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We meet the Bolton women who met in a homeless shelter and who have started a charity to give back to the community who helped them turn their lives around. Amanda Griffiths reports<br/>Main photograph by Kirsty Thompson

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The print version of this article appeared in the July 2012 issue of Lancashire Life
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Theres no such thing as a loser. Just ask business partners Kathleen McSorley and Jeanine Poulsom. The pair who met in a homeless shelter, were nominated in the Entrepreneur of the Year Award category at the Fusion Awards which took place at Ewood Park at the end of May. They didnt win, but came a close second a fantastic achievement having only been in business since the beginning of this year.

It was quite emotional, says Kathleen, pictured above. To have come so far in under a year, just to be nominated was an achievement in itself. I said to the other people on our table on the night that we were all winners in our own way.

Its a great achievement, just to have turned my life around from what I had a couple of years ago.

Kathleen and Jeanine have set up Utopia Business Planners, a company planning conferences and events which runs alongside Shine Charity, a charity that focuses on raising funds for five other local hostels and refuges; Nightstay, Fort Alice, Art Fantastic,

The Box TV and Sarah Lodge mother and dependent children unit. So far theyve organised around 750 for Nightstay and have plans for individual fundraising events for each of the other charities with everything from fun family sports days to fashion shows.

After attending Mock Festival in Manchester earlier this year, Kathleen says the pair are also hoping to organise a Party in the Park event in Boltons Queens Park, where funds will be split between the five organisations.

Jeanine and I met in Fleet House, an independent womens refuge in 2010 after the break down of my relationship and a few personal issues.
We met over pancakes at a cooking workshop. I wasnt really in the mood, but joined in anyway, as staff at Fleet House encourage you to make the most of every opportunity.

We just really and soon found out our daughters knew each other, in fact Id met Katie, Jeanines daughter, and weve never looked back since.

We both really wanted to do something in business and to give back to the community, especially places like Fleet House, which had really turned my life around. They helped me break away from the bad relationship and offered me the support I needed to move on and change my life, she says.


In fact Kathleen, feels so strongly about giving back to the community shes also been making motivational speeches to others in similar situations and has been working with a local dramatic group, Dramatic Action, to put on specially written productions dealing with some of the situations Kathleen has come across both personally and professionally.

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