Our team

Meet our senior leadership team.

Ellen Miller headshot

Ellen Miller

Interim CEO of Refuge

Ellen is our interim Chief Executive and leads our work to end domestic abuse. Ellen joined us in October 2023. Previously she served as interim CEO at the second tier Domestic Abuse charity, SafeLives. Ellen has worked in a range of senior roles as CEO (interim and permanent) and as Services Director providing advocacy and support to survivors (running busy services and influencing policy at a national and local level) and with a focus on those excluded because of their physical and mental health. Before this she worked in local government strategy and commissioning, commissioning health and social care in Greater Manchester. She's one of the trustees at Blackpool Foodbank, and on the board of Together Housing, one of the largest housing associations in the North. She's passionate about social justice, listening and learning, and kindness.

Image of Lornette Pemberton looking directly into camera

Lornette Pemberton

Director of People & Culture

Lornette joined Refuge in May 2021 with over 25 years’ experience in HR with the previous 16 years in senior HR roles within the not for profit sector including within social housing and education. As Director of People and Culture, Lornette is responsible for leadership and management of the People team who support all aspects of HR. In addition, Lornette is the SLT lead for EDI, internal communications and the Staff Forum. Her approach to her work is based on transparency and consultation where, as also being an employee, employee engagement is at the heart of all she does. Lornette is always happy to speak to and hear from colleagues on any issues, related to their experience of working at Refuge.

Image of Abigail Ampofo in black and white looking to the left of the camera

Abigail Ampofo

Director of Service Delivery

Abigail joined Refuge in November 2021 taking up the newly created post of Director of Service Delivery, leading all of Refuge’s operational services including refuge accommodation, community based services, Refuge’s flagship tech and economic abuse service and the National Domestic Abuse Helpline. Abigail has worked in social care or local government for nearly two decades, holding strategic or senior leadership positions for the last 15 years. Prior to joining Refuge Abigail was a Director of Operations for a London based charity where she led their award winning response to domestic abuse and modern slavery, alongside coproduction, volunteering and corporate partnerships before leading the development of the organisation’s digital transformation strategy.

Tracy Blackwell

Director of Insights and Partnerships

Tracy has been a member of Refuge’s senior leadership team since 2009. As well as leading the organisation, Tracy is responsible for the strategic development of services, and leads policy and public affairs, research, and partnerships. This involves working closely with national and local government, sector partners and wider alliances to influence policy and shape best practice to ensure the needs of women and children experiencing domestic abuse are met. Tracy has worked in the not-for-profit sector for over 25 years, holding senior posts in a range of organisations focused on supporting vulnerable children, young people and families.

Cathryn Symons

Director of Technology

Cathryn joined Refuge in the new role of Director of Technology in January 2023 bringing extensive experience in IT, including 15 years in programme and project management roles in the corporate sector and over 10 years in technology Director roles in the charity sector. She is responsible for our IT and performance reporting teams, and is setting up a programme of work to make sure that Refuge has the technology it needs to enable its work with women and girls, that staff are well supported in its use, and that we provide high quality information to our funders.

Louise Firth

Director of Fundraising and Communications

Louise is the Director of Fundraising and Communications at Refuge. The Fundraising, Communications and Digital Teams, led by Louise, work hard to inspire the public to support the vital work that Refuge does for survivors of domestic abuse and campaign for the end of violence against women and girls (VAWG). Before joining Refuge, Louise has held other senior positions across the sector, including Stonewall and the NSPCC. Aside from her role as Director of Fundraising and Communications, Louise is a sponsor for the LGBTQI+ Shine Engagement Networking Group. Louise has championed for equality, diversity and inclusion throughout her career and is proud to be an LGBT+ role model.