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Listener Week: Refuge Closures, Social Work, Big Feet

On day two of Listener Week: a look at the effects of refuge closures; social work; a sports park memorial to a son; big feet; and when is the right time to leave home?

Listener Week, Day 2 : effects of refuge closures on women and children escaping domestic abuse, three social workers talk about their love of their job, the challenge of finding attractive shoes for big feet, adult children- when is the right time to leave home, a mother survived the loss of her young son and created Europe's biggest urban sports park in his memory.

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58 minutes


  • Closing Refuges – the consequences

    Duration: 09:13

  • Adrenaline Alley – Mandy Young

    Duration: 05:57

  • Why I'm a Social Worker

    Duration: 12:28

  • Big feet and shoes

    Duration: 09:09

  • Listener Dilemma- Adult Children at Home

    Duration: 04:28

Closing Refuges – the consequences

Tuesday is International Day of the Elimination of Violence Against Women and it is expected that the government will unveil plans to make psychological and emotional abuse a criminal offence with a lengthy prison term. In response to our series on refuges and domestic violence, listener and artist Catherine Cartwright tweeted us to say how concerned she was with the closure of the Exeter refuge which shut earlier this year after 35 years. Jane speaks to Fleur Buechler who managed the refuge, and we hear from a woman who had been living in Devon and needed to escape her abusive partner but there was nowhere for she and her children to go. 

Film of the last resident of the Exeter refuge, made with Josh Gaunt


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Adrenaline Alley – Mandy Young

In late 2001, Mandy Young was devastated to learn that her son John, who had been struggling with the effects of an undiagnosed brain tumour throughout his childhood, had been the target of local louts. But aged 13 years, he made friends with and felt accepted by a group of local skateboarders, where he didn’t need to worry about his appearance after major surgery and chemotherapy. To provide a safe place for him to keep boarding, Mandy began creating what’s now become one of the biggest outdoor parks in the UK.  She talks to Jane about how giving something back to the community helped her cope with his death in 2010 aged 24 years old.  

Why I'm a Social Worker

“Not all social workers are monsters,” wrote senior social worker and listener MaryJarrett in an e-mail to Woman’s Hour. “Please can you do something positive about social work.” So for Listener Week we’ve invited Mary and her colleagues Anne Chester-Walsh and Tracey Coull to tell us why they do the job despite all the negative publicity.

Listener Dilemma- Adult Children at Home

How old is too old to let an adult child live at home? Are you harming their prospects for the future or helping solve the housing crisis? Hear our listener’s dilemma, tips from Guardian columnist Annalisa Barbieri, and offer your advice.

Big feet and shoes

Jane Corey emailed Woman's Hour asking us to look into why she could not find pretty shoes for her size 10 feet. Our reporter Catherine Carr talked to Sue Saunders the Course Leader for the footwear design course at Cordwainers College, part of the London College of Fashion. She recommends buying larger shoes in the online stores designed for the transvestite community or investing in shoe accessories, like those of LCF graduate Cleo Barbour. She also recommended shopping in Chiltern Street in London where four specialist large shoe shops can be found: Long Tall Sally,Totally, Crispins and Magnus of Northampton. Laura West of the Society of Shoe Fitters recommended buying bespoke shoes – expensive at first, but ensuring a perfect fit.  

Other stockists of shoes for large feet:

Cinderella shoes, Long tall sally, Tall girls, Melissa shoes, Lou-Lou shoes, Specialfeetures, After Eight shoes, Katie Long Shoes, Evans, Duo Boots, Deichmann, Shoes of Prey, Ellie Dickens shoes, Shoeisima, ookii Shoes, Bigfootshoes, Franchettibond.


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Presenter Jane Garvey


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