Our People


Tim_Finch.jpg   Tim Finch

Tim is the founding director of Sponsor Refugees. He was an early advocate of introducing sponsorship when working with Citizens UK on the refugee crisis in 2015 and 2016.  He is a former director of communications at the Refugee Council and head of migration research at the think tank, IPPR.  He set up the migration communications agency, IMiX and is the founding chair of the migration and arts charity, Counterpoints Arts. You can contact Tim here.



Hannah Feldman 

Hannah is Project Manager for Sponsor Refugees. Hannah joined Citizens UK in September 2017, having completed her MA in Social Development at University of Sussex. Prior to this, Hannah was Community Fundraiser for Restore, a mental health and employment charity. She has worked in various roles for charities based in the UK and further afield, including Ban Mai Nai Soi refugee camp in Thailand, and refugee charity Young Roots in Croydon. Hannah first became involved in Community Sponsorship as a volunteer, and is Co-Chair of Waltham Forest Community Sponsorship group. You can contact Hannah here


  Bekele Woyecha

Bekele is the Senior Project Manager for Sponsor Refugees. He has worked for Citizens UK since 2011, working mainly on Refugees Welcome and community sponsorship in recent years. Previously 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. Bekele was the human rights defender fellow of the University of Nottingham in 2009, where he studied International Human Rights Law. He also studied Nonviolent Conflict at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy in Boston, USÁ and took part in the Global Change Agents Programme at Harvard Kennedy School in 2017. You can contact Bekele here.



  Olwen Thomas 

Olwen works with Community Sponsorship groups in Wales. She has had many different roles in the agricultural sector. She recently has organised the Agri Academy Rural leadership programme which involved personal development, leadership training and increasing political awareness. She had led many groups to Brussels to meet political leaders in the European Parliament to enable the farmers to understand the policy making processes. She has recently been very involved with supporting refugees and asylum seekers. Olwen is a key member of Croeso Abergwaun (Fishguard, West Wales) one of the first groups to sponsor in the country. You can contact Olwen here

Advisory Group




Neil Jameson - Chair

Neil Jameson was founder and Executive Director of Citizens UK for 30 years. As such, he was driving the UK’s largest and most diverse Community Organising body, with broad-based Citizens alliances in London, Manchester, Milton Keynes, Nottingham, Birmingham, Tyne and Wear, Wales and Leeds.  Neil is first and foremost a Community Organiser – seeking out talented leaders and young organisers who have the courage and commitment to work with others democratically to strengthen civil society and pursue the common good.

Neil is a member of two Community Sponsorship groups together with his wife Jean: West End Welcomes and Whitechapel Welcomes Refugees. 



Charlotte Phillips

Charlotte Phillips leads Amnesty International’s advocacy on refugee rights. Her passion for working with refugees began in 2003 when she started volunteering with Student Action For Refugees (STAR), while studying for a Masters in Anthropology and Development at SOAS university. She has since worked for a number of local refugee organisations, including Detention Action and as a legal caseworker for Refugee and Migrant Justice, representing asylum seekers at their asylum appeals and bail hearings. Charlotte has worked at Amnesty International for eight years and has carried out field research for the organisation in numerous countries, most recently in the Middle East. In her spare time, Charlotte has co-founded the Welcome Committee, a community sponsorship group and is also training to become a yoga teacher and doula.



Rabbi Danny Rich

Rabbi Danny Rich has been the Senior Rabbi & Chief Executive of Liberal Judaism since 2005 and was rabbi to Kingston Liberal Synagogue for nearly two decades. Rabbi Rich is a Justice of the Peace, and a hospital and prison chaplain. He is a President of the Council of Christians & Jews and a member of the Council of Imams and Rabbis. He was a vice chair of the National Refugee Welcome Board which pioneered the idea of community sponsorship of refugees in 2015.

Rabbi Danny helped to bring together two Jewish denominations, Liberal Judaism and Reform Judaism, and later Hyderi Islamic centre, to start the Abraham’s Tent Community Sponsorship group in South London. The group welcomed a family in 2019.


Esmat Jeraj

Esmat Jeraj works as the Director of Operations at the Patchwork Foundation which strives to build confidence and resilience amongst young people from disadvantaged communities, whilst promoting their participation in British democracy and civil society.

Prior to this, Esmat worked as Community Organiser for Citizens UK, and was a founding manager of Sponsor Refugees. She also led a national commission exploring barriers to Muslim participation in public life; and authored its report The Missing Muslims, which explored issues around integration, employment disadvantage, anti-Muslim prejudice and Muslim institutions.

Outside of work, Esmat facilitates leadership training for young people and women, as well as acting as a strategic advisor for a number of community organisations and charities. She is an active member of Abraham's Tent Community Sponsorship group.


Helen Greig

Helen started as External Affairs Manager for the National Housing Federation in 2017. She is the primary link between CEO’s, boards and senior managers within the East Midlands and the Federation. Helen is also national lead for specialist housing, currently working to develop an offer for specialist Housing Associations such as those who identify as homelessness, refugee or offender specialists.

Helen has worked predominantly in housing since 1999 when she graduated from Nottingham University and began working for Nacro in North Nottinghamshire as a rural Foyer Project Worker. Helen also trained and worked as a Probation Officer for Derbyshire for four years from 2001 - 2005.  Helen’s work in housing has always been within the supported arm, developing projects around high-risk offenders, refugees, homelessness, young people and substance misuse for example. Helen completed an MBA at Nottingham University in 2018 and graduated with a distinction.


Rev. Ian Howarth 

Rev Ian Howarth is Chair of the Birmingham Methodist District. The District has a wide interest in work with refugees. It has sponsored a Syrian family under the Community Sponsorship scheme and is working to encourage and advise individual churches on how they might do the same.


John Coleby

As Director of Caritas Westminster, John has overseen the growth and development of the diocesan social action agency. Caritas creates links and builds networks with parishes, schools and community organizations across the diocese to foster social action. Caritas also has direct services including Caritas Bakhita House a refuge for trafficked women, Caritas St Joseph’s support and lifelong learning Centre for people with learning disabilities and Caritas Deaf Services. In 2018 Caritas set up SEIDs it social enterprise. Based in Wembley SEIDs provides opportunities for dignified self-employment and employment for people locked out of the job market.

John has a background in social care, and has held senior posts Jewish care, SweetTree Home Care and the London Borough of Camden. John holds an MA in Social Work from the University of Leicester and an MA in Biblical Studies from Heythrop College.



Dr. Neil Murray

Neil Murray is a doctor based in Edinburgh. He trained in anaesthesia and intensive care medicine before becoming a general practitioner 15 years ago. He has worked in the fields of pain management and addictions medicine, and has experience working with local authorities on a variety of health care issues. He is a trustee of Volant Trust which is a funder of Sponsor Refugees.

Neil is an active member of the first Community Sponsorship group in Scotland, Refugee Welcomes Edinburgh, who welcomed a family in 2019.



Major Nick Coke

Major Nick Coke is the co-leader of Raynes Park Community Church and Refugee Response Coordinator for The Salvation Army in the United Kingdom and Ireland. He, along with other civil society leaders, helped to co-design the Community Sponsorship of Refugees scheme with government and in February 2017 his church was the third group to receive a refugee family under the programme. He now shares his experience with Salvation Army groups across the country, and supports them to sponsor families through the scheme.

Nick was commissioned as a Salvation Army officer in 2000 and has held appointments in Cardiff and London. He has been involved with Citizens UK and community organising for many years, firstly in Tower Hamlets and now in Merton.