BY EMMA PENGELLY
What began as a hobby could now earn its creator a national award.
Marina Gask, a freelancer from Brockley, started Audrey, the online midlife women’s magazine last year and is now up for a top industry gong.
Mother-of-two Marina was made redundant 12 years ago when her youngest son, Fred, was a baby, leaving her in a vulnerable position as her eldest son, Dylan, was just five at the time.
But Marina said it became the best thing to ever happen to her as it prompted her to pursue work as a freelancer.
Marina said: “Being shortlisted is beyond thrilling. After 12 years as a self-employed journalist and copywriter, co-launching Audrey has been a huge challenge to juggle alongside other freelance work, but an immensely rewarding one.
“I’m very proud to receive this recognition for Audrey, through which we’re giving a voice to midlife women.’’
The Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed (IPSE) shortlisted Audrey for the IPSE Freelance Project of the Year Award for its innovation and social impact.
Marina is among four UK freelancers selected for the prize, and winners will be announced on June 13 during the Freelancer of the Year Awards in London.
She set up Audrey in September last year and said it quickly gained traction on social media The project grew organically after Dylan left home for university.
She said: “You don’t want to feel like there is a big void in your life, you want to do something as exciting as the journey they are about to begin.
“Audrey is for women at a life stage where they need a fresh start.
Maybe they have experienced redundancy, an empty nest bereavment or divorce or just feel bored. The aim was to create something galvanising for women of this age group.”
One in seven people in the UK are self-employed, but freelancing does not come without its challenges, including loneliness and blurred lines between work and life.
Marina said: “The insecurity of your income can be stressful when you’re self-employed, and it can be hard to plan ahead or even book a holiday.”
But according to IPSE the number of UK freelancers has risen rapidly over the past 10 years, with the self-employed now adding £275billion to the economy.
IPSE chief executive Chris Bryce said: “Freelancing allows people to be innovative, following their dreams to start businesses that could grow into a great success that benefits us all.
“Marina hugely impressed us against a very strong field with her work to support midlife women who want to do more, which benefits us all.”
For Marina her freelance project aimed to create a space women can relate to in an age very judgemental about women in their 50s.
The Audrey Restart Club will roll out over the summer to offer support and advice for those planning a big life change.
Visit audreyonline.co.uk to sign up.