SRS Trustees

The role of Trustees

As a Board, our Trustees are responsible for the governance of Suffolk Refugee Support, ensuring that it is well run and financially viable.

SRS has a proven track record of delivering much needed, high quality services that positively support the lives of those we work with. This also requires us to be flexible and responsive to the changing world faced by refugees and asylum seekers and the developing requirements of our funders. The Board is committed to ensuring that this track record continues and that asylum seekers and refugees in Suffolk are given the best opportunities to build the lives they wish for themselves. To guide us, we have agreed an SRS three year strategic plan for 2020-23, with Trustees having responsibility for leading and supporting its delivery.

Trustees meet once a month (the second Thursday, 6.30 – 8.30), currently alternating between face to face and Zoom meetings. We encourage them to join one of the sub-committees (which also meet once a month). Many of our current trustee body work full-time in their own careers, and sub-committee meetings are organised around their availability.

If you are interested in becoming a Trustee, please contact trusteesecretary@suffolkrefugee.org.uk to find out if there are any current vacancies and then apply using the Trustee Offer To Serve form.

Our current trustees

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

Dr Felicity Szesnat (chair) 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.

Gerry Toplis (vice 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.

Stuart Gordon (treasurer) is a qualified chartered management accountant and was the Chief Financial Officer of a local stock market quoted PLC for eighteen years. With time available to offer back to the community, he feels his background can significantly aid Suffolk Refugee Support.

Dr Keith Faull 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.

Olena Kushakovska

Paul Reeves is a logistics professional by trade and has extensive experience in the sector dealing with international trade. With a highly developed sense of social justice around human rights he aims to bring his skills, experience and values to support the vital role SRS plays in Suffolk.

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)