Lisa Hilder, founder and director of nonprofit legal firm Affordable Justice, and the award-winning Preston Road Women’s Centre, has been awarded an MBE.

The honour recognises Lisa’s contribution to changing the way in which women’s domestic abuse services are run and acknowledges the remarkable results achieved through her fundraising efforts – generating over £23 million in grants and social investment in 20 years.

“I truly believe that this award is actually in recognition of the work that all in the team have done over the years here at Preston Road. When we established the women’s centre, we were keen to create a service that was less reliant on charitable donations and grants, and more self sustaining in the way that it operated,” commented Lisa Hilder. “Whilst working with many social investors over the years, we have used that funding in a way that has grown our operations and helped to make the women we support feel more independent and empowered.”

The long-term plan for Lisa and her team is to create a blueprint of women’s services that can be replicated across the country, but also replicated across different issues and demographics as well, to tackle areas such as immigration and social injustice. The Affordable Justice legal model, for example, has already caught the eye of investors looking at absorbing its knowledge and experiences into creating affordable legal services in other sectors.

All services within Affordable Justice and Preston Road Women’s Centre subscribe to a number of key principles. These include:

  • Offering a consistent quality across the delivery of the service.
  • Working within a financially sustainable infrastructure.
  • Working within a feminist philosophy of practice

“The intention behind these values is to elevate the mindset of everyone within an organisation, making them feel less dependent and more in control. Most of the women we help leave an abusive relationship and do not return. The average return rate across the sector for domestic abuse survivors is actually seven, meaning that women will leave and return up to seven times before they finally leave for good. Our women leave once, and once only,” continued Lisa Hilder.

Affordable Justice is a non-profit alternative business structure family law firm that works solely with women who are not eligible for legal aid. The company works out of the Preston Road Women’s Centre in Hull, which offers a range of services to women escaping domestic abuse, such as housing, childcare and training.