Refuge appoints second interim chief executive in five months


The domestic violence charity Refuge has appointed its second interim chief executive in the space of five months.

Abigail Ampofo, director of service delivery at the charity, has been appointed interim head after Ellen Miller announced she would be leaving to take up a permanent role.

Miller, who has been interim chief since September, when Ruth Davison stepped down, is to become chief executive of SafeLives, where she previously worked as deputy chief executive. 

Miller also acted as SafeLives’ interim chief in January 2023, while her predecessor, Suzanne Jacob, was on parental leave.

Ampofo, who has been working at Refuge since 2021, will take up the reins as interim chief on 4 March. 

She also has nearly two decades of experience working in social care and local government, Refuge said. 

Ampofo said: “Since joining the organisation over two years ago, I am humbled daily by the passion and dedication of all colleagues and volunteers in furthering Refuge’s mission, ensuring that survivors and their children have the vital support they deserve. 

“I am committed to continue leading the organisation with integrity and working with fantastic colleagues as Refuge continues to be a feminist force for good.”

Miller said: “It’s been a privilege to have had the opportunity to lead Refuge. I will definitely be leaving with mixed feelings – but I am going back to a permanent role in an organisation I loved. I will still be a big fan, advocate and friend of Refuge as this is a great and important charity.”

Speaking about Miller’s departure, Hetti Barkworth-Nanton, chair of Refuge, said: “She has led the organisation with skill during a period of significant challenge and change for Refuge and the sector as a whole. 

“However, we recognise that the opportunity to lead SafeLives is fantastic for her and for SafeLives, building on her successful time there as interim chief executive.”

Refuge said it was beginning the process to recruit a permanent chief executive.

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