Women’s Aid Leicestershire Limited was established in 1974 when we opened the first refuge in Leicester to support women and children fleeing domestic abuse. Since then we have continued to provide vital assistance to all victims of domestic abuse and sexual violence. Our work continues to be as important now as it was when we first began.

Women's Aid Leicestershire Limited is part of a consortium of three local, specialist providers called United Against Violence & Abuse (UAVA). Alongside FreeVA and Living Without Abuse, we aim to provide a simplified journey,  which can be accessed by anyone who has been affected by domestic abuse and / or sexual violence.



Chair of the Board of Directors

Mary Tyler (Acting Chair) has recently retired as a lecturer in youth and community work at De Montfort University. She taught informal education, social policy and management to youth and community work students, tutored on management programmes for children and young people’s service leaders in the East Midlands, and undertook research and evaluation.

Nicola Meskimmon (Acting Chair) is a Senior HR Advisor with Leicester City Council and has worked in Human Resources at operational and strategic level for over 12 years, in both local government and the voluntary sector. Nicola has had plenty of voluntary experience having previously sat on the Voluntary Management Committee of a local primary school After School Club for 5 years, worked as support to a local food bank and soup kitchen for the homeless, acted as a befriender and trainer with The Terence Higgins Trust in London and spent 2 years in rural Kenya as a teacher.

Head of the Fundraising Sub-Committee

Marea Roberts has had a varied career starting out as a beautician including work in the Bahamas. She joined her family fabric business in Leicester and Coventry and was involved for over twenty years sourcing fabric from around the world and running retail outlets as well as a mail order company. Marea was active politically holding several positions in the Labour Party including General Election agent and became a district councillor in 1996.  She was a school governor and was active in CND and Anti Apartheid as well as serving on the national executive of the Christian group Jubilee.

Head of the HR & Finance Sub-Committee

David Ford qualified as a chartered accountant back in 1972, having trained with a leading City firm. During the following 8 years, he held a number of senior financial management roles in various sectors. David then launched his own business in the fleet management and leasing industry, which became a market leading business employing over 350 people. After that business was sold, he started two new businesses, one consultancy business specialising in strategic development and corporate turnarounds. and another specialising in providing outsourcing services to schools and colleges.

Members of the Board

Sandra Parkinson is now retired having had an interesting career in careers guidance for adults.   Sandra enjoyed working with many community groups in the heart of Leicester including Highfields, St Mathews and Beaumont Leys.  Her work in Highfields raised Sandra’s awareness of the isolation of women in the community despite living close to their own ethnic groups.  Working with Leicester Libraries, Sandra ran support groups raising self-confidence and preparing women for returning to work. Sandra then moved into a training role, working with careers advisors who supported vulnerable people.  Sandra the moved to Leicestershire County Council spending two years training a team of careers advisors working within the community.

Patricia Scholes-Noble lived in central London, prior to moving to the East Midlands, working with street homeless men. She eventually managed the first women’s hostel opened by the charity she worked for. In more recent years, she worked with blind and visually impaired Further Education students and then with adolescents with special needs. Patricia is also a trained counsellor.

Alison Lockley first worked as a Youth Worker. For six years she worked in a Leicester project, delivering a curriculum of social education to unemployed young adults, with an emphasis on work with young women. From here she moved to London and worked in a number of social housing organisations providing accommodation for homeless people with additional support needs, including mental health needs, substance mis-use, care-leaving, ex-offending and experience of sexual or domestic abuse. Alison then worked as Operations Manager for Supported Housing in a large housing association, managing a range of supported housing projects. She then set up and managed a DfES funded project for teenage parents, developing a range of support mechanisms and funding schemes to enable young mothers to return to education. After which she was employed as an associate lecturer on Manchester Metropolitan University’s Early Years Education degree course. 

Dr Raha Sepehrara trained as a Dentist at Birmingham Dental School where she received numerous awards. Raha is the owner of three successful dental practices in the East Midlands which have helped her gain huge insight in business growth, development, leadership, people management and personal development. Raha often appears on the local Radio and national papers to give her expert views on dental topics. She is also often involved in organising courses for her dental colleagues helping her fulfil her interest in lecturing and training.

Zabin Chauhan is a Senior Crown Prosecutor for the Crown Prosecution Service. She has worked for the CPS since 2016 and deals with a varied caseload including cases involving Stalking and Harassment, Modern Slavery and Domestic Abuse. Zabin qualified as a Solicitor in 2007 and practiced as a Family Lawyer until 2011. Following this, she worked for the Solicitors Regulation Authority where she dealt with compliance and regulatory matters. Zabin is an experienced lawyer and has represented many vulnerable women and men who were victims of Domestic Abuse dealing with cases ranging from court applications for non-molestation injunctions, disputes regarding children and cases involving child abduction.