Carole came to Milton Keynes at the beginning of 1972 and very quickly became involved with community activities in Simpson. She volunteered to assist with running the Children’s Art Workshop, a youth club set up and run by Sue Westell and Sheila Roche in Bowlers Bridge House alongside the Grand Union Canal in Simpson. She also undertook supply teaching at the then Simpson Village School.
In 1974 she joined the Development Corporation, at first as an Arrivals Worker and later as a Community Services Officer with special responsibility for Education. She played a major role in establishing the Home School Link Scheme to link parents and educators, prior to a child’s entry to State Education, for the benefit of that first educational experience to the child. While in that post she was also given responsibility for services to the young disabled.
While employed by the Development Corporation she and a colleague Terry Simons decided that something was needed in Milton Keynes to deal with the ever growing amount of domestic violence to women from their male partners/spouses. What was needed was a refuge to which persecuted women and their children could flee to escape that violence. At that time there were only two such refuges in the whole of England, one run by Erin Pitzey in Chiswick and one in Hull. Carole and Terry visited both to gain experience of the difficulties and practicalities of setting up and running such a facility. This work was carried out in their own time and was not supported by salary inputs from their employer.
Carole undertook the major role of communicating with established organisations in Milton Keynes such as Rotary, Round Table, Lions, Employers, Women’s groups, Pensioner clubs etc. to convince people of the need for a refuge, to seek financial and practical support for the project and also to recruit members to assist with running the newly formed Milton Keynes Women’s Aid. Carole was determined that the organisation should not be a seven-day wonder with a short life, but should be strong and robust enough to persist in achieving its aims and able to flourish in its pursuit of greater facilities as the city expanded.
With support from many organisations, including donations from individuals and companies, both financial and in materials and practical assistance, and the grant of a lease from the Development Corporation of a large house at a peppercorn rent, the first refuge was created and fitted out to receive its first clients. Carole continued to play a major role in the running of the group and the refuge.
Carole ended her day-to day involvement with Women’s Aid after the tragic death of her elder daughter in a road accident in 1977.
After leaving the Development Corporation in 1984 Carole joined the Urban Studies Group and played a major role in setting up and running the Young Citizen Project which aimed to encourage older children to discover more about the city rather than just having knowledge of the grid square in which they lived.
Carole’s greatest pride in her life’s many achievements, apart from successfully raising a family, was her role in setting up Milton Keynes Women’s Aid and its continuing success after she had left it. Her early dedication to the organisation has resulted in a service to the community which has grown and prospered greatly to be the flourishing asset to Milton Keynes which it is today under the umbrella of Milton Keynes ACT.