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Abortion Support Network Director shortlisted for UK Sexual Health Awards

Published on




12 March 2013


 Abortion Support Network Director shortlisted for UK Sexual Health Awards

ASN Director Mara Clarke has been shortlisted for the

UK Sexual Health Professional of the Year in the UK Sexual Health Awards


The UK Sexual Health Awards are hosted by sexual health charities Brook and FPA and showcase the best, creative and innovative work in sexual health. The Award winner will be presented at the UK Sexual Health Awards ceremony and dinner on Thursday 14 March at Troxy, London. The evening will be hosted by comedienne Kate Smurthwaite.


Abortion Support Network is an all-volunteer organisation that provides financial assistance, accommodation in volunteer homes and confidential, non judgmental information to women forced to travel to Ireland and Northern Ireland to access a safe and legal abortion. As their volunteer director, Mara has given hundreds of hours outside her work and family lives to ensure that hundreds of women she has never met have been able to access abortions.


“UK Sexual Health Professional of the Year” is one of seven categories of award and Mara is up against six other nominees, including:


  • Dr Ranj Singh, NHS Children & Young People’s Doctor
  • Jackie Foley, Clinical Projects Manager, METRO
  • Jo Plester, Student Liaison Officer, Cornwall College, St Austell
  • Kate Bulman, Staff Nurse, Healthcare Team, Oakhill Secure Training Centre
  • Mala Morjaria, Sexual Health Advisor for Looked After Children, London Borough of Brent, Children and Families Department (Sexual health on call).
  • Mara Clarke, Founder and Director, Abortion Support Network


An award for Lifetime Achievement in sexual health will also be presented on the evening.


ASN director Mara Clarke said:


“I was completely shocked and honoured to have been shortlisted as the 2013 UK Sexual Health Professional of the year! As an organisation completely run by unpaid volunteers, we never thought we’d see the day when we’d be sat at the same table as these larger, mainstream sexual and reproductive health organisations. Whether we win or not, this is a wonderful testament to how big a difference a scrappy group of volunteers can make with just a website, a mobile phone, an excel spreadsheet and a group of individuals who believe enough in women’s right to access safe and legal abortion to donate to our charity.”


“We were also thrilled for Janey Stephenson on being shortlisted or the Rosemary Goodchild award for excellence in sexual health journalism for her piece, ‘The secret abortion trail’, which details the hardships faced by women travelling from Ireland and Northern Ireland for abortions, published in Nouse, the University of York’s student newspaper.”



For further information or to book a place at the UK Sexual Health Awards please visit


– Ends –

For enquiries please contact:

Mara Clarke, Abortion Support Network

[email protected]

07913 353 530


Notes to editors


About Abortion Support Network

Abortion Support Network (ASN) is an all-volunteer charity that provides financial assistance, accommodation and confidential, non-judgemental information to women forced to travel from Ireland and Northern Ireland and pay privately for abortions in England. The cost ranges between £400 and £2000 depending on circumstance and stage of pregnancy. While other organisations campaign for much needed law reform, ASN is the only group on record providing women travelling for abortions with the thing they need most immediately: money.

Twitter: @abortionsupport


About Janey Stephenson

Janey Stephenson is a crackerjack writer. You can find her on Twitter @VegetarianJelly.


About Kate Smurthwaite

Kate Smurthwaite is a slick, intelligent political comedienne. She works on the major club scene in the UK and abroad, has supported Omid Djalili and Shazia Mirza on tour and has appeared on numerous TV and radio shows.


About Brook

Brook is the UK’s leading provider of sexual health services and advice for young people under 25. The charity has over 45 years of experience working with young people and currently has services in England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Jersey. Brook services provide free and confidential sexual health information, contraception, pregnancy testing, advice and counselling, testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections and outreach and education work, reaching more than 294,000 young people every year.

Ask Brook helpline 0808 802 1234

Twitter @BrookCharity


About FPA

The sexual health charity FPA provides straightforward information, advice and support to all people across the UK on all aspects of sexual health, sex and relationships. FPA educates, informs and supports people through our work in the community, our helpline and information service, our counselling service, our training and publications and our public awareness campaigns.

FPA helpline 0845 122 8690

Twitter @FPACharity