Strong Manchester Women Transcript Episode 8 – Sarah Judge

Strong Manchester Women Transcript Episode 8 – Sarah Judge

The transcripts are not an exact science, so expect a few spelling or grammatical errors. This transcript is also by no means intended to replace the audio. The podcast has some cracking music on it and the stuff you’d expect from a conversation, such as articulation, accents, pauses, intonation – basically all the stuff that makes us sound like proper human beings. So, if you can listen to the audio, please use the transcript as an accompaniment.

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The picture is a of a woman from chest height up. She has her head turned to the left. She has short hair and glasses. she is wearing a sash. She The picture has a purple hue to it. On the leff of the picture are the words 'strong manchester women' on the right 'Sarah Judge' - both in capital and grey colour letters

Transcript: Episode 8 – Sarah Judge

Vic T – host: 00:00 This is a strong Manchester Women podcast with me, your host, Vic Elizabeth Turnbull, and in this series I speak to the change makers, activists, leaders and trailblazers who make our city and beyond a better place to live, work and play.

Vic T – host: 00:34 So in this episode I speak to,

Sarah Judge: 00:34 My name is Sarah Judge. I’m a Councillor for Woodhouse Park ward in Wythenshawe and I’m also Manchester City Council’s lead member for women.

Vic T – host: 00:45 And we talk about being authentic,

Sarah Judge: 00:49 People want their politicians to be human.

Vic T – host: 00:51 Facing public backlash,

Sarah Judge: 00:53 I thought I’ll just get the motion out of the way and if it continues then I’ll look to to meet with these people.

Vic T – host: 00:59 The many roles of a local Councillor,

Sarah Judge: 01:01 It can range from bins, the potholes, rubbish in parks, to children being removed from situations, domestic violence, homelessness. It’s the most wide ranging job I think anybody could ever have.

Vic T – host: 01:14 and much more.

Vic T – host: 01:15 I’m at Manchester Town Hall’s extension building. It’s huge. Me and Sarah are on the very top floor in a meeting room with high ceilings, which makes the noise in here a bit echoey.

Vic T – host: 01:30 I kick off by asking Sarah how she got involved with the annual strong Manchester women campaign. The project celebrates women doing brilliant things across our city and this podcast is inspired by that campaign.

Sarah Judge: 01:48 I suppose mine’s a little bit different to everybody else. I set the campaign up. It wasn’t narcissistic, I didn’t want to be in it myself. I’m always the one that wants to push other people forward and I actually kicked back. I didn’t actually want to do it cause I wanted to give an opportunity to showcase somebody else in and what they do. I suppose it’s normal things that women do and downplay the roles that they play, but being part of the campaign is, is fantastic.

Vic T – host: 02:12 So I’m actually sat with the woman who started it all!

Sarah Judge: 02:19 Yep.

Vic T – host: 02:19 Well I best ask you some questions about it all! How? Why?

Sarah Judge: 02:19 We’d always run a campaign around International Women’s Day and I’d taken over back in 2015 I think it was the campaign they had at the time, was women’s voices and the poster campaign they had was a speaker, like a music speaker. There was a concept there and there was, there was a reason for it, but it just didn’t connect to people that people just saw those posters and it didn’t mean anything to them.

Sarah Judge: 02:42 And one of my aims when I took over as lead for women, I wanted to make more people realise that it was international women’s day. I wanted people to be more interested in women’s rights and and pushing that agenda further forward. So show Strong Manchester Women came from actually putting real women, normal real women on posters and then behind the scenes on the website and having their story and having their journey as to how they got to where they are. So we just wanted to make it more relatable and also celebrate the things that normal so called normal women are doing in our, in our communities in Manchester. There was something about there being a female Councillor in it, obviously being the person that leads for women, it naturally fell to that person. For me, it’s not necessarily about me being in it, it’s more about the office and the fact that actually Manchester City Council do still have a lead member for women. You look across all the councils across the country. That post isn’t there anymore.

Vic T – host: 03:31 Isn’t it just astonishing that a lead for women is missing from so many councils across the country? Does your local authority have a lead for women? As the founder of the strong Manchester women campaign, Sarah has seen more than 50 women profiled over the years. I wonder if she’s noticed any shared characteristics across that bunch of amazing strong women?

Sarah Judge: 04:00 I think resilience is a massive one. Everybody needs resilience. I think particularly women and particularly communities in Manchester where I come from in Wythenshawe, it’s very white working class community where you have third, fourth generational domestic violence within families and actually it takes a lot of resilience and strength for women to not only combat the normal everyday challenges that women face in terms of equality, but to actually come from almost three or four steps behind that. I think resilience is a massive one. Being able to keep trying and and get back up. My step daughter is in year 7 at high school at the moment. They actually have a class called resilience. They learn about themselves and how they can be resilient and get to offload stuff that has happened throughout the week. If they found stuff hard or whatever. It’s something people are paying more mind to, the need for people to be supported and be able to bounce back and I think it’s good to see particularly schools that are picking up on that cause, supporting kids in and also teaching them actually, yeah you know, what you might find tomorrow hard, but it doesn’t mean you’ll find the next day hard as well.

Sarah Judge: 04:57 I think that’s really, really important. Being Compassionate as well. I think a lot of the time people think if I want to be successful then I’ve got to basically step on everybody else to get to where I want to go and that actually might take you a bit longer if you don’t do that, you’ll get to the right place in the right way and you won’t hurt people in the process.

Vic T – host: 05:12 What’s made you resilient?

Sarah Judge: 05:15 I think I’ve been raised by strong people. My dad, he was a dad, dad. I used to play football and stuff when I was, when I was younger, if I fell over on the football field, he was shouting at me to get straight back up again and there was an acceptance from me that I had to work hard throughout my childhood and having that support around me of my parents that my parents weren’t going to just go, ‘oh there, you’ve had a tough day today, let’s just write the rest of the week off.’ They were always there to kind of push the next day, ‘That was hard and you you didn’t do as well as you wanted to’ . For me, being kind of told if I had not done so great and actually ‘let’s try harder tomorrow’, just helped me to kind of not take failure too much to heart. Not that I enjoy failing still though. Everybody’s terrified of failing that still exists!

Vic T – host: 05:58 Have you ever thought about how resilient you are or how resilient the women around you are? It still surprises me how resilient I’ve been or am. I actually think we’re all a little bit more resilient than we really think we are. Being in a local Councillor is a huge responsibility and the decision to stand for local government isn’t taken lightly. I asked Sarah how all this came about.

Sarah Judge: 06:28 My family are political. I’ve grown up in a very political household, but interestingly my brother is a million miles away from politics, so I don’t think it was that they pushed us in that direction, having the news on and stuff all the time in the house and, and when I started to understand the things that were going on in the world and being cross about them being able to express that to my dad, my mom’s not political all, but we used to sit around dinner tables, we’d go out for dinner and me and my dad, even at the age of like six or seven, I would be having political arguments with him and my mom just didn’t get it. She was like, ‘oh no, they’re arguing again. They’re arguing again.’ And she tried to calm me down, but for us, were having a great time. We could have carried on doing that all day!

Sarah Judge: 07:03 I joined the Labour Party when I was old enough, I campaigned, I got involved in stuff in my local community. I went off to university and at that point where most people become politicised, I went completely the opposite way. I’m ashamed to say I didn’t vote in one election whilst I was at uni, I’d let go my Labour Party membership. Whilst I was at university, there was bits that knocked me off. My parents sat on that cusp of not being on the, on the side where I would get a loan or grant so people would look at, you know, your parents are rich, whatever. They weren’t, they literally just had enough money to get by, but they just fell on the wrong side of that grant boundary. So I worked 40 hours a week. Whilst I was at university.

Sarah Judge: 07:43 I used to send a Dictaphone into my lectures and I used to do my uni work when I got home. Whereas all my friends who had wealthy parents were off out partying all the time. They never had to worry about where they were living. They never had to worry about getting a job or anything like that, and then when I came back to Manchester, I started helping people get back into work and I remember meeting a guy I used to go to school with and we used to be in the same class as each other, all the way through primary school, we were like best mates and then through high school he was in top set with me for the majority of it. Where my skills lay quite academically, he wasn’t quite so academic and nobody recognised what his skill set was and what he would have been good at.

Sarah Judge: 08:21 He ended up then mucking around in school, getting kicked out of class every now and again by the back end of school. When I met him a few years later, he’d been in prison. He had a drug problem, he was verging on homeless. I just thought, this is ridiculous. This is not a quality, this isn’t a an education system that works for works for everyone. And that was the point where I went, you know what, I can sit back and I can keep winging and I can keep going, ‘Oh this is terrible. I feel really bad for him’. Or I knew the channels that I needed to go down to do something about it. And that’s where not took a decision that I was going to stand for election.

Sarah Judge: 08:54 It was hard. Nobody really understands that process. So you have to go on a panel to get selected, but you have to go for an interview before you get on that panel. Then when you’re on that panel, you get voted for by the party members that are in the ward that you want to go for. So you have to go and give a presentation and take questions and the questions are generally quite heavy questions, cause these people want the best person to represent their area, then they vote for you. And then you’ve got this like six, seven month period where you’re a candidate before you go for election. So I always say to people, that it’s the longest job interview you will ever have in your entire life. And people say, ‘Oh, you know, you get loads of money’. It doesn’t pay. You get a salary or an allowance. If you were doing the kinds of things you do as a Councillor in any other walk of life, then you, you, you would be earning a lot more money.

Sarah Judge: 09:40 But it’s not about the money, it’s about doing the right thing and representing your residents. So the weirdest feeling was walking down a street where a lot of my friends from school lived and they either still lived there or their parents still live there and seeing posters in people’s windows with your name and face on it. It’s really unnerving. And I just remember driving down the street thinking, ‘Oh my word, what are these people doing?’ And then election count is quite frankly the most nerve wracking thing that I’ve ever done in my life. Even though everybody around you says you’re going to be fine, you’ll be fine. You’ll be fine. Because where I sit, Woodhouse Park, was until this election, a relatively safe ward, you know, there was a  majority of over a thousand and in my head going, ‘yeah, but I’m a new candidate, they might not like me. I’m younger, I’m female, I’m gay. Like what if they, these people don’t like me?’ And everybody around me kept saying, ‘Sarah, just calm down, just calm down.’ I refused point blank to go to my election count in the morning. I did go but I was just, I can’t do it. I can’t go. I’m not going. And then I rocked up and I got sent outside cause I was being so annoying. Some of the people who had helped with my campaign and said, ‘look, you go and wait outside, go and get yourself a bottle of water or something and we’ll get you back in when it is appropriate.’ And well by the time I was allowed back in and it was quite clear that I’d won, so I could calm down and apologise to everybody that I’d been horrible to at that point.

Sarah Judge: 10:57 Yeah. I’m just a normal person. I’d go out with my friends and I was 25 at the time that I got elected and I was a normal 25 year old. I didn’t have children. I went out with my friends when I wanted to. I might get drunk with my friends when I wanted to and I thought, ‘Oh God’, i actually went through my Facebook and took all the pictures off that could be construed as not appropriate. And then it was like, well ‘why am I even doing this? ‘Cause this is just what a normal person is like. But society tells you that you almost have to do that. And the fact that they’re voting for you, and this is quite humbling as well, to know that somebody has left their house, totalled off down to a polling station and actually put across in the box of your name, but at the same time every single one that’s against you is also quite… you go, ‘what have I done to you? What have I done to upset you?’ And you only ever see the ones that were against you. When you’re standing at a count table, you don’t see the crosses in your box, you only see the ones that are against you. And at that point you’re just like, ‘I’ve lost, I’ve lost.’ It’s not an experience that I would recommend for anybody who has a nervous disposition.

Vic T – host: 11:55 Oh that sounds so nerve wracking. Now Sarah’s got a real public facing leadership role. I’m interested to hear if there are any other changes or adjustments she had to make to her personal life to suit her new professional life.

Sarah Judge: 12:14 It’s hard sometimes because you’ve got to think about… people almost look at you like a possession. So you are there as somebody who represents an office and people get cross and it’s really hard sometimes, but my local MP Mike Kane once taught me, and it’s something that stuck with me – they’re not cross with you. They’re cross with the office that you represent and you always have to try and distance yourself personally from that. And that’s really hard for me because the way that I work is always really so relational. Like I build relationships with people in terms of working with them. So when you almost have to take that personal out of it, that’s quite difficult for me. And don’t get me wrong, as soon as somebody turns up to your surgery or a meeting, and absolutely blasts you, you’re still sitting there like ‘that’s really mean, I really wish you didn’t say that’. But you can’t go back in a way. I suppose I’ve had to grow up quite a lot. 25 wasn’t the youngest Councillor in Manchester, but I think it’s still relatively young by comparison to some councils across the country.

Sarah Judge: 13:10 and just be a bit more mindful when you’re out and about that people will watch what it is that you’re doing and if if you’re out, I live close by to like the next ward along from the ward that I represent. I go to pubs in, in the ward that I represent and actually it’s about kind of going, well there’s people in here that voted for me and I have to act like the person that voted for me, which you know that it’s just part and parcel of the role. I mean it’s not as bad as being an MP or something cause your face isn’t always all over the telly, so people don’t tend to recognise you unless they’ve met you in your role. So it’s a little bit more anonymous than that. People want someone to represent them that they can kind of go, actually they’re solid, and I can tell them something and they’ll do something about it. If they’ve seen you rolling around the floor of a pub I think they’d lose a bit of faith in you at that point.

Vic T – host: 13:56 If you’ve listened to other strong Manchester women episodes it’s not the first time we’ve had our women speak about their public personas and how it must be considered and representative. But what does a Councillor actually do and how like Sarah said, did it help her to mature.

Sarah Judge: 14:15 It can range from bins, the potholes, to rubbish in parks, to children being removed from situations, domestic violence, homelessness. It’s the most wide ranging job I think anybody could ever have. The subject matters and stuff that you deal with, you can go from… I used to sit in the licensing panel. Sitting on that panel, can you have perhaps taxi drivers who have committed a crime whilst they’re carrying a taxi license. They have to come in front of you and they have to tell you what they’ve done. Their justification as to why they did it. We then as a, as a, as a panel of three have to decide that person keeps their license or not actually keeping their license is the difference between them keeping their job or not having a job. They often bring their wives or the children or someone along to the panel with them and you just, stuff like that really taught me, actually this is the reason why it’s not a game and it’s not about you. And it’s not about progressing yourself to the top. Each individual thing that I deal with on a daily basis is about somebody’s life. To some people somebody’s bin might not be the most important issue, but actually to that person, if they’ve got nowhere to put their rubbish, then actually that’s detrimenting their life quite massively. Each problem that someone comes to you with is the most important thing in their world at that moment. So I have to make it the most important thing in my world, almost at that moment to deal with it.

Vic T – host: 15:31 I love Sarah’s passion for creating positive change. And again, if you’ve heard previous strong Manchester women episodes, you know, I love asking this question to people that work in the public sector, but I’ve not actually asked it to anyone who’s a Councillor yet. So is it hard to create change within the structures and the bureaucracies of the public sector, especially within the constraints of local government?

Sarah Judge: 16:01 That’s a really tricky question. You can. I think it’s about what your intentions are and there’s some people within politics across, not specifically in this council but across the board in politics where actually you being in politics is about the closest….if you can’t sing and you can’t dance, you might get famous by being a politician and, and actually there’s probably easier ways to get famous than being a politician if anybody’s ever thinking that that’s a good way to do it. If your intention is to be kind of about yourself and about self promotion, then that makes it quite difficult to create change because sometimes in order to create change within places like the council, then within the constraints of the council you actually have to go against what people are saying and that doesn’t often make you popular, you can kind of terrify more senior people within the council when you suggest doing something that is…

Vic T – host: 16:52 Have you done that?

Sarah Judge: 16:53 I passed a motion through council regarding public space protection orders outside abortion clinics and I terrified my own self with that one cause I’d had about 400 emails in the week leading up to the council meeting. All of these people who were protesting outside of abortion clinics, from across the country saying how I was the devil, how I was going to go to hell, all of this stuff, how I was willing to murder unborn babies and it wasn’t an argument about whether people should or should not have abortions. I am very pro abortion. I think women should have the choice. That wasn’t what that motion was about. It was about actually it is illegal in this country for you to do that. You should be able to access what is legal healthcare without abuse and harassment. It was quite nerve wracking I think for the council at that point because it brought a lot of attention. Like notice of motion in council can sometimes just get overlooked. They can be quite soft, they can not create massive massive change. Well was this one brought massive media attention to it and it’s something that can split Councillors. If you don’t look at it from the perspective that it’s about legal health care, then there is the potential that you would vote against it. We had 95 out of the 96 Councillors there and it could have been the first motion that was put through our council where not all of the Labour group voted with it since I’d been elected and I was actually told the night before at Labour group that there was a few Councillors that said ‘I just don’t know that I can vote, you know, based on religious grounds, I don’t think I can vote for your motion. I said that’s absolutely fine and I respect your view and I’d ask that you respect mine if you want to speak out against it, by all means do. But please don’t think any differently of me because I think in this way. Actually by the end of the time I’d given this speech and done the motion, there was two still that voted against, but it wasn’t the two that had come to me the night before and they came and spoke to me and they said, actually, we understand that it was nothing to do with abortion, it was to do with people being harassed. It’s continued to bring a lot of attention to the council, which I think is always quite nerve wracking when the light is being shone on stuff because you daren’t put a foot wrong and if you do, then the world comes crashing down a little bit.

Sarah Judge: 18:55 But there were certainly points, particularly the night before delivering that speech when some of the Labour group had said that we can’t vote for this. I was like, ‘Oh my word. I’m going to be the first labour Councillor that gets a motion knocked back in in a majority labour council. In the morning. I remember, my partner came with me to council and Council doesn’t start till 10 but I was in the town or building by eight o’clock because I knew that there was going to be a protest and I knew that some of the tactics that these people were using outside clinics and I just thought I can’t deal with that. So I just thought I’m just going to come in at eight o’clock, get myself in there, avoid it. In the end there was about three of them that turned up and they shouted through the entirety of my speech. This lady kept shouting and shouting and shouting over the top of me and that I could feel my hands shaking, like fully shaking and I was struggling, I started stuttering over my words and thought, ‘pull yourself together Sarah’ When I’d finished, she shouted, ‘the devil is here, Satan is amongst us’ .or something. And I thought ‘Oh my God!’, It was definite pressure. Like in my head I was doing the right thing. I was on northwest tonight that evening and had to cancel work that day cause I just thought I’ll just go into council and do the motion I’ve like had done previously and I’d go home and then everything will be fine but everywhere picked up on it. So I was doing press interviews all day basically. It was an interesting time. Very interesting.

Vic T – host: 20:10 A fantastic example of standing by your beliefs, especially in the face of so much backlash. Now, authenticity is talked about often when it comes to inspiration or influential leadership. I asked Sarah if that authenticity can actually be achieved in such a public facing role.

Sarah Judge: 20:33 People want their politicians to be human and they want them to be normal people and they want them to act like normal people then and someone that they can relate to. Like as soon as somebody is a normal person and normal people make mistakes and people say the wrong thing or whatever and I think, ‘Oh God, well I’m going to have to say this because if you say this, then they might see like this.’ And I always said that I would never do that and I would always just say what I thought when I thought it, but because you start to learn what people’s reaction to certain things is, you start to find yourself thinking more about what you’re going to say, which takes away that authenticity and takes away the humanness that people want from the people that represent them. But then as soon as you are that human, you then get criticised for being that human. You’re in a bit of a lose lose situation really.

Vic T – host: 21:18 We often forget that Sarah alongside thousands of other Councillors across the country, they all have day jobs. I ask them more about that and how she manages to fit everything in and on top of all that, keep herself healthy.

Sarah Judge: 21:34 So I run a domestic violence charity. I don’t sleep very often. I do sleep, I sleep like a log. It’s one of the saving graces. I can sleep, I can sleep in the shower. Sometimes I get up and I’ll go get in the shower and my partner will be like, why are you, are you like still there? Like, why are you in the shower? So I have another bit of sleep. I can sleep against the wall in the shower. Strange skill to have useful sometimes. I have a dog and I walk my dog and that sounds really dull and boring, but actually being able to, after a day of, of kind of the heavy stuff of work and then coming home and, and almost trying to have to switch off from one…in work, I can be dealing with somebody who’s fleeing for their life and then I can come home to an email to say, my bin hasn’t been emptied.

Sarah Judge: 22:17 And it’s almost about being able to kind of switch off from one and, and still be able to carry the level of empathy required to deal with somebody else’s problem and not just turn around and go, ‘well, do you not understand what the rest of the world is like? And what else is going on?’ Like I said earlier, that person’s problem when they come to you is the most important thing in their world at that time. So, I mean, I walk my dog a lot. I, uh, used to go to the gym. I’ve not been to the gym for a very long time. I’m going to use the excuse that I’m very busy. Nothing to do with that. I still pay my gym membership. I’ve been paying for two years now and I haven’t been once.

Sarah Judge: 22:53 When I first started Safe Spots, the charity that I run, it actually started as a campaign. It was never supposed to be anything longer than six months. And then it turned into a centre. At the time we opened the centre, we were like, we have got no idea what we’re doing because it was nothing that any of us done before. The other women who were part of the team with me, were all survivors of domestic abuse and all women who had never thought that they would ever do anything other than take their children to school and clean the house and go and pick the children up from school. And that was literally their lives. And my job was to bring them out and go, actually you can do something about this and look what what we were going to do.

Sarah Judge: 23:28 So they’ve changed the law. They’ve got a centre that’s now supported over 2000 women. They’re taken seriously by places like the council, the Housing Association. We’re like the referral point in our area now for social services to send people to. And actually it’s just craziness that these women who never thought they’d do anything would, would achieve. When that very first started, I didn’t have like a, I now have kind of a board and a management committee, cause some of the women we’re working with, they need a lot of support in order to help them keep climbing on their journey. So it was quite a lonely place to be kind of on your own supporting these other people. I think I did probably experience a bit of burnout at the start of that. I wasn’t eating properly, just cause I just didn’t have time, was going through an election, which is always adds to stress and just got to a point where I was, I think for about eight months I just constantly, constantly had a cold, constantly ill.

Sarah Judge: 24:18 And then after that I went ‘actually do you know what? I need to make sure that I make at least at the very bare minimum time to see friends once a week, time to eat dinner every day. Dinner needs to be sat down and time to walk my dog. So it got to a point where I was someone else’s walking my dog for me and I was like, well now I’ve had all of the joy of having my pet taken away from me. So yeah, it’s important and I think people need to realise that. And I think as women we’re expected to do so much that nobody recognises that actually you do still need to have a break and it’s not a weakness or a negative thing for you to actually say ‘I’m not going to go to that meeting tomorrow night because I am absolutely exhausted and I don’t need a reason past that’. That’s changed even more now that I’ve got to stepchildren cause now I realise that actually I come home from work, have meetings later on, have to make sure that there’s dinner because they have to eat, they need help with their homework. Now I understand from a parent’s point of view that this is just craziness. Absolutely. You get to like 10 o’clock at night and I’m just like, I don’t even think I can keep my eyes open long enough to watch the telly. Bed for me 10 o’clock!

Vic T – host: 25:21 From being a parent herself to actually working alongside her dad. Sarah’s dad is also a Manchester Councillor and not only that, he looks after the neighbouring ward. I ask Sarah what it’s like to work with her dad and if it was a little scary at first,

Sarah Judge: 25:40 It was never scary. He’d always been in politics. It was like I was stepping into his world. It might have been scary for him not knowing what was going to come out of my mouth from from meeting to meeting. But it’s really weird cause I always call him Tommy all the time because I can’t be sat in council and go make a speech and refer to him. Cause there’s times when I’ve had to do that and go ‘my dad’ because that just like bonkers! So I’d have to say Councillor Judge or Tommy, you know, he’s very supportive. He’s probably the one person I know that if I’ve done something that hasn’t been great, he’ll tell me and if I’ve done something that was great, he’ll tell me that’s the best thing. Celebrate the good and work with you on the bad.

Vic T – host: 26:20 As we come to the close of our conversation and as this is the strong Manchester Women podcast, I want to know from Sarah who are her strong Manchester Women.

Sarah Judge: 26:32 The work that I do like daily, the domestic abuse work, you know some of those women and what those women are going through, but how they still get up in the morning, get themselves ready, get their kids ready, try and do absolutely everything possible that their kids’ lives are not impacted by what what they’re going through. I’ve been working with some women recently from Nigeria. They fled to this country. One family fled because the daughters are at risk of FGM and the other family fled because mum, she had three children and she’d married a man even though she knew she was gay. Cause in Nigeria it’s illegal to be gay. Her partner was actually… when they got caught, they’ve had an affair for 20 years and they got caught and their partner was dragged out into the street and brutally killed in in the middle of their village.

Sarah Judge: 27:17 She’s come over into this country, their children go to school every day. She doesn’t have a washing machine. She’ll wash their clothes by hands, dry them. Every single thing that these women do are for the advancement of, of the next generation and the advancement of their children. These women are the ones that are turning around going, actually, do you know what? This situation isn’t good enough. And whilst I’m going through this, it’s really hard for me to do anything about it. But once this is dealt with, trust me, I’m going to be doing something about the situation that I’m in. And, and that’s not, not just true of these two families I’m working with. It’s true of every woman that comes through our door that there’s just that constant thinking of, yeah, you know what? My Life’s pretty shit at the moment and I’m going through all of this stuff, but I’m wanna make sure that it’s not shit for the next person. It’s hard to label individual women.

Sarah Judge: 28:02 I’d say that that kind of cohort of people and the woman who set Safe Spots up. So those women got on stages and told their stories to change society. We can talk all day about the nonsense of me standing for election and how difficult that was. Actually, these women put their stories out, really personal stories and really, really traumatic times to be knocked back time and time and time again by statutory services, who said these people can’t do this and they just two fingers to that. Now those same statutory services are banging on their door, going, ‘we’d like you to help us’ and they don’t hold any resentment to them. That group of women are phenomenal. They changed the law. They went off to Parliament, met the justice minister and told him that it all needed to change. These are women that four women in a fire station three, four years ago, two of whom were dressed in their pyjamas at the time when they rocked up to our first meeting and they had no interest in doing anything. They didn’t realise their own power and now they’ve realised it that they’re formidable. I think that group. I would hold them right up there.

Vic T – host: 29:05 That’s brilliant. Thank you very much.

Sarah Judge: 29:09 Thank you.

Vic T – host: 29:23 This podcast is inspired by the annual strong Manchester Women Campaign, which celebrates incredible women doing brilliant things. The 14 women profiled in this series was selected for the 2019 campaign. To find more about all of the women featured in this podcast and the strong Manchester Women campaign, visit the Pankhurst Trust’s website, Pankhurst for more information about this episode and all of the things we’ve covered, take a look at the detailed show notes that are attached to this episode. There’s also loads more about the podcast series and full transcript over on our website, MIC Media dot co dot uk forward slash strong Manchester Women podcast. Now, the love we’ve had so far for this series has been incredible. So if you’re enjoying the series or you have your own strong women’s stories to tell, you can tweet us using the Hashtag strong mcr women, or drop us a line through the contact form on the MIC media website. A big thanks to Manchester City Council and the Pankhurst trust for supporting this podcast series and a big thanks to Sarah.

Speaker 2: 30:56 The strong Manchester Women podcast is a MIC media production, and is presented, produced, and edited by me, Vic Elizabeth Turnbull. The series has been made possible through the Centenary city’s legacy fund.

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