The History of SAHWR

The need for a women’s refuge in St Albans was identified in 1978, but it took a further 4 years of campaigning until a suitable 4 bedroom council property was found in May 1982. By September 1982 the house had been decorated and was ready to open as St Albans Women’s Refuge. Within 7 months, 22 women and 45 children had been referred to the Refuge by Social Services, the Samaritans, the Police and other refuges.

St Albans District Council was a major contributor to the upkeep of the Refuge. However, given the high running costs, generous donations from organisations such as the Ladies Circle, Round Table, Carnival Committee and the Abbey, helped establish the Refuge so that it continued to provide discreet help to women and children at a critical time in their lives.

Since 1982 the Refuge has grown in strength and size. In 1994 the Refuge took over an adjourning property and increased the number of bedrooms available to seven. In 1998, Pat Larner helped the Refuge secure a 2 bedroom flat from a local housing association. This was used for women and children who needed longer term accommodation. Within a few years a further 4 bedroom property was secured and also a property able to house 11 families in the borough of Hertsmere. Following this a decision was made to rename the organisation as St Albans & Hertsmere Women’s Refuge.

Today the Refuge is able to house 22 women and 44 children. St Albans City and District Council still remains a contributor to the upkeep of the refuge along with Hertsmere Borough Council, Hertfordshire County Council and the Government’s Supporting People Programme.

The Refuge is still reliant on the generous donations of companies, local churches, organisations, groups and individuals to support the work within the Refuge.