STAR is led by a team of staff and a board of trustees. The national staff team provides training and support to our student groups at colleges and universities across the UK. We work together at a number of levels to bring about lasting change for refugees.
I joined STAR in autumn 2009 as the Volunteering Project Coordinator, took on the role of Deputy Director in 2012, and have been the Chief Executive since 2019. I’ve been working in the refugee sector since 2006 and in the charity sector since 2004. Before working at STAR, I led a research project into mental health service provision for asylum seekers and refugees in England and Wales at Mind. Before that, I was the Volunteering Coordinator at the North Glasgow Community Food Initiative, a project originally established by the Glasgow STAR group. I am CELTA qualified and teach English to refugees and migrants as a volunteer.
Access to University Coordinator
I joined STAR in the summer of 2020. I coordinate the Equal Access campaign to improve access to university for people from refugee and asylum-seeking backgrounds in the UK. I have an MSc in International Development and Management, as part of which I researched higher education for refugees in Jordan. I’ve previously taught history and politics to secondary school students in the UK and France, and have volunteered with a range of organisations supporting people seeking asylum. Alongside my role at STAR, I’m a youth worker in South London.
I joined STAR in the spring of 2021. My role is to ensure that STAR groups can promote and run successful volunteering projects to support refugees and people seeking asylum in an effective and safe way. Alongside this role, I’m studying part-time for my master’s degree in Education, Gender and International Development. Before coming to STAR, I managed education and arts programmes for refugees and people seeking asylum in Greece, and taught English to secondary school students in the UK.
Trà My Hickin
I joined STAR at the beginning of 2022 as the Communications Assistant. My role is to make sure all the wonderful work that STAR does receives the attention it deserves. I manage and create content for our various channels of communication, overseeing the social media strategy, newsletters, and the website. Prior to working at STAR, I was researching and archiving life narratives from Vietnamese refugees and migrants in Hong Kong. With the help of the cross-regional platform BEBESEA, I’m working on publishing these narratives as a collection of short stories and podcast series. I continue to write, teach, and volunteer alongside my work at STAR.
Dave has worked in advice services in the UK for 20 years. Beginning as a volunteer in street homeless services, he developed extensive grounding in working with vulnerable people with complex needs. He began managing homeless services in 1995, developing first single services, then networks of residential and day-care provision. Moving to the refugee sector in 1999, Dave spent 15 years as a senior manager for Refugee Action, first as Operations Director and then, from 2010-15, as CEO. Dave joined STAR’s board in 2014 and became Chair in 2016. Dave is also a trustee of the Asylum Support Appeals Project.
James’ background is as a fundraiser, and he has worked and volunteered for a range of charities, including Oxfam, Third World First, and the Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture. Currently, he is also treasurer at National Ugly Mugs, who work to end violence against sex workers, and is on the working group for Music Declares Emergency, which supports artists in speaking out on climate change. As Treasurer, his role is to help manage STAR’s accounts, work with the STAR team on day-to-day finances and report back to STAR groups at the annual conference.
Edward is an employment lawyer who works with UK and international employer clients, including in the charity sector. He joined our board of trustees in November 2018.
Maryam graduated from the University of York in 2019, where she was a recipient of the Equal Access scholarship. She was the Volunteering Coordinator of York STAR and campaigned for Equal Access. She is now one of STAR’s Equal Access Activists. She now works at City of Sanctuary as Universities of Sanctuary Coordinator.
Karolina is on the committee for Essex STAR and was voted onto our board of trustees at the 2020 AGM. She studies Social Anthropology at the University of Essex. Her favourite part about being a student trustee is being a part of an organisation that breaks down social barriers and brings people together from all over the world.
Natasha is on the committee for Northampton STAR where she studies International Development. She was voted onto our board of trustees at the 2019 AGM. Natasha works part-time as a youth worker for Northampton Town of Sanctuary.
Billie is on the committee for ULIP STAR and was voted onto our board of trustees at the 2019 AGM. She studies International Politics at the University of London Institute in Paris (ULIP) where she is also the Ethics and Environment Officer.