Kayleigh Slater (centre) hands over the cheque to Fortalice chief executive Gill Smallwood (right) and Volunteer Co-ordinator Leanne Labrow

When offered the chance to nominate a charity of the month for our dress-down contributions Kayleigh Slater knew exactly who she was going to choose – Lewis House Women’s Refuge in Bolton – because they had been the helping hand she needed at one of the darkest times in her life.

She had been suffering domestic abuse at the hands of her partner for some time when one night it all came to a head and the police were called.


“It was four years ago and it was horrible,” said Kayleigh.  “The police came and rescued me, but there was no way I could stay at home after that and had no idea where I could go or what was going to happen to me.”

She was taken to Lewis House, run by Bolton’s Fortalice charity, and there she was given a place of safety and all the help she needed to turn her life around.


She continued: “They were brilliant.  It was amazing to find myself somewhere with people willing to help and care for me.  It was so daunting coming into a new place after such a traumatic experience, but the staff were amazing and it was great to be able to speak to other people who understood what had been happening, many of whom had had a similar experience.

“I know how tight money and sponsorship is in this current climate and when I had the chance to do something to help them out I jumped at it.”

Thank you

Receiving the cheque, Fortalice chief executive Gill Smallwood said: “We are so honoured to receive this donation and want to say thank you to the staff of Gladstone Brookes and Kayleigh in particular for nominating us.

“We need to raise £124,000 to meet the shortfall in our running costs last year and we also rely on generous donations like this to pay for the smaller projects that mean so much. Right now we’re in the school holidays and we run regular events for the children we are looking after along with their mums. A fun weekend with a bouncy castle goes a long way to putting a smile on a child’s face and helps mum relax too.”

40th anniversary

2017 is Fortalice’s 40th anniversary during which time they have thousands of women and children to escape domestic violence and re-build their lives.

Holder of the Queens Award for Voluntary Service, it provides front-line services for women and children affected by domestic abuse and as well as the Lewis House refuge they have a separate Support Centre in Bolton town centre and provide a range of outreach services.

You can find out more about them and their work at