We spoke to the Newcastle grad behind Women’s Street Watch NCL to find out how it all started
Beth decided to start the organisation after tragic deaths of Sabina Nessa and Sarah Everard
If you’re a Newcastle student and have looked at Instagram in the last two months, chances are you’ll have seen the explosion in support for Women’s Street Watch NCL, a community watch group focussed on keep women safe at night on the streets of Newcastle.
We wanted to find out how it started, and spoke to the woman who started it all to get the inside scoop behind the inspiration of the hugely successful and important community group.
Beth, aged 29 from Lancaster, was a former Newcastle Uni student before she and her partner Charlie decided to come up with a way to protect the city’s girls and students on nights out.
Speaking on her own experiences she said, “I moved up here as a student and whilst at the time I thought everything I did on nights out was fine, looking back at that period of my life now I realise I put myself in some really reckless and dangerous situations. I think I just wasn’t aware enough of the dangers of walking home alone as I am now.”
Beth came up with the idea when talking to her partner about, “how sick of being sad, worried and scared we were,” following the recent deaths of Sarah Everard and Sabina Nessa who were killed when simply walking home alone.
She went on to explain that, “we talked about how much nicer, and safer town would feel if there was dedicated people on the streets helping us to get home, or how it would be great if there was a free taxi service running at night so that women didn’t have to walk home alone.”
On the huge success of the project Beth said, “The early days were just us two and a group of friends going out in Newcastle on Friday/Saturday nights to get an idea of what services we needed.”
She told us gaining thousands of followers overnight was overwhelming: “It’s a big shock, and it feels like a lot of responsibility but we’re managing the chaos quite well. Our volunteers are amazing- and we wouldn’t have achieved what we have so far or helped as many people without them.”
Beth said their biggest accomplishment so far has been, “hitting our crowdfunding target so we’re now able to buy and run our free taxi,” which she says was the initial idea of the project.
“Newcastle Council have been great in helping us to go through all the official channels and hopefully our WSW taxi will be on the road soon!”
In terms of future goals, the women want to “get the taxi up and running, possibly expand into other areas of Newcastle and other cities and we’ve got big goals for possible an all female security team for events.”
Last week, the group helped co-organise a “Reclaim the Night” protest to campaign against gender-based violence on the streets of Newcastle and the country as a whole.