Simone Kesseler is a business growth consultant following a 20-year corporate career in media and marketing. She was Britain’s first female chief executive officer of a public limited company and continues to take businesses through growth to exit, brokering sales and acquisitions of companies in £5m to £10m range. She is the business director of Mitchell & Dickinson, a Devon company that provides environmentally friendly secondary glazing and insulation for period homes

I started holding hands with NDADA around eight years ago when it was still called North Devon Women’s Aid. A friend introduced me when I was looking for a new local charity to support with fundraising fashion events. My friend said that they were a very small and under-supported, low-profile local charity doing amazing work. She was right.

The work that NDADA does is amazing: the only remaining refuge in Devon for women and children fleeing domestic abuse, also providing support services in the community for victims of domestic abuse through outreach services. I was delighted to volunteer as a Trustee when invited a year or so later. Since then the charity has grown in profile and strength, and although the struggle for funding continues we are still able to provide a first-class place of refuge for those in need. A place of safety. A place of trust. A place of genuine care. Just what a woman needs when she has been attacked in her own home – the very place everyone should always feel most safe of all.

Of course abuse takes many forms, and nowadays our common understanding of all of the kinds of abuse is getting out there, in no small part due to the work of organisations like NDADA with its programmes of education and communication to help keep families safe and build healthy relationships.

The Holding Hands with NDADA series shines a light on why NDADA’s work is so vital, and why people choose to support us.