Women’s Street Watch Middlesbrough
2203. Bethany McLean
Bethany McLean, from Middlesbrough, founded ‘Women’s Street Watch Middlesbrough’ CIC, a women-led organisation set up to help women stay safe at night.
While Bethany was at university, she had her drink spiked one evening, leaving her unable to recall the events of several hours, and this inspired her to set up ‘Women’s Street Watch Middlesbrough’ in 2021, to help other women who had been in her situation. Bethany arranges practical training qualifications for her team of 35, DBS-checked, volunteers, who patrol Middlesbrough on Saturday nights from 10pm-2am. In addition to helping keep women safe through their patrols, they also aim to reduce the pressure on emergency services and act as a deterrent to potential offenders.
Bethany has expanded the initiative to run workshops spreading awareness of violence against women and girls and provide additional welfare support for vulnerable women in the city, working closely with local support services and running workshops on consent and healthy relationships in schools and colleges. Bethany also holds regular community days and ‘Essentials Events’ in the local area, where families can collect ten items, including toiletries and food items, contributing what they can afford to pay.
Congratulating Bethany on her award, Rt Hon Sir Simon Clarke, Bethany’s local MP for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland, said:
“I am delighted that the fantastic work of Bethany and her fellow volunteers at ‘Women’s Street Watch Middlesbrough’ is being recognised through a Points of Light award. People feeling safe when visiting the town centre after dark is vital for Middlesbrough’s night time economy: the women’s street watch patrols do a brilliant job of enabling women to enjoy safe nights out in our town, making sure their whole night from the first drink to getting a taxi home is the positive experience that great local bars and clubs want to provide.
“Bethany deserves enormous credit for her service to our community and she should be rightly proud of this recognition.”
“I am so grateful to receive the Points of Light award, but I could not have achieved what I have with ‘Women’s Street Watch Middlesbrough’ without the dedicated volunteer team who patrol on a weekend. Winning this award will hopefully raise awareness of what we do and continue our fight to make sure that women get home safely, so thank you!”
Find out more about ‘Women’s Street Watch Middlesbrough’