Fashion designer Annah Stretton recognised for charity work
Morrinsville-based fashion designer Annah Stretton has been awarded the ASB Social Entrepreneur of the Year.
The work Stretton does with her charitable trust RAW has seen her awarded the ASB Social Entrepreneur of the Year.
RAW (Reclaim Another Woman) is an initiative which matches mentors with women who have been victims of domestic violence. The Waikato-based fashion designer was an Entrepreneur Of The Year category winner in 2005.
Stretton joins a group of distinguished New Zealanders who have also been recognised for their contribution to society by being awarded the EY Social Entrepreneur of the year award including Dame Rosie Horton, Sir Ray Avery and Lady Adrianne Stewart.
Over the past 24 years Stretton has undertaken a range of philanthropic initiatives and aligned with a number of charities. She said it was “wonderful” to be acknowledged in this area. “It is a lot more important than so many of the other business awards that have been attached to me over the years, in that this one truly acknowledges the difference that I have made and will continue to make to the social fabric of New Zealand society.”
Stretton said RAW was getting change in the demographic that no one could reach. “We are working to get life change through education and 360 degree wrap-around support for recidivist incarcerated women. We are bringing them back into mainstream and getting the intergenerational change for this submerged demographic – as a country we all talk about wanting this, but have failed to work out how to achieve it.”
Stretton said this outreach required new thinking, “an absolute passion” and an ability to drive the change. “To change the intergenerational outcomes and advance the children of the next generation, we had to get to the mothers. The women that we work with through RAW (the mothers) will be the change agents we all so desperately seek.
“We are breaking the cycle.”
Stretton said to be recognised for this work, given that the trust has only been in existence for two years, shows the inroads they have made.
Stretton is building on the success of RAW and looking to tailor a programme for men in early 2016. She is also looking at opportunities to replicate the initiative overseas.