Our team

We’re proud of our small, dynamic team of staff, volunteers, trustees, and advisors. Together, these are the folks who make Local Welcome happen.

Follow us on Twitter to find out about new roles as we grow.

 

Staff

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Ben Pollard

Founder

Ben began his career documenting and supporting displaced communities in Bangladesh, East Africa and Zimbabwe before training as a community organiser in Washington DC and London where he co-founded the Citizens UK campaign to increase Syrian refugee resettlement.

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Claire Brown

Communications

Claire began her career as a journalist before moving into communications and funding. She's spent the past 10 years having fun in education and the third sector, where she's developed programmes and campaigns to engage young people and adults experiencing poverty and disadvantage.

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Will Myddelton

Product

Will is a user-centred designer who has moved into product roles over the last few years. He has worked for the Government Digital Service (GDS) and Home Office, as well as cxpartners and other user-centred design agencies. He is interested in making good products in teams that are rewarding to work with.

 
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Andrew Chaplin

Delivery

Andrew is a graduate of the Teach First Leadership Development Programme. He also has three years' experience in the voluntary sector, including managing campaign groups with SPEAK Network and working alongside refugees in the West Bank and South Africa.

 
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Celia Mellow

Operations

Celia graduated from the University of Derby last year, where she studied Global Development with Sociology (BSc). Celia first came across Local Welcome when she was president of Derby Student Action for Refugees and eagerly agreed to lead meals in Derby. She's since become a full-time member of the team.

 
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Efe Harut

Design

Efe studied Architecture in Turkey and recently completed an MA in Industrial Design at Central Saint Martins focused on human centred design methodologies. He loves creating things that are useful and have impact.

 

Helen Brown

Support

Helen spent more than thirty years working in the financial sector including 15 years as personal assistant to bank directors and 10 years as a human resources consultant specialising in dispute resolution and is an accredited workplace Mediator. Helen is now semi-retired and assists Ben Pollard.

 
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Ahmed Sinno

FoodLab

Ahmed designs and tests our recipes. A passionate ‘foodie’, he's also an experienced data analyst and sales manager, with a degree in marketing. He hails from Lebanon, where he volunteered with the British Red Cross. He plays basketball with the Brixton Ballers and is soon to embark on an MA in strategy.

 
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Ann-Marie Yiannis

Events

Ann-Marie has spent 15 years causing havoc in south east London; starting community projects, running charity events and delivering services for the council. Her last project was a CIC coffee shop where she supported young people into work and drank too much coffee. Her focus is starting meals in new areas.

 

Trustees

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Alice Newton-Rex

Alice is VP of Product at WorldRemit, a fin-tech start-up that helps migrants send money back to friends and family in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Before that she was a product manager on GOV.UK, and co-wrote the first digital strategy for the Ministry of Justice.

Dr. Ella Fitzsimmons  Ella is a digital strategist and writer. She helps digital teams work out what they do and how they talk about it. She's Swedish and American and has worked in 3 continents, most recently at the Government Digital Services (GDS), Doteveryone and now the Co-op Digital. She recently finished her PhD thesis about how new communities of Muslim and Orthodox Jewish women are emerging online.

Dr. Ella Fitzsimmons

Ella is a digital strategist and writer. She's Swedish and American and has worked in 3 continents, most recently at the Government Digital Services (GDS), Doteveryone and Co-op Digital. Her PhD thesis is about how new communities of Muslim and Orthodox Jewish women are emerging online.

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Nick Gretton

Nick is an experienced finance director and board member who loves to help organisations make an impact. He has worked for a number of technology businesses and has helped many non-profit organisations, in the fields of education, sustainability and faith-based projects.

 
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James Darling

James has over 10 years of experience in the digital sector. He has been Technical Architect of the Labour Party, Head of Software Development at Ministry of Justice, Technical Lead at GOV.UK and Creative Technologist at design consultancy BERG. James also co-founded Rewired State.

 
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Martin Dittus

Martin is a researcher and data scientist at the Oxford Internet Institute. His PhD at UCL researched community engagement for the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team. Former director at London Hackspace, facilitator at Occupy London and Hack the Barbican, and software developer for Last.fm.

 
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Nasser Youssef

Nasser is a financial expert with extensive experience in commercial and private banking, trading and investments. He is a board member at the UK Syrian Arab Association, deputy headteacher at The Syrian Community School in London, non-executive director at Innovative Technology and Science Ltd and a member of the British Bankers Association. 

 

Advisory Board

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Beadie Finzi

Beadie is Foundation Director of Doc Society. In addition to executive producing a number of films, Beadie is responsible for the global Good Pitch programme and helping develop tools for the field such as the Impact Field Guide and the Doc Impact Award. She produced Oscar-shortlisted film Unknown White Male.

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Lindsey Boswell

Lindsey is CEO of FareShare the UK's largest charity fighting hunger and food waste, by sourcing surplus food from the industry and redistribute it to charities. Fareshare processes 13,552 tonnes of surplus food to 7,000 charities, feeding 500,000 people per week and 28.6 million meals a year.

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Tom Baker

Tom is Head of Mobilisation at Save the Children UK, and previously worked at Bond - the UK network for organisations working in international development - Tearfund and Chrisitan Aid, where he led campaigns on aid and development. He blogs at Thoughtful Campaigner.

 
Teem Khan  Teem Khan has 10 years experience as a retail operations manager and is an active campaigner in the LGBTQ & refugee community. He is also a member of the Gay Man dance Company  (GMDC) . He is currently seeking sanctuary in the UK.

Teem Khan

Teem Khan has 10 years experience as a retail operations manager and is an active campaigner for refugees and people seeking sanctuary, and in the LGBTQ community. He is a member of the Gay Man Dance Company (GMDC).