Currently living in Cardiff, I was ordained in 1986 as a Minister of the United Reformed Church and have since served pastorates in West Yorkshire, Greater London and South Wales. I spent nine years as Synod Moderator (regional church leader) of the Wessex Synod in central southern England. I currently work in an oversight role covering the whole of Wales.
I have always been passionate about the needs of those who travel the world in search of welcome, sanctuary and hospitality. I spent some years as a Trustee of Asylum Justice, based in Cardiff.
I am married to Ann and have three sons, as well as two step-sons and a step-daughter. All of them are now grown-up. I also have three delightful grandchildren.
Amani is a human rights activist, currently working as Specialist Sexual Violence Advocate for Nia Project, London. She comes from a multi-disciplinary background, being a doctor in Sudan and peacebuilding and development studies graduate. In addition to being a Chevening alumnus, the UK prestigious scholarships for young leaders worldwide, Amani is one of the Young African Leaders 2016 chosen by the US Department of State and one of the Young Arab Leaders 2016 chosen by Munathara Initiative. Amani is a known public speaker and political debater in the MENA region with a number of tv appearances in TV channels such as Aljazeera Live, Al Arabi TV and others.
Having started engaging with several non-profits in Sudan at a young age, she accumulated almost 10 years of experience working with the non-profit sector in Sudan and the UK. Most of those years she worked supporting vulnerable communities experiencing disadvantages due to their migration status such as internally displaced persons in conflict areas in Sudan and then volunteering with Healthwatch Stockton-On-Tees as a Research and Engagement Volunteer before she started her role as Community Empowerment Coordinator with the Regional Refugee Forum Northeast working and empowering Refugee Led Community Organisations.
A retired chartered accountant, I have been treasurer of City of Sanctuary since 2015. I am also treasurer of a Southampton based charity that provides support to asylum seekers and refugees.
Ben is a lifelong campaigner and activist. He has led global campaigns on poverty, inequality and climate change including as the campaigns director for the Global Call to Action Against Poverty and the Global Campaign for Climate Action. For several years Ben and his wife ran a project on a smallholding in Norfolk teaching permaculture and welcoming people seeking sanctuary on short breaks and courses. The Grange became the first recognised Home of Sanctuary and Ben was able to develop the Gardens of Sanctuary project using his experience from The Grange as a strong foundation. Ben was part of the City of Sanctuary team for 2 years until late 2019 first as regional coordinator for the Midlands, East and South East and then as Streams and Partnership Manager. In this role he led a major consultation across the movement on our work with Local Authorities, developed the Universities and Gardens streams and managed the England regional campaigning team. Ben is now working with a small US non-profit called Bridging Ventures leading projects with some of the world’s biggest NGOs, social movements and activist groups on corporate accountability, climate justice and economic justice. He is also co-director for COP 26 for The Climate Coalition in the UK. Ben lives in Norwich with his wife and 2 children.
Bianca is a Sanctuary in Politics graduate and is actively involved in the University of Sanctuary stream. Bianca is a passionate advocate of equal access to education and is a Sanctuary Scholar at the University of Winchester where she is currently studying a Business Management course. Her hobbies include reading and travel. She says “The City Of Sanctuary has afforded me unimaginable opportunities and experiences that I hope to be able to pay back in any way I can as a volunteer. It has been an immense privilege to be involved”.
Currently working for the Regional Refugee Forum as Project Manager working with Refugee Community Organisations across the North East Region. I am a member of all the 3 City of Sanctuary initiatives in Newcastle, Sunderland and Teesside. I have worked with Refugees and Sanctuary Seekers for about 10 years in the North East of England and participate in most of the key stakeholder platforms in that region. I would like to contribute my experience and knowledge for the continuous strengthening of the City of Sanctuary movement to build a culture of hospitality for people seeking sanctuary in the UK.
Jeff has worked with sanctuary seekers since 2006 when he trained with Freedom from Torture. He helped develop counselling facilities training programmes for those seeking protection in Manchester, Salford, London, Hull and Birmingham. He also tutors at REACHE, an educational project based in Salford Royal Hospital, specifically designed for refugees who were doctors in their homelands and now wish to continue their profession in the UK. REACHE supports its members to pass British medical examinations; to orientate their practice to the philosophy & regulation of the NHS, thereby gaining registration with the General Medical Council.
Jeff’s background is in Occupational Medicine and Mental Health. Before retirement he worked as “company doctor” to a wide variety of industrial, commercial & service organisations in the public, private and third sectors. These ranged from universities, the nuclear industry, local authorities and police forces in England to preserved steam railways in North Wales and the Church of South India. For 9 years he was also a psychiatrist in rural Gwynedd, establishing a therapeutic community in an attractive seaside location where survivors of trauma could experience intensive counselling in a relaxed & supportive setting.
He has worked for several movements to promote health and organisational development in Britain, Europe and South Asia. These have strived for the better management of stress & mental health in the workplace and, in the community, for the support of victims of serious crime, of families whose loved ones suffer dementia and, also, of those who have developed work-related cancer.
Within CoS, Jeff has served on subgroups to the Board for Human Resources, Funding and Strategy. He was involved in the distribution of funds from the Guardian Christmas Appeal, the development of our Health Stream and the production of the Mental Health Resource Pack.
Jeff lives in an oak forest in North Wales, from where he coordinates CoS groups, partnerships & events in the NW of England and also offers a link between our sister movement in Ireland & the UK board.
Jonathan is an independent campaigner and works to inspire others to campaign for change around the world. See: http://jonathanelliscampaigns.com
Within a broad portfolio of work, his primary role is project director of Detention Forum. He also provides strategic campaigning advice to the Open Society Foundations by supporting Eurochild’s European campaign on Early Childhood Development; the Roma Healthy Start programme in Bulgaria; the Romani Early Years Network; and parents’ coalitions in Armenia, Georgia, Serbia and Ukraine.
Previously he led advocacy campaigns for the British Red Cross, the Refugee Council, Oxfam and Action on Empty Homes.
Jonathan is a qualified teacher in secondary and higher education and was a visiting lecturer on the MA in political communication at London’s City University. He has published ‘Campaigning for Change: an Essential Guide for Campaigning around the World’; written a global advocacy toolkit for the International Federation of the Red Cross/ Red Crescent (piloted with the Nepal Red Cross); and has on-line campaigning courses with over 3500 students from 133 countries.
Father, husband and son with a passion for people, Joseph is inspired and motivated by the urgent need to make a positive difference, find practical solutions to the problems we see around us.
Master of Arts in Hospitality graduate actively involved in peace building, civil rights , human rights and education campaign. Joseph enjoys the vibrance and brilliance found in diversity and inclusion. Currently reading Law.
Keen writer and constructive disruptor with an interest in business, fitness and eating.
In my working life I was a museum curator in Local Authority museums – essentially a mid-level manager – and later a university lecturer and researcher. I therefore have management skills and am an experienced speaker and communicator. I am also a writer and editor – I am writing my thirteenth book (popular social history) this year.
I believe very strongly in the need to change the asylum system and to support those people unfortunate enough to have to go through it. I feel City of Sanctuary is increasingly well placed to do this and delight in the opportunity to be part of this development.
I’m passionate about building a culture of welcome in Brighton, have been involved in my local City of Sanctuary group since its inception and am currently Chair. I’m a proud Trustee of the Hummingbird Refugee Project, which supports young refugees in the Brighton area, many of whom we met in the Calais “Jungle”.
Professionally, I’m a consultant specialising in asylum and migration in Europe, building on my earlier experience of policy and advocacy work at the Refugee Council and the European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE) in Brussels. As a director of MigrationWork CIC, I help people in European cities learn from each other about how to make migration work for everyone.
I moved to the voluntary sector in 1988 from a career in broadcast journalism, by way of a horizon-expanding year studying under Lord Young at his newly established School for Social Entrepreneurs.
Inderjit Bhogal (Patron)
Inderjit Singh Bhogal is a leading Theologian and Methodist Minister. He is founder and President of City of Sanctuary, a former President of the Methodist Conference and former Leader/CEO of the Corrymeela Community.
Inderjit was born into a Sikh family in Nairobi and came with them in 1964 to live in Dudley, West Midlands. He took his first Degree in Manchester and then his Masters Degree in Oxford. Inderjit lived in Wolverhampton for 8 years where he helped to establish one of the first interfaith groups in UK and was Co-ordinator of the Group between 1984–1987. Inderjit then lived in Sheffield where he worked in Multi-Faith inner city contexts. He established a Christian–Muslim Group out of which grew the Sheffield Interfaith Group. He has also organised Christian–Muslim Peace walks in the City. Inderjit helped to start Sheffield’s ‘Homeless and Rootless at Christmas’ (HARC) project. This has involved several hundred volunteers.
For more information about Inderjit and his work please visit his website.
Sabir Zazai (Honorary President)
Sabir, a former refugee from Afghanistan, is the Centre Director of Coventry Refugee and Migrant Centre (CRMC), an organisation that once helped Sabir through his own settlement in Coventry. He is also chair of the Coventry Ethnic Minorities Action Partnership (CEMAP) and he previously managed the Migration Impact Fund locally. He also led ‘Sorted’ a major improving financial confidence programme at Coventry Citizens Advice Bureau. Sabir’s knowledge of the difficulties faced by refugees is strengthened by the practical experiences of going through the asylum system and by researching the subject of refugee integration through his MA studies at the Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations at Coventry University.