September: Tina

Tina’s journey with Fylde Coast Women’s Aid (FCWA) started as a service user, she came to the Fylde Coast seeking refuge with her three children 22 years ago.

She settled on the Fylde and went on to complete a BA in Social Work and Welfare Studies and then a MA in Social Work. During the five years she was studying she volunteered with FCWA in various capacities and spent a short time as a Trustee. In 2007 following completion of her MA she was successful in securing the role of Assistant Service Manager with FCWA.

Five years later she became Service Manager and more recently her title has changed to Chief Executive Officer. During her time as Service Manager she steered the organisation through some difficult and challenging times. At times, the only thing that kept her focused and driven was knowing how very important quality specialist services are to adult and child victims of domestic abuse.

As a team they have nurtured and grown the organisation into what it is today. They have 34 members of staff and a small number of volunteers. In August this year, they began delivering the high/medium risk Independent Domestic Violence Advisor contract commissioned by the local authority. Also, at the beginning of lockdown they began working in partnership with Lancashire Constabulary and Blackpool Teaching Hospitals to deliver Operation Provide, where specialist domestic abuse professionals work alongside police officers attending domestic abuse call outs to offer victims support at the time of the incident.


What made you decide to work with people experiencing domestic abuse?

As mentioned above, my experience of living with and ultimately escaping a violent perpetrator of abuse made me want to ensure other victims received quality help and support.

What keeps you going when the work gets tough?

Knowing that the service FCWA offers is a lifeline to hundreds of victims every year.

What are the biggest challenge and the biggest reward as a Service Manager?

As a CEO the biggest challenge without a doubt is securing funding and the sustainability of services. The biggest reward for me is knowing we are keeping victims and their children safe on a daily basis and that we are empowering victims to live their lives free from abuse.

What are you most proud of so far?

Two things make me very proud, firstly managing a fantastic team who are so hardworking and dedicated.

Secondly, listening to fabulous feedback from clients about how much the support they have received has changed and, in some cases, has saved their lives.

If you could give one piece of advice to someone considering this career, what would it be?

I would advise anyone considering this line of work to contact local specialist services and find out about the services and the types of roles available, perhaps consider volunteering first. My advice to any former service user looking to give back would be to make sure that you are in the right place on your own journey before trying to help others.  

Working in the DVA sector isn’t for everyone, the challenges can be hard, but the rewards are significant. Witnessing the journey to recovery for individuals can provide immense job satisfaction that can last a lifetime.  

Tina's colleague said "Tina [has] been involved with FCWA for many years in various roles and has been the FCWA Service Manager for over 10 years. Tina has shaped and developed the organisation into what it is today. In recent years Tina has led the organisation through some difficult times but has always strived to ensure that the charity provided quality services to our clients. Throughout COVID-19 Tina and the team have been successful in securing a new IDVA tender and have been planning to ensure that this runs smoothly as well as dealing with everything that the pandemic has thrown at FCWA. Tina is never too busy to take time out of her schedule to support staff when needed."

Do you know a professional who has gone above and beyond to change the response to domestic abuse and keep survivors and their families safe? Nominate someone for Star of the Month by emailing communications@safelives.org.uk with ‘Star of the Month’ as the subject line.