Meet the Team

Having lived and worked in the Stanley area for most of her life, Linda Kirk has a deep connection with this part of the North East. After leaving social work in 2001 and training to be a depression consultant and mentor, Linda began working in the women’s sector. As an advocate for women’s issues, I began to research women’s centres in England, with the idea of setting up a retreat that would welcome women of all ages, cultures and backgrounds,’ she explains. ‘Somewhere for women could tell their stories, be listened to and supported.

The Just For Women Centre, which I founded from my own money after selling my business, has now been running for eight years and was desperately needed at a time when our country was in recession and the need for it has grown greatly,’ she adds. On the 24th of January 2019, Linda’s hard work and compassion for her community were recognised nationally when she was awarded a British Citizen Award. ‘I feel so privileged and humbled to have received this award and be able to bring it back to the North East, and I was extremely fortunate to meet such an inspiring group of people.’ Linda has also sat on the Rape Scrutiny Panel since the beginning of 2014 and has featured in local and national media, having done many radio debates and interviews, short documentaries for BBC 1, Channel 4, BBC 3 and Crime Watch. Linda speaks at many events on her work and campaigns for women’s issues.

Debbie Rogan

Debra arrived at the Just For Women Centre via the jobcentre. She initially worked as a volunteer, working around 25 hours per week, with the intention of staying for three months. With a few extensions on her time at the centre, she has completed a range of courses including PTLLS, Education & Training Assessor Certification, Mental Health Awareness, Suicide Awareness and others. Debra was awarded for outstanding contributions for supporting participants at the Just For Women Centre by Durham County Council Public Health. Debra is now a director and support worker at the Just For Women Centre.

Through working closely with the women at the centre Debra has developed and facilitates her own courses, Disappearing Women and Finding Me. Debra has also been running her own projects for the past five years, is the manager of the men’s Cree and developed her own project working with girls from local schools.

Lestryne worked in Residential Social Work for fourteen years. She joined the Just For Women Centre in January 2011as a volunteer to support and counsel women attending the centre. Lestryne is an excellent crafter and passionately passes on her skills through her teaching of craft workshops to other women, having a firm belief that crafting is a therapy, relaxing both mind and body. She is passionate about the centre and particularly loves to see the positive changes that occur in the lives of the women she works with.  Lestryne is also regularly interviewed on radio and media.

Over the past 5 years, having become a cree manager, Lestryne has run her own cree project in neighbouring Annfield Plain, thus extending her support work to vulnerable women in neighbouring communities. Also during her time at the centre, Lestryne has completed her Certificate in Preparing to Teach in the Lifelong Learning Sector (PTLLS) which enables her to deliver, within the community, her own “Crafting to Wellness” course which she wrote and continues to develop. She is now looking to offer complementary and alternative therapies to women utilising a holistic approach to physical and mental health, focusing on reducing the symptoms of depression, anxiety, sleep problems and stress, whilst promoting relaxation.

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