Nikki joined the Mothers’ Union in 1997 and is currently the Mothers’ Union Worldwide Trustee for the Canter Province, having previously been the Provincial President. Now based in Exeter, she has become a passionate advocate for modern slavery.
Nikki explains how it all began: “I used to be a psychotherapist and my work brought me into contact with children who were being groomed by gangs; excluded children and people who had had their organs harvested. I was also aware of farm workers in the local area who were not being treated properly.
“When I met Caroline Virgo, the Director of The Clewer Initiative at General Synod in 2018, I was extremely keen to see how the Mothers’ Union could use its presence across the country and world to raise awareness of the issue. Our members are everywhere and so even though we can’t bring about change at a macro level, we can campaign at a local level and be the eyes and ears of our community. Since 2018, the Mothers’ Union and The Clewer Initiative have forged a strong strategic partnership, united in our passion to eradicate modern slavery.”
Using resources from The Clewer Initiative, Nikki set to work, raising awareness of modern slavery in churches as well as offering basic training to Mothers’ Union leaders in every diocese in the Canterbury Province. Her vision was to train the leaders and, in that way, cascade the knowledge throughout the movement. The Mothers’ Union created business cards for its members containing information about the Modern Slavery Helpline and encouraged people to download the Safe Car Wash and Farm Work Welfare App as well as display posters about modern slavery in church buildings. Nikki also urged members to approach other community organisations and ask them to put up posters in their buildings.
Nikki explains: “Many of our members are extremely passionate about campaigning. They do not hold back and are now very clued up on the issue. I am extremely proud of the way Mothers’ Union members have taken the message about modern slavery beyond their group to local men’s groups, Rotary groups, the Women’s Institute and other community organisations.”
In Nikki’s role as Worldwide Trustee, she also been working tirelessly to keep modern slavery on the agenda of the Mothers’ Union and consider the role the movement can have in noticing and safeguarding victims.