beginnings’ for female survivors of domestic abuse
Last updated Oct 16, 2020
Lindsay Oliver
Founder and CEO of New Beginnings Lindsay Oliver. Photo credit: Tanya Kiaie

New Beginnings is a charity based in the Harrogate district offering support to female survivors of domestic abuse.

Its founder Lindsay Oliver has experienced domestic abuse first hand and recognised a gap for women after the initial support from crisis care services ends.

Lindsay fled 220 miles with her baby boy in June 2018 from the perpetrator after a two-year abusive relationship.

Once women are settled in new houses and often new areas the crisis care teams withdraw, Lindsay noticed they were then left feeling alone and confused.

Lindsay said:

“I didn’t have anyone that understood.

“New Beginnings is all about giving these women a network of people who get it. This week in the WhatsApp group someone asked ‘Have you experienced this?’ and we were able to help.”

The charity offers a number of different workshops for its clients and their children.

New Beginnings was set up in February 2020, with the help of Harrogate Borough Council officer Mel Milner, to offer women one-to-one peer support and to be part of a community of women who had similar experiences.

Over the years, New Beginnings has built relationships with local businesses and the food bank to offer their clients all the necessary support. The charity also works with therapists to offer workshops and coaching sessions for the women.

It currently supports 16 women, who have 34 children between them. The women are also offered help with family court processes and dealing with social services.

Lindsay added:

“For some, the abuse is still happening. Some of our clients’ children still see their other parent so they’re seeing their perpetrator week in, week out, and that is why they need ongoing support.”

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Lindsay is passionate about education and works with her clients and their children to demonstrate what a healthy relationship looks like. The relationship she fled from wasn’t her first abusive relationship – she had experienced abuse in other relationships too.

Lindsay understands about changing a women’s mindset on what a relationship should look like, and her own experiences encourage her to work one-to-one with women to ensure they don’t fall into another negative relationship.

She said:

“It all starts with our kids, and if we can educate our own generation at the same time, then it’s even better.

“It’s important they all understand what a healthy relationship is – this is something we’re really determined about.”

New Beginnings

With further funding the charity hopes to expand and grow its team.

The charity is currently looking for premises which can offer office space and a dry storage area to keep goods ready for clients who come with emergency needs.

It is also hoping to grow its team. It currently works with three therapists and four volunteers but hopes to bring on more paid members of staff in order to expand to other areas in the district.

To support the charity you can visit its GoFundMe page here.

Where to go for further support

If you are in a physical or emotionally abusive relationship, click here to contact IDAS.

If you’re out of an abusive relationship but need further support you can self-refer to the New Beginnings charity. Email [email protected] or find them on Facebook here.

This is the first in the Stray Ferret’s ‘Charity Corner’ series. In this monthly feature we want to highlight the stories behind some of our small, local charities to raise their profiles. Get in touch with us if you know of a small charity in the Harrogate district working hard to fundraise for a worthy cause. 

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