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SRS Trustees

We are looking for new trustees

Suffolk Refugee Support (SRS) has been supporting asylum seekers and refugees in Suffolk since 1999 through a wide-ranging and innovative suite of services. This includes support groups for women, a skills-exchange programme, sport and homework clubs for young people, an advice service, and a support-into-employment service. We adapted and delivered our services successfully during the Covid-19 pandemic and are now being called on to meet further challenges as we support people coming from Afghanistan and Ukraine.
The Board of Trustees is providing a strong lead on policy and strategic development as well as ensuring that the Charity Manager and staff get the support they need to continue to deliver these high-quality services. We are now looking to recruit new Trustees to join the Board. We are especially looking for people who have experience of finance, fundraising, IT or HR. As part of strengthening the Board, we also wish to recruit Trustees who have lived experience as a refugee or asylum seeker.
In return for your time, we offer you a great team to join and the satisfaction of knowing that your dedication and action supports and empowers asylum seekers and refugees. Trustees give about 7 hours a month to the Board’s work, including two hours every second Thursday evening of the month for a Board meeting and 1½ hours a month during the day as a member of a subcommittee.
If you are interested in applying to become a Trustee, please email the Board Secretary via trusteesecretary@suffolkrefugee.org.uk for an application form, or you can download the form here: Trustee ‘Offer to Serve’ application form.
The closing date for applications is Thursday 30th June.

Our current trustees

Our current trustees bring a wealth of experience from the private, public, voluntary and academic sectors:

Gerry Toplis (chair) has worked in social services as a social worker, commissioner and senior manager. He also worked for the NHS across the east of England, focusing on mental health and learning disability issues.

Dr Keith Faull (vice chair and treasurer) has worked in both social services and the NHS for many years as both a social worker and a family psychotherapist.  He is particularly interested in the mental health of children and young people.

Will Atkins is a writer who has been interested in issues around migration, refuge, exile and displacement for many years. He has volunteered with Walthamstow Migrant Information Centre in London, and with aid organisations assisting migrants on the US-Mexico border – a subject he has also written about.

Greg Dodds has worked in housing for over 20 years in various capacities for both housing associations and local authorities and is currently Assistant Director of Development at Orwell Housing Association. He also currently volunteers with SRS.

Mary Engleheart is a communications professional with twelve years’ experience working for international humanitarian organisations. She currently leads on global digital communications strategies at the International Rescue Committee, and has worked with grassroots refugee organisations in the UK.

Christina Sweet-Escott moved to the UK from Germany in 2001. The former editor in chief of several international publications, Christina’s background is in marketing, PR and journalism. She works for Suffolk County Council and serves on the Suffolk Refugee Support Client Partnership sub-committee.

Felicity Szesnat has previously represented detained asylum seekers in their claims for refugee status. She holds a PhD in International Law, specialising in international humanitarian (armed conflict) and human rights law, and currently works at the University of Essex, managing a consortium of ten UK universities focused on the social sciences.

Amelia Whitworth has 15 years’ experience working for humanitarian charities in policy, lobbying and research. For the last 10 years this has focused on gender equality and child rights, particularly those who have been forcibly displaced by conflict or natural disasters.

Alan Blackshaw (honorary trustee) spent most of his career in social work education.  He was a founder trustee of SRS in 2000, and has been treasurer and chair of the Human Resources sub-committee.

Beteja Grajqevci Dovao (honorary trustee)