A PROFILE OF THERESA CUMBERS

Former Project Director of the Magdalene Project (Norwich, Norfolk) and Founder member/trustee of ‘Beyond the Streets’ (National Christian Alliance on Prostitution)

Theresa was born and raised in the East End of London. She was the youngest of nine children and experienced first hand the problems of poverty from a young age, never forgetting the love and support network found in her family and her East End community.

It is her desire to write about her life experiences which she often shares with the women she comes in contact with, all of whom say they love the stories, some of which can bring you to tears or give you that pain which you get from deep laughter.

Theresa trained in secretarial and business administration skills, gaining distinction in both. Upon graduating from college Theresa worked for an international publishing company. Theresa has two children Benjamin and Estelle and two grandchildren, Samuel and Henry. In 1983 she experienced great pain and sadness when her husband John was killed in a road traffic accident, leaving her to raise two young children, Estelle was then 11 years old and Benjamin was 8.

At this time in her life Theresa experienced just how much ‘life can hurt’ but dealt with the sadness and pain by searching to overcome her grief in the hopes that she could bring up her children with love and integrity. Through caring and serving others Theresa was able to put her strategic thinking into good works with the public offices held both in business and social care between 1984 – l991,

In 1992 Theresa was one of three Norwich magistrates who were both touched and concerned about the number of young women coming before them for prostitution offences. Theresa was initially an active trustee and for two years spent time walking the streets with other volunteers, outreaching in the area known as the ‘Red Light’ district in Norwich and stepped aside in order to work full time for the project.

Theresa was with the Magdalene Project since its foundation in 1992. Under Theresa’s leadership the group grew significantly, employing five staff members, supported by a team of 25 volunteers who facilitated street outreach, drop-in centre duties and basic skills educational training for those working in Prostitution in Norwich/Norfolk. It was a joy to witness many leaving the lifestyle and making positive, lasting changes which gave them the freedom to enjoy their lives with their beloved families and communities. During these years TMP was able to aid many new groups to form their own projects up and down the UK. The blueprint of just a few groups was passed onto others and in 1995 the National charity was birthed and now have 50 affiliated projects working under their umbrella. Please view the site of Beyond the Streets for more information and contact details.

Low cost – High Price was written in the hopes of changing people’s perception of those working in the sex industry, mainly those who work on the streets – her book tells of the heartache and successes of women involved in the lifestyle and some success stories.

Since her retirement in March 2006 Theresa was able to rest in God and listen to how He was leading her to take the next step. During this time she started to write her first book. Low Cost – High Price.

 

Theresa Cumbers