The Team


Ben Pollard,                          CEO and Co-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.


Alice Newton-Rex, 



Alice is VP of Product at WorldRemit, a fintech 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.


Martin Dittus, 



Martin has a decade of experience in community organisations and social computing. He is currently completing a PhD at UCL, researching community engagement for the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team. He was a director and trustee at the London Hackspace, organiser and facilitator at Occupy London, Hack the Barbican, Electromagnetic Field, the Air Quality Egg DIY sensing community and others, and was a software developer for


James Darling, 


Technical Co-Founder

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.


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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Andrew Chaplin, 


Delivery Manager

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. 


Claire Brown, 


Funding and Communication Lead

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

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Celia Mellow, Intern

Celia is a final year student at the University of Derby studying Global Development with Sociology. She has been an active member of Student Action for Refugees (STAR) and took on the role of president in her third year. She started an intern position with Local Welcome after a few months of assisting in co-ordination of Local Welcome lunches in Derby where STAR members attend regularly. 


Than Than Soe, Digital Intern


Than Than is studying with Code Your Future, a non-profit organisation that trains aspiring web developers. Her digital skills and experience in the UK voluntary sector mean she's quickly become a highly valued member of the team. She's originally from Burma and is an incredible cook.

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Unika Gratiam,          Research & Psychology Intern

Unika is passionate about how psychosocial issues affect people in society and has spent the past has 17 years working in community mental health with organisations including Refugee Council, MIND and Cambridge House.  She has a degree in Psychology and Counselling and is currently studying for her MA in Psychosocial Studies.



We wouldn't be here without help from:

Alex Pounds, Carmela Francoline, Kate Ivey, Eva Farina and Maria Izquierdo.