Little Girl Kissing her Baby Cousin, Refuge Christmas campaign

Every woman and child should feel safe this Christmas: Buy a Christmas present for a child in a refuge

Little Girl Kissing her Baby Cousin, Refuge Christmas campaign

Every woman and child should feel safe this Christmas. You can help – here’s how. Buy a Christmas present for a child in a refuge.

Last Christmas, Refuge supported 682 women and children in their refuges and they expect similar numbers again this year, For many, it’ll be their first Christmas away from their abusers, after months or even years of living in danger and fear.

So we’re asking people to give someone a happier Christmas by buying a present from our gift list. Donations will then be used to give the women and children we support gift cards so they can choose a present they will cherish all year round.

This holiday season, help a woman or child have a happy Christmas. We’ve got great gifts ranging from teddy bears to winter hats and jumpers. Take a look

Young woman with a baby boy at Christmas time, Refuge Christmas campaign

Mariam* and her children arrived at our refuge with just a single suitcase, after years of physical abuse.

She says gifts from Refuge supporters made a huge difference. “Being able to choose a new toy meant so much to my sons – their faces would light up!”

It meant a lot to Mariam, too. “‘I remember receiving a bundle of toiletries and I was so touched, it almost made me cry,” she says. “It meant everything to know that someone cared about my family and they understood what we were going through.”

A simple act of kindness like buying crayons, a scarf, or toiletries can show a family like Mariam’s you’re thinking of them. Choose your gift now:


Your generosity is genuinely life-changing and these are gifts that will never be forgotten.

*Mariam’s name has been changed to protect her privacy.

Find out more about Refuge and the support they provide

Refuge supports thousands of women and children on any given day, and runs the National Domestic Abuse Helpline, which is the gateway to accessing specialist support across the country. More than one in four women in England and Wales experiences domestic abuse at some point in their lifetime, and two women a week are killed by a current or former partner.

Refuge is committed to a world where domestic violence and violence against women and girls is not tolerated and where women and children can live in safety. Refuge supports women and children who experience all forms of violence and abuse, including domestic violence, sexual violence, female genital mutilation, forced marriage, so-called ‘honour’-based violence, and human trafficking and modern slavery.

Refuge logo

Tech She Can Charity Announcement

Tech She Can becomes a charity, inspiring more young girls and women into technology careers

Tech She Can Charity announcement

Tech She Can has become a charity with over 200 members – helping inspire more young girls and women to pursue a career in technology.

As a charity, Tech She Can, working together with its board of Trustees and member organisations will be able to extend its reach and impact.

Tech She Can was created in 2018 with 18 founding organisations following a research initiative into why girls and young women are less likely to study technology-based subjects, and pursue tech careers.

Today, it is a charity with over 200 member organisations, with the Tech She Can Strategic Partners being: PwC, Google, NatWest, Centrica, Credit Suisse, UST, Morgan Stanley, Tesco, Nationwide and Zoopla. Other members include the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and Channel 4 and come from a wide range of industries committed to collaborating to address the gender imbalance in technology roles in the UK.

Sheridan AshSpeaking about the announcement, Sheridan Ash MBE, Tech She Can Founder and co-CEO, said, “Tech She Can is going from strength to strength.”

“It is inspiring girls and young women by showing them the exciting opportunities provided by technology and the great careers it offers.”

“At the same time it is addressing the problem of skills shortages in technology and giving voice to female perspectives in the development and use of the technologies that we all use.”

“By becoming a charity we will supercharge all the determination and passion that our members bring and the collaboration that underpins all we do.”

“Our objective is for women to play an equal role in creating the technology that shapes our world.”

Tech We Can

How Tech She Can helps

In 2019, Tech She Can launched an online portal – called Tech We Can – following two successful pilots with schools across the UK. The online portal provides lesson plans for teachers which can be taught to girls and boys aged 9-14, with the aim of inspiring school students across the country to consider a career in technology, and boost the diversity of future technologists. The lesson plans are designed for teachers to adapt based on the technologies available at each participating school and showcase the breadth and depth of tech careers and highlight real life role models, especially females, from across the Tech She Can signatories. Tech We Can now reaches 630 schools across the UK.

During the pandemic, Tech We Can at Home was launched giving parents and carers access to lesson plans and a series of shorter online sessions, ‘Tech Tuesdays’ were run for 10 consecutive weeks, designed to be viewed on demand in the classroom or at home. There have now been over 1,300 home users of the lesson plans and over 7,500 total views of the Tech Tuesdays. Students and homeschoolers have taken part across the globe from the UK to Australia, Greece, India, Nigeria, South Africa, Thailand, the USA and Qatar.

New initiatives

Tech She Can piloted its very first apprenticeship scheme during the pandemic when Zoopla took onboard 10 trainee software engineers who participated in a 10 week virtual bootcamp. Findings from the boot camp were also used to help Centrica increase their share of female engineering apprentices to 40%. More recently, PwC, Zoopla, Credit Suisse and Morgan Stanley joined up to deliver Tech She Can’s first ‘Career Insight Programme’ for Year 11

students to find out how technology is used, the types of tech careers that exist, and meet role models from these organisations. The charity is looking to scale these initiatives with apprenticeships, career insights, and work experience weeks becoming a core part of its strategy.

Tech We Can Champions is a newer initiative which allows the employees of the member organisations to receive training in order to give back to their local schools and communities.

Partnerships helping give Tech She Can a greater impact

With the UK facing a critical technology skills shortage, Tech She Can has formed joint initiatives with a number of key partners including the DCMS and the Digital Skills Partnership, Future Dot Now, STEM learning, and Tech Talent Charter. In addition, Tech She Can has sponsored the establishment and participation in an All-Party Parliamentary Groups (APPG) on Diversity & Inclusion in STEM with the British Science Association.


From charity to coding: Why it’s never too late to change your career  

It was on my return from travelling South America with my fiancé that I decided I didn’t want to go back to my old career. I had spent 10 years in the charity sector and it just didn’t bring me the enthusiasm that I had experienced when I first set out.

Beyond that I didn’t have a clue, I just tried to be as open minded as possible.

What I could never have imagined was that, age 30, I’d be an apprentice software developer – and, on top of that, loving it!

Not only did I think apprenticeships were for much younger people, but I had never shown any interest in IT. I had all these preconceptions about it, I hadn’t any interest in computers and didn’t think it was very sociable. Even though my boyfriend was a software engineer, I just never thought it was for me.

After spending weeks trawling networking events and workshops, I stumbled across a one day coding course put on by a global charity called Django Girls, where I learned how to build a blog site. I thought knowing how to build a website would look good on my CV, but when I had a go myself I really got into it – I wanted to know more, how and why.

Suddenly I became excited about it, I thought about all the other things I could do with these new skills and how I could achieve it. I hadn’t gone looking for coding, but it was like something clicked – I was suddenly interested in it all.

The next step was having the confidence to apply for an apprenticeship.

The workshop I had taken part in held at Code Nation, a Manchester-based software development and apprenticeship provider and coding school. Through them I learned about a role at EMIS Health.

The company is the UK’s leading provider of software to the NHS – supporting more than 10,000 organisations including GP practices, community pharmacists and hospital trusts in their daily work on the frontline.  It has played a key role supporting service delivery during the coronavirus pandemic.

The company runs an apprenticeship scheme in partnership with Code Nation, giving applicants the opportunity to train and then become junior software developers.

I didn’t expect to get it. I’m not someone who’s had a passion for coding my whole life or knew an awful lot about it, but because I enjoyed it so much I decided it was worth applying for – and I’m glad I did! Something I’ve learned since is that EMIS Health is very keen on getting women into the tech industry, and they weren’t looking for someone with all the answers, they just wanted someone with problem solving skills and a passion for it.

I started the course with Code Nation in September 2019 and started my full time role as a junior software developer with EMIS Health in January.

There’s something about the industry that’s very exciting. The world is taking such strides in terms of technology advances it’s really interesting to learn about. And, contrary to my early misconceptions, it’s very sociable! You work as a team with people who share the same passions and are interested to hear about what you have discovered.

There’s also a real push to get more women into the tech industry, so if anyone is interested in either starting a new career or learning more about it, there are lots of opportunities.

As well learning new technical skills, it’s great that I’ve been able to continue making a difference to society. I worked in the charity sector because making a difference is important to me. One of my concerns with moving jobs was whether I would find something that fulfilled that side of things.

EMIS Health’s technology directly supports the frontline work of clinicians across the UK, including GPs, pharmacists and hospital trusts. I’m a small cog in a big machine, but it’s still a machine that’s making a difference and I’m proud to be part of it.

So, to anyone thinking they are too old to change their career, you can still go on to be successful in a completely new industry, there are lots of opportunities out there – you just have to take that first step!

To find out more about careers at EMIS Health, visit

Vicky HotchkissAbout the author

Vicky Hotchkiss, from Chorlton, in South Manchester, is one of EMIS Health’s newest apprentices - developing software that supports frontline NHS clinicians.

Originally from Barnsley in South Yorkshire, she earned a degree in environmental studies at the University of York and worked in the charity sector for around 10 years before retraining to become a junior software developer.

Tech Returners community brings coding and charity together

Tech Returners, a community which aims to remove barriers which all returners face after a career break, is bringing coding and charity together with a series of learning events which will raise funds for NHS Charities Together.

Over the Easter bank holiday, 150 individuals from the Tech Returners community came together to take part in a CodeWars Challenge, designed to enhance tech skills and bring people together during lockdown. Anyone who completes the challenge will win a £10 Amazon voucher, and Tech Returners has pledged to make a £10 per head donation on behalf of those who take part and finish the learning event.

On top of this, the organisation has also launched a 5-day webinar programme - 'Dinner & DevOps', which will bring together a collective of software engineers and developers from businesses including Hiring Hub, Barclays and AutoTrader. Here, they will expand their DevOps knowledge and skills, with 10% of any sign up fees also going to NHS Charities Together.

Speaking about the events, CTO James Heggs has commented:

“Our focus is and always has been on positive learning experiences which bring our community together, being in lockdown hasn’t changed that so we’ve created these challenges and courses which whilst done remotely are very much designed to bring people together and we knew we could go one step further by raising some funds along the way for our fantastic NHS”

The Dinner and DevOps webinar challenge will continue throughout this week, with a second course scheduled in line with Spring Bank Holiday. Meanwhile, Tech Returners is continuing to deliver two cohorts of its extremely successful and widely-known ‘Your Journey Into Tech’ programme, with 30 returners set to graduate in May and July of this year.

For more information on Tech Returners programmes visit