A BOSS of a Swindon women’s project has won a national award.

Rose Mahon, head of excellence at the Nelson Trust, was named Criminal Justice Champion at the prestigious Howard League for Penal Reform’s Community Awards.

Based in Stroud, but with women’s centres in Swindon and Gloucester, the Nelson Trust runs support projects for women and girls caught up in the criminal justice system.

Many of the women that the charity helps have a personal or family history marred by drugs or violence.

In Swindon, the trust works with Wiltshire Police on a sex worker outreach scheme that sees two staff members tour hotspots around the town to offer health advice and support to women working in the sex trade.

Rose, who was one of seven award winners at yesterday’s London reception, said: “It’s an honour to be recognised and a privilege to continue to work alongside many fantastic colleagues at the Nelson Trust who tirelessly support some of the most vulnerable people in our community.”

John Trolan, Nelson Trust chief executive, added: "Rose personifies who we are as an organisation, is an inspiration and role model for all staff and I can't think of anyone more deserving of the recognition for a career dedicated to the pursuit of social justice for the disadvantaged and deprived."

Catryn Yousefi, programmes manager at the Howard League for Penal Reform, said: “Our Community Awards celebrate the success of projects that guide people away from crime and make us all safer.

“Only the very best schemes in the UK are honoured each year and, once again, we were delighted to receive so many high-quality nominations.”

Last year, the Nelson Trust was one of the winners in the Organisation of the Year award category.

The charity has invited economist Vicky Pryce, who served nine weeks in prison, to speak about prison reform. Tickets for the fundraising talk, which will support the trust’s work, are £35.

To book your place, email fundraising@nelsontrust.com or call 01453 732074. The talk is at Beaudesert Park School, Stroud, on Friday, November 17, from 6.30pm.