New Communities Team
George is the Lead Organiser for our New Citizens strand of organising. He has worked with Citizens UK for 6 years, first to help build new broad based alliances and more recently to lead national programmes of work and explore how community organising can be put to work building broad social movements for change.
George’s first major assignment within Citizens UK was to build Nottingham Citizens, work which started with 1000 people gathered ahead of the 2012 Police Crime Commissioners, and ended with 2,309 in the largest pre general election assembly in the country. With an amazing team of leaders George worked on a range of issues, from hate crime to unemployment. More recently George helped achieve the recent breakthrough into the retail sector in the Living Wage and helped explore potential to create a Global Living Wage initiative through a summer placement at the World Bank.
He now leads our New Citizens work, a wide ranging brief that covers immigration and integration. In leading our Refugees Welcome work George recently helped organise a pioneering court case and public campaign to help the children of Calais. Throughout his 6 year engagement in organising George has helped train over 4,000 leaders.
Alongside this core work George has been involved in a range of “extra-curricular” experiments in social change, from co-founding Move Your Money – a consumer led response to the financial crash, to Take Back Parliament – a rapid mobilisation for democratic reform, and more recently End hunger Fast, an effort to raise the rapid growth of food banks in the UK up the political agenda and arrest it.
You can contact George here.
Bekele joined Citizens UK in early March 2011. He is a Community Organiser in the New Citizens Organising Team with the following core responsibilities: building the power of the African community in particular and the diaspora community in general; Coordinating training for the refugees welcome campaign and offering trainings; Reaching out to leaders in the Diaspora communities irrespective of religious, political, social or other backgrounds; making sure leaders in these communities are trained and developed to achieve the common good.
Prior to joining Citizens UK, Bekele was a human rights activist, writer, community leader and volunteer for the British Red Cross. He also held senior managerial positions in government departments in his home country Ethiopia before coming to Britain. He took the community organising training in March 2008.
Bekele collected his first degree in Business Management from the Addis Ababa University and he was the Human Rights Defender fellow of the University of Nottingham in 2009; where he studied International Human Rights Law.
Outside of work, Bekele serves as a trustee for a charity. He was also one of the Games Makers for the London 2012 Olympics. Bekele regularly takes time to write about human rights, current affairs, asylum and immigration on his blog.
You can contact Bekele here.
Amalia joined Citizens UK in late 2015, as the Refugees Welcome Movement Organiser. Amalia graduated from Queen Mary University of London with a BA in Hispanic Studies; and holds a Graduate Diploma in Law and Legal Practice from the College of Law, having chosen to specialize in Immigration, Welfare and Employment Law. She is also fluent in Spanish.
Prior to joining us, she worked in Human Rights Advocacy and Research at both the UK and European Union level for 4 years. Her particular areas of expertise include forced migration, indigenous rights and refugee and migrant rights. She also worked as an Advocate and Caseworker at the Hackney Migrant Centre, providing support to refugees and migrants from diverse backgrounds.
Amalia’s commitment to this work comes from her parents who came from Chile and Bangladesh as refugees in the 1970s - the welcome they received and opportunity to begin a new life came largely from the support of local communities. If it hadn't been for these individuals and the UK's commitment to providing refuge, it's likely they wouldn't have survived. This is why Amalia is committed to ensuring that refugees and migrants seeking sanctuary today are given a chance to feel safe, to feel supported and able to begin life again.
You can contact Amalia here.
The Living Wage Foundation
More information can be found on the Living Wage Foundation website.
Katherine joined the Living Wage Foundation as Director in March 2016. She has a background in working with industry leaders and policy makers to achieve change. Before joining the Foundation she was Assistant Director at the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES), a public body providing strategic leadership on employment and skills issues in the UK. She led on strategies to boost productivity, wages and social mobility and directed a variety of programmes to encourage employers to invest in their workforce and offer more opportunities to young people.
Previously Katherine was Head of Education and Skills at Policy Connect. In this role she was responsible for the All-Party Skills Group, the National Skills Forum and the Skills Commission, bringing together senior business leaders, public bodies and cross-party MPs and peers on a range of issues including the gender skills gaps, careers advice and Apprenticeships.
Katherine started her career at the Institute for Citizenship and has always been passionate about social mobility and securing quality jobs for all.
Amy, Programme Manager for the Foundation, joined the Living Wage team in August 2014. She first came across the Foundation through her yearlong involvement in the Nottingham Living Wage Campaign. She has a background in clothing design and manufacture, and worked in fashion design for a number of years. Amy designed and created a collection for Cardiff’s very first Fashion Week. Experiencing Britain's clothing manufacturing industry first hand made Amy acutely aware of the need for the Living Wage. More recently, Amy spent some time working in a large church running their finance department and improving their community relationships and management systems.
Passionate about community and justice, Amy’s recent volunteering roles include volunteering at a lunch club for the elderly, and supporting a local foodbank. Still a keen designer in her spare time, Amy is working on a couple of projects related to ethical fashion.
You can contact Amy here.
Caroline, Senior Programme Manager, joined the Foundation in February 2013 and has a background in Project Management, HR, Operations & Communications. She holds a Joint Honours BA in English Literature, Language & Irish Studies from The University of Liverpool. Caroline has worked for PwC within various UK wide HR teams and Deloitte where she created and delivered bespoke Tax compliance software to global corporations. During a working holiday visa year, she managed asylum seeker & refugee cases nationally for the Red Cross Australia. On her return to the UK she was a Project Coordinator for the construction of the Olympic Park.
In a former life she was champion Irish Dancer and teacher with the Scanlon School of Irish Dance and played music with the South Birmingham Comhaltas. Volunteering roles have included a stint as a workshop leader in script writing, performance and filming for Shakespeare in the Community Project, was an arts reviewer for an online magazine covering the BFI festival and comedy, she was also as an art mentor to a client with disabilities.
You can contact Caroline here.
Emma joined us in July 2013. She works for the Living Wage Foundation as a programme manager, with employers in different regions of the country and manages our franchise agreement with the Poverty Alliance in Scotland. Emma also leads on our Living Wage Friendly Funder scheme which helps funders to implement the Living Wage through grantmaking.
Before joining the Living Wage Team she spent two years at London Youth, a network of community youth groups, where she was Communications Assistant. Prior to this she worked for DeHavilland, a political monitoring service. Emma has a degree in Politics and Sociology from Sussex University and has completed the NCVO Certificate in Campaigning course.
Emma is passionate about community action, people power and youth empowerment. She has a background working with the Woodcraft Folk and acted as the international representative for the Peers without Frontiers project during 2011. She also volunteers with Stonewall mentoring young people and supporting the Stonewall 25 Heritage Project.
You can contact Emma here.
Issy joined the Living Wage Foundation in January 2016 working as a Programme Administrator, with a focus supporting the Service Providers Recognition Scheme. She holds a BA (hons) in Geography from Durham University and has completed an MSc in Urban Studies from University College London, where she explored the relationships between communities and the built environment.
Issy is passionate about creating socially and environmentally sustainable cities. She has experience working within charities and museums and has volunteered for the Migration Museum Project and the National Trust. Issy first became committed to the aims of the Living Wage Foundation while working in retail.
You can contact Issy here.
Jay joined the Foundation in May 2015 after living overseas for four years. Holding a degree from Queen Mary University in History and Politics, Jay has previously worked in Fundraising and Communications at the MedicAlert Foundation and as a Support Worker for teens and older people in Hackney.
Jay has a long and history in social justice campaigns all over the world. For over ten years he has been active with the anti-sweatshop campaign, No Sweat, where he helped expose sweatshop practices in London’s East End. In 2011 he left for Thailand where he worked with MAP Foundation supporting the rights of migrant workers from Burma, and then Australia, working with the Australian Fair Trade and Investment Network call for fairer trade agreements. In 2014, while travelling in South East Asia and Latin America, he initiated a project connecting Thailand’s Burmese migrants with indigenous communities of southern Mexico to build ties of international solidarity.
You can contact Jay here.
Tess joined the Living Wage Foundation in July 2015 as Head of Business Development. She oversees the Living Wage Commission and leads on the development of new tools and tailored support services to improve job quality and performance in low wage sectors. She is also a freelance policy consultant and an Associate Fellow at the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR), specialising in business, skills and labour market policy.
Previously she worked as policy adviser to the Leader of the Opposition on all matters relating to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, and before that as a senior researcher on economic and social policy at IPPR. She holds a BA from the University of Warwick and an MSc from the School of Oriental and African Studies.
You can contact Tess here.
Good Jobs Team
Martha Crawford joined Citizens UK in November 2015. She is the Operations Manager for the Good Jobs Campaign - a movement to tackle social mobility and the growing skills gap through a unique partnership between businesses, schools, colleges and young people.
Before joining the Citizens UK Martha was a Knowledge Exchange Development Manager at London South Bank University in their Research, Enterprise and Innovation department. In this role Martha managed the Knowledge Transfer Partnership portfolio which covered the innovation projects businesses and academics. Martha was one of the co-founders and directors of the AXNS Collective who specialise in creative projects exploring the relationship between art and science. Martha has a degree in Drama from the University of Exeter and is currently completing the MA in Community Organising at Queen Mary, University of London.
Outside of her work at Citizens UK and her MA at Queen Mary Martha volunteers for a charity called A Mile In Her Shoes where she leads ‘run and games’ sessions with homeless women. She also works with community theatre companies such as Slap Haddock and take stock exchange to help them evaluate and monitor their work.
You can contact Martha here.
Shari Fearon works as a Programme Assistant on the Good Jobs Campaign. Shari joined Citizens UK in September 2013 as an apprentice Peer-to-Peer Recruiter, through a tech apprentice programme created by Citizens UK alongside tech companies in Silicon Roundabout - Tech City. As a Peer-to-Peer Recruiter, Shari's role included recruiting and supporting young people into apprenticeships across the tech and health sector.
Since completing her apprenticeship in 2014, Shari has continued to support her team, lead projects, develop further opportunities for young people and help launch the Good Jobs Campaign in 2015. To date Shari has matched over 200 young people to Good Job opportunities across London.
Shari continuously spreads the word about apprenticeships and has taken part in a number of public speaking events to encourage young people and employers to consider apprenticeships. Shari has a strong passion for youth empowerment and is determined to tackle youth unemployment. In her spare time she often goes to concerts, the theatre and likes to travel. Shari is also a member of a debating society called Diaspora Debating Association, which discusses topics relevant to the Afro-Caribbean diaspora.
You can contact Shari here.
Parents and Communities Together (PACT)
Imogen is the project manager of the Parents and Communities Together Project (PACT), an early intervention community organising project in Southwark. The project aims to improve maternal and baby health outcomes through the creation of supportive educational parent communities. Imogen is really excited about the role community organising has to play in developing communities which are organised to promote health and wellbeing.
She recently pursued a Churchill Fellowship that enabled her to travel to the US and Brazil to visit exemplary neighbourhood projects, which were organised to improve children’s health and education outcomes.
Alongside this role she is studying part-time at the University of Cambridge for a Masters in Psychology and Education. She is currently researching the impact of a mindfulness intervention for parents from diverse and low-income communities on their interactions with their babies.
Prior to this role Imogen worked for Citizens UK as an organiser for four years in the London borough of Wandsworth, where she co- led the Wandsworth Citizens listening campaign in response to the London riots in 2010, and as the borough organiser in Southwark.
You can contact Imogen here
Media & Communications
Esmat started working for Citizens UK in 2015 but her involvement with Citizens UK dates back to 2005 when she first got involved as a local leader in South London. During this time Esmat was engaged in both local and national actions and served on the Citizens UK National Council. She currently acts as the Secretariat for the Citizens Commission on Islam, Participation & Public Life, as well as the Media & Communications Officer for the various Citizens UK campaigns and projects.
Esmat holds a BA in History from the University of Reading, following which she has held a number of roles in the public and private sector including working for the London 2012 Olympic Games and as a Public Affairs Manager for a national non-profit.
Outside of work Esmat serves as an executive member of the Patchwork Foundation which seeks to engage young people from minority communities in Politics, alongside delivering training to women and young people seeking to become more involved politically and in campaigning. She advises a number of charities and small organisations on Media, External Communications and Public Relations. She is also a Trustee for her local mosque in South London and is active within both the Muslim community and wider inter-faith networks, where she sits as a member of the Metropolitan Police Women’s Interfaith Forum.
You can contact Esmat here.