A woman who has tirelessly worked to improve the lives of domestic abuse victims has been recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.
Administrator for East Dunbartonshire Women’s Aid, Lorraine McKenzie (66), has been awarded an MBE in the Queen’s 90th year for services to vulnerable women and children.
During the past 30 years, the Milton of Campsie woman has been the driving force behind the provision and management of purpose-built Women’s Aid refuges.
The WA service was much in demand but it was apparent that more practical help was necessary, specifically emergency protection for those under physical threat.
She started campaigning for a refuge and her efforts were eventually rewarded by the offer of council premises consisting of two flats in a condemned building.
In 1987, with a threat of demolition she made a case with the council and in 1988 obtained a second refuge.
Ten years later, a purpose-built third refuge became the first permanent one opened.
With demand high, another refuge was needed and in 2005 a second new-build was opened in Bishopbriggs.
Lorraine told the Herald: “We currently have 12 family spaces throughout East Dunbartonshire.”
In the years she has been involved with East Dunbartonshire WA thousands of women have been given advice or support.
Of these, according to the Scottish Office, 690 women and 950 children have been helped to find refuge accommodation and more than 500 women, and 670 children have been admitted to an East Dunbartonshire WA refuge.
As a committee member she helped set up the first local Citizens’ Advice Bureaux . She was also Treasurer of Scottish WA (SWA), for many years.
Lorraine added: “It was quite a shock to be awarded an MBE but I am very pleased as it is not just for me but is a recognition of the work that this whole group has carried out over the past 34 years.”