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Come and meet our staff and trustees!


Charity Manager – Nicola Wood

“I have always been drawn to work with the communities I have lived in. I believe in our shared humanity and using our compassion and empathy to help enable those struggling and who often feel the full force of the inequalities in our society to be able to create a life of purpose and joy.

I have worked in schools, libraries and charities; alongside this I’ve worked and volunteered with people seeking sanctuary in Swindon and in London. I was drawn to the cause of the City of Sanctuary movement because it’s about welcoming all – no matter who you are or where you came from.

I’ve had the privilege of being part of SCoS since it began in 2016. The people I’ve met through this work, their resilience, smiles, tears and heart inspire me and give me hope in our humanity. I read a quote which said, “Trauma creates change you don’t choose. Healing is about creating change you do choose.” As a community, we can be part of that healing for those who have suffered great trauma and loss by being inclusive and in how we welcome them. This is why I believe SCoS work is so important and why I’m passionate about this work.”


FAB! Project Coordinator – Stella Mortazavi

“I have always believed that we are all connected in this world, and that as humans we benefit from living in a diverse and inclusive society. I feel very fortunate to live in a country where I have freedom and a fair justice system when there is so much inequality and injustice in the world.  I also believe that the movement of people benefits the societies we live in by bringing new cultures and  shared experiences. This quote from Ban Ki-moon sums it up for me: ‘Migration is an expression of the human aspiration for dignity, safety and a better future. It is part of the social fabric, part of our very make up as a human family’.

I joined Swindon City of Sanctuary in March 2021 having previously worked in the business and education sectors, and I also work for another local charity. I am passionate about peoples’ right to seek sanctuary and build a better life for themselves, wherever that may be. I feel privileged to be working for an organisation with the ethos of welcoming all into our community irrespective of who they are or where they have come from, and also to be working with a team of people with a shared passion for an inclusive and welcoming society.”


Volunteer Coordinator - Amanda Black

Volunteer Coordinator – Amanda Black

“Hello, my name is Amanda and I’m the Volunteer Co-ordinator. I have a passion for people, and I greatly enjoy empowering others to achieve their personal goals.

I am looking forward to working with SCoS in a role that will bring like-minded people together to create and participate in activities and events that will support those who are currently facing the challenges of mediating the asylum system.”






Chair of Trustees – Ben Jackson

“I’d been a charity trustee for some years prior to joining Swindon City of Sanctuary as Chair in 2018. I really wanted to use my experience of leadership in the private sector to help a local charity, and SCoS seemed a perfect fit.

I recognise that I am lucky to have always lived in the UK – a safe, liberal society as a whole – and I’ve felt uneasy for some time about the demonisation of migrants in the political and media spheres. For me, helping an organisation to support people who have lived through often horrific danger and abuse in their home countries felt like the least I could do. The fact that SCoS is about creating an inclusive culture for our entire community, not just those seeking sanctuary, was the icing on the cake.”



Trustee – Moses Luanda

“No man is an island; we all get supported every day, either knowingly or otherwise, through the journey of our entire life. The best we can do to be able to pay for our time on Earth is by at least making a positive difference to another person’s life other than yours.

‘Volunteering’. That is a true meaning of not only be a human being but a true being. That is engraved vividly in the mission and vision of Swindon City of Sanctuary. Helping sanctuary seekers at the time of need and creating awareness by highlighting their plight. Therefore, Swindon City of Sanctuary’s vision and mission together with its enthusiastic team was and is a force for me to be a member of the trustee board.”



Trustee – Cristina Bennett

“Since retiring from secondary school English teaching in 2016, I have remained actively involved in global education developments – I became a Volunteer with Swindon City of Sanctuary in 2017 and a Trustee in 2018 after launching Swindon’s ambitious Schools of Sanctuary Network. This Network encourages primary and secondary schools across the town to work towards becoming nationally accredited Schools of Sanctuary.

The schools’ work has included developing some significant projects and initiatives in collaboration with other individuals and organisations in Swindon to support schools in promoting a culture of welcome and inclusion. The work allows young people to critically explore the often inaccurate, yet popular narrative presented in our news media about seeking asylum; it focuses on getting to know how the complex and challenging asylum process works and its impact on people who have fled conflict in their home countries to seek sanctuary here with us in the UK.

What motivates me as a Trustee?  Simply having the opportunity to work collaboratively and empathically to challenge the popular narrative and shape Swindon’s culture of welcome and inclusion. It’s our commitment to ensure that people and organisations in our town work together in understanding each other and to create a safe, welcoming and inclusive community for all of us – whoever we are and however long we’ve been here. There’s no doubt that collective, positive actions enrich our vibrant and exciting culturally diverse town.”

Trustee – Ian Howard

“I have been involved in Swindon City of Sanctuary since 2017. Before that I had always had a passion for social justice and after several trips to ‘The Jungle’ in Calais I looked for ways to get involved in helping migrants who came to the UK.  My first involvement was in providing accommodation for migrants who had arrived in Swindon and having received their right to remain no longer could rely on the local authority for help. This taught me so much about the lives beyond the media headlines of this group of people that I decided to be part of an organisation that could protect and support them.  

SCoS as an organisation reflect my own values and I am pleased to be able to work towards making Swindon a welcoming and inclusive town  to all who arrive looking to build new lives.”


Trustee – Rob Newman

“I was born and raised in Swindon and I’m incredibly proud to be associated with a charity and a movement that does so much to promote a culture of inclusion in my home town.
The past several years have been divisive and traumatic ones across the world. People have been displaced from their homes and forced to seek sanctuary elsewhere, but continue to face appalling obstacles and hardships. Promoting empathy in our discussions around these issues, and welcome in our communities, is one of the things that we can do to ensure people who are fleeing persecution and danger can make a new life for themselves here, and be a part of our national life.
SCoS plays an essential role in enabling people seeking sanctuary both to tell their stories and to find the support they need. I hope we can continue to play our part in changing the local and national conversation in the years to come.”


Trustee – Kate Hudson

“As one of the original founders of SCoS, I have a deep attachment to our charity and to the nation-wide City of Sanctuary Movement as a whole. I am a trustee and volunteer, volunteering firstly as production manager for the launch of SCoS in 2016, then co-ordinator for Refugee Week events in Swindon during 2017-19 and finally as assistant lead for our Schools initiative. I also support our group with many other initiatives from fundraising to attending training courses.
I worked for over 30 years in the education sector as a Drama teacher, Head of Department and Head of Faculty and have an enduring commitment to Arts Education as a whole. The importance of the arts as a vehicle for change, social integration and for fostering empathy within a community can never be underestimated.”


If you would like to join our Board of Trustees or are interested in any of our paid positions, click to find out more.