A UTTOXETER woman who pioneered a refuge for victims of domestic abuse has been shortlisted for an award for her valuable voluntary work.
Averil Owen, a founder member of Global Lifeline, has been nominated for East Staffordshire Community Voluntary Services’ (ESCVS) Outstanding Volunteer Award.
The refuge, whose location cannot be revealed for security reasons, has helped countless victims recover, find work and be re-integrated into society.
Mrs Owen said: “I didn’t things like this happened to people like me but I’m so touched I’ve been put forward for this award.
“I’d like to thank all the volunteers who have given up their time to help our work.
“I certainly wouldn’t be up for an award if it wasn’t for them.
“The work we do is so rewarding. When someone moves on and improves their life it makes you feel so, so pleased for them.”
Mrs Owen started her work with the refuge when a property developer offered the chance to rent a property at a reduced price.
She said: “I did some investigating and I could see there was a real need for help for victims of domestic violence.
“That’s when I approached the Global Lifeline board and they gave me their full support.
“Since then, we’ve received a lot of donations and have done a lot of fund-raising work and everyone has really got behind the project.
“We’ve had the refuge since June 2011 and it’s been occupied almost constantly since then.
“Unfortunately, we don’t have the facilities to help as many people as we’d like so it would be a dream to open a second refuge.
“Many of those who come in are in a terrible state, often with no money and no home to go to.
“But we’ve helped them gain qualifications and work and many of the ladies leaving us completely turn their lives around.”
The award will be handed out on Friday and Global Lifeline will hold a charity auction at Uttoxeter’s Pentecostal Church on March 20 at 7pm. More information is available online at www.uttoxeterpentecostalchurch.co.uk/#!globallifeline/caho.