The board is committed to ensuring that our governance arrangements are effective and relevant. Trustees are selected for their expertise, and all give their time and energy for free to Hackney Migrant Centre.
Chair of the Board
Hannah is an in-house commercial solicitor, currently working for a mission-driven climate change consultancy. A passionate advocate for refugee and migrant rights, she worked for a not-for-profit legal advice service in Australia representing refugees and migrants before moving to London. Hannah has lived in Hackney for over 5 years and began volunteering at Hackney Migrant Centre in 2017. She has been Chair of the trustee board since 2021.
Saraf has a background in economics and has worked in financial services since 2011. As an immigrant from Bangladesh, moving to Ireland as a young child, Saraf is passionate about migrant rights. She brings strategic development, financial analysis and project management experience to the board of trustees. She lived in Hackney for over five years and has volunteered with several charities in the area. Saraf is Vice-Chair of the trustee board and has been a trustee of Hackney Migrant Centre since 2022.
Rayah has been a researcher and activist on migrants’ rights, especially the health of migrant women. She is a member of Patients not Passports which campaigns against NHS charging of migrants. She has worked for the charity Maternity Action, where she focused on the Home Office’s policies of dispersing pregnant women seeking asylum and charging migrant women for maternity care. Her background is in sociology and development studies and she formerly taught at East Anglia and London South Bank Universities. Rayah is a co-founder and former chair of Hackney Migrant Centre.
Kathy is a retired solicitor specialising in housing and a volunteer housing advocate for Hackney Migrant Centre. Until 2021, she was Professional Support Lawyer for Shelter; she has also worked in Law Centres and for Terrence Higgins Trust. She was Social Welfare Lawyer of the Year in 2010. Kathy has lived in Hackney for 40 years and as well as her work for HMC is a volunteer and Board Member for Hackney Night Shelter. She has been a trustee of Hackney Migrant Centre since 2018.
Elizabeth Kolawole Johnson
Elizabeth’s day job is at the charity Migrateful, where she supports asylum seekers refugees and other vulnerable migrants. Her lived experience of the hostile immigration policies gives her deep insight into the challenges facing many migrants in the UK. Before she left her country, Nigeria, she gained a Master’s degree in clinical psychology. Elizabeth joined the board of trustees in 2019 having previously been a beneficiary of the services of Hackney Migrant Centre.
Rosemary is currently secretary of the trustee Board. She has lived in Hackney for over 40 years. Until her retirement, she was Professor of Social Policy at Middlesex University, specialising in migration and refugee policy. Rosemary represented her local ward, Stamford Hill West, on Hackney Council for four years, including a year as Speaker of Hackney when she chose Hackney Migrant Centre as her charity. She has volunteered at Hackney Migrant Centre since 2009 and joined the trustees in 2012.
Tom is an associate director at the Institute for Government, a think tank based in Westminster. He leads IFG’s policy work including its programme on asylum policy, net zero, and research on obesity. He also delivers training to academics and civil servants on how UK government and parliament works. Alongside his research, Tom works as a freelance journalist writing for The House Magazine and other media outlets. He has lived in Hackney for six years and has also volunteered at Hackney Night Shelter. Tom became a trustee at Hackney Migrant Centre in 2022 after volunteering for the organisation during the pandemic.
Chris has worked in finance since 2013 and qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 2017. He currently works for ClientEarth, an environmental charity which uses the power of the law to help protect life on earth. He is also Treasurer of The Heritage of London Trust, a charity which focuses on conservation and education through youth engagement programmes. Chris has lived in Hackney for 10 years and joined the board of Hackney Migrant Centre as Treasurer in 2022.
Charlotte is responsible for the strategic development and the effective operation of HMC’s services.
Sian is a Solicitor. She supervises and manages HMC’s in-house legal capacity to complete immigration support to the migrants who access our services.
Charity looks after grant applications and maintains relationships with donors.
Housing and Destitution Caseworker
Donya provides advice on welfare and housing issues to migrants during the Wednesday drop-in session and manages a caseload of visitors to help bring them out of destitution and into secure living environments.
Frankie is a Solicitor, who provides immigration advice and assists visitors with their immigration applications.
Access to Justice Coordinator
Isabelle provides advice and casework to people who have had initial immigration advice provided at our weekly advice session.
Laura Moreno Vela
Access to Justice Coordinator
Laura supports HMC’s 50+ people volunteer team. She oversees volunteer recruitment, induction and ongoing support support.
Access to Justice Coordinator
Lizzie provides advice and casework to people who have had initial immigration advice provided at our weekly advice session.
Margo Munro Kerr
Margo is a Barrister, who provides immigration advice and assists visitors with their immigration applications.
Rivka looks after community fundraising initiatives and partnerships. She also helps organise our external communications.
Housing and Destitution Coordinator
Rose provides advice on welfare and housing issues to migrants during the Wednesday drop-in session and manages a caseload of visitors to help bring them out of destitution and into secure living environments.
We have over 50 volunteers at any one time supporting the advice service. Many of them are former visitors who remain part of the HMC community. It wouldn’t be possible to run our service without their help and support – from welcoming visitors to cooking lunch, collecting donations of food, and carrying out a range of casework tasks to help visitors access services and the support they need – volunteers are an integral part of who we are.