‘She was an inspiration to all’ – Tributes paid to Vimla Storey, the founder of Apna Ghar

Tributes have been paid to Vimla Storey, the founder of the South Shields based women’s charity Apna Ghar after she sadly passed away.

Tuesday, 6th October 2020, 10:07 am

The tributes come for the 87-year-old after she sadly passed away on Monday, September 28.

Vimla came to South Shields in 1970 after meeting her husband, James Storey, in India while he was working in the Merchant Navy.

She began to feel lonely while James was working away and during her social work degree, she realised that many women from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) groups were also suffering loneliness in silence.

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Vimla Storey (front right) with the then Mayoress Rosemarry Sewell during an Apna Ghar party at South Shields Town Hall.

So in 1987, alongside her niece Sheila Hussain, she decided to set up Apna Ghar to help women “feel at home” in a safe space.

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The initial social activities were held in Shiela’s home on George Scott Street until the two women established a base in the centre of South Shields on Ocean Road.

Surajah Hunter, a trustee manager at Apna Ghar, says that she will live on through the charity, who will continue on her wish to support women.

Vimla Storey (middle) with her niece Shiela Hussain (left) who she set up Apna Ghar with in 1987.

She said: “Vimla’s legacy will continue through Apna Ghar as it has provided integration within the community, employment, empowered women and has been a role model and inspiration to all.

“We would describe Vimla as a women of inestimable value and her memories would remain indelible in our hearts. Our thoughts are with her son Sameer and family.”

Despite her ill health in recent months, Vimla was still an active member of the Apna Ghar board of trustees and continued to help the organisation grow and increase the range of provisions available.

Leader of the council, Councillor Iain Malcolm, has said the local community owes a debt of gratitude to Vimla.

He commented: “South Tyneside is well known for its community cohesion, partnership working and excellent community relations across our diverse communities.

“This is due, in no small part, to pioneering community leaders like Vimla to whom we all owe a huge debt of gratitude.

“Her legacy lives on in the fantastic work done by Apna Ghar which continues to do so much for minority ethnic women and girls.”

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