We’re happy to introduce our New Pathways Ambassadors, Meg Elmer and Libby Jones. As Ambassadors, Meg and Libby will help to raise awareness of our work. This is an important role as it helps us reach new people, encourages more people to reach out when they need us, and hopefully inspires greater public dialogue around sexual violence.
Libby Jones, MBE, is the founder and former managing director of New Pathways. Over 25 years ago, Libby was a volunteer with a helpline in Merthyr Tydfil that supported women who had experienced sexual violence. At the time, there was little or no help for these groups in Wales. When the helpline closed, she set up the New Pathways project and grew the organisation over the next 20 years, establishing the first sexual assault referral centre (SARC) in Wales in 2005 and helping to shape the sexual violence sector in the UK. She was awarded the MBE for services to vulnerable people in 2009.
Q: What made you decide to become an Ambassador?
New Pathways will always be a part of me – you never stop loving your baby no matter how old they are. It was a very happy day for me when I was asked to become an Ambassador for New Pathways. It is a position that will help me secure and promote New Pathways in its future journey. If I can be a voice that is encourages people that need help to turn to New Pathways, I will be a very happy person.
Q: What are you hoping to accomplish?
In the beginning of New Pathways’ life, my aim was to help and support those who had been broken from abuse, providing them with safe and specialised support. I am so proud of what has been achieved over these many years. However, we must never stop advancing as there is still more we can do and achieve. I hope to be part of that driving force. I would like to be an encourager, to support the staff – the New Pathways family in every way I can. I am extremely proud to be in this role and will carry it out to the very best of my abilities.
Meg Elmer is our Youth Ambassador. Originally from Cardiff, she currently works at Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospital. As a volunteer, she has co-led a taster session on sensory grounding skills as part of New Pathways’ BIG SURE for Mental Health Project and is also involved with Cardiff Women’s Aid.
Q: How did you become involved with New Pathways?
I came to New Pathways as a client in March 2019. I was initially invited to ‘Sea Change’, a 10 week trauma stabilisation group, before my 1-1 counselling started. I completely fell in love with New Pathways and, as a client, was asked to speak to the Victims Fund in order to share just how incredible ‘Sea Change’ was- which went very successfully! After my counselling finished, I broke off contact and came to realise I didn’t actually need the support of New Pathways to survive anymore. I was a Survivor in my own right. But my love for the organisation, the people that give the most incredible support, and my passion to see a world without sexual violence brought me back. I realised this is where I needed to be. New Pathways is where I belong.
Q: What made you decide to become an Ambassador and what are you hoping to accomplish?
I originally applied to be on the Board of Trustees but was offered this position instead. I was extremely excited and accepted straight away because rape and sexual abuse happens far too often to people in Wales not to know about New Pathways. Change needs to happen now. Survivors deserve that. I’m ready for my voice to be heard and to share the message that you don’t have to suffer in silence. The journey to healing and recovery is difficult, but New Pathways makes it so much easier, and everyone needs to know this. I’m particularly passionate about children and young people getting the help they deserve, so I would love to eventually visit schools. I personally believe that New Pathways should be included in the Welsh curriculum. I think it’s so important for teachers to know about New Pathways to enable them to provide the best support, as well as letting children know that they are not alone.