A WOMAN has created a 'safe space' group to help women attend concerts, gigs and festivals without having to look over their shoulders.

Shelby-Leigh Bradley, of Maryport, created the Gals who Gig - Cumbria group as a way for women to combat loneliness and find buddies to attend events together.

The 26-year-old wants the group to cover the whole of Cumbria, with future outreach planned for the South and East of the county.

She said: "I created the group as I love attending live music events but have found that as I am getting older, my friends are less available and do not want to come to gigs any more - they are settled, have moved away, or started a family.

"It is easy to say 'just go out and meet new people' but it is a big risk to go out to venues and pubs, as you leave yourself vulnerable and it is not as pleasant an experience being sober in a room full of people drinking.

"The Sarah Everard case is one of many women who set off home and unfortunately never made it - this group aims to buddy women up together and keep each other safe."

She says that she has struggled with loneliness, amplified by the Covid pandemic. Outside of sporting organisations, she thinks there are few opportunities to mingle with people of her own age.

There is a minimum age limit of 18 in the group, but no maximum.

She is running the group through a private Facebook group and an Instagram page: @galswhogig_cumbria.

Shelby-Leigh said: "In cities there are similar groups, there are student unions and groups for all interests but unless you move away to Uni you do not get to experience this.

"Living in Cumbria, it is very difficult to find likeminded people and hopefully this bridges that gap for music lovers across the county. I am encouraging women to enjoy local music and music across the country - hopefully cutting costs of travel and creating new friendships which would otherwise have not been formed."