Connecting Communities Panel

Sandra Penaloza T-Rice

Sandra Penaloza T-Rice is co-founder and manager of Migrant Support, one of the most significant and widely recognised grassroots’ organisations supporting vulnerable migrants in Manchester. She has designed and implemented several volunteering schemes with an emphasis on recruiting and supporting volunteers from diverse cultural backgrounds, as well as projects including English learning for migrants and refugees, media, befriending and peer research initiatives. Sandra is a consultant for MigrationWork CIC, currently part of the MiFriendly Cities project based in the West Midlands. She is also a Trustee of the MigrationWork Trust.

Iona Lawrence

Iona Lawrence is a freelance strategist working to build collaborations and coalitions for change with clients including Spirit of 2012, The Local Trust and The Cares Family. In 2016 she set up the Jo Cox Foundation in memory of her friend Jo Cox MP with her family to campaign on the issues Jo had championed. Together they campaigned to appoint the world’s first Minister for Loneliness, £20 million new funding for the issue and the Great Get Together. She was part of setting up the Safe Passage project in the Calais ‘jungle’ refugee camp.

Dipali Chandra

Dipali Chandra is an accomplished consultant, adviser and change professional. She is a social policy expert, with specialist knowledge of equality and social inclusion issues. She is currently has a portfolio of work: Partnership Development at the national charity, Workers Educational Association, and runs the WM Funders Network. She has worked with a diverse range of clients in a consultative capacity across health & social care, voluntary/community sector, charitable trusts, social enterprise and education organisations. She also founded and managed the Coventry Women’s Business Development Agency.

Safety For All Panel

Patrick Vernon

Patrick Vernon is a social commentator and campaigner who has been at the forefront of recent high-profile campaigns to establish Windrush Day and grant an amnesty for the Windrush Generation. He has an OBE for over twenty years of work tackling health inequalities for ethnic minority communities in Britain. Patrick is currently Associate Director for Connected Communities at the Centre for Ageing Better and a Patron of ACCI a long established black mental health charity in Wolverhampton as well as Patron of Santé, a social enterprise in Camden which supports and befriends refugees and asylum seekers across London. Patrick is also an Ambassador for ALMS House Movement.

Rachel Marangozov

Rachel Marangozov is a Director of MigrationWork CIC and the Chair of the MigrationWork Trust. She is an expert on labour market integration, particularly in relation to refugees, migrants and minority ethnic communities. She has over a decade of experience in this field having worked at IPPR, the Institute for Employment Studies (IES) and as an expert advisor to the UK Parliament and the European Commission.

Hassan Akkad

Hassan Akkad is a Bafta/Emmy award-winning filmmaker, Hassan Akkad, fled Syria in 2016. Since arriving in the UK, he has worked in TV and film production as well as becoming a refugee rights activist. At the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, he started working as a cleaner at an NHS hospital in East London and since campaigned for better protection for NHS staff but also those seeking a safe route by which to claim asylum in Britain.

Equality, Access & Rights Panel

Renae Mann

Renae Mann is the National Director at NACCOM – The No Accommodation Network: a national network preventing destitution amongst people seeking asylum, refugees and other migrants. She joined NACCOM from Refugee Action, where as National Business Development Manager she developed a fundraising strategy to strengthen access to justice for people seeking asylum and refugees across the UK. Renae previously led the Asylum Support Partnership at the Refugee Council, and as an independent consultant, has supported charities, private and public sector organisations to strengthen their impact. Renae is also a trustee of London Plus, the voice for civil society organisations in the city, and of the MigrationWork Trust.

Chai Patel

Chai Patel is Legal Policy Director at the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI). He is a solicitor specialising in public and human rights law, leading JCWI’s advocacy on law and policy, and strategic litigation. He joined JCWI in 2015 from the Migrants Rights Network where he worked on policy and campaigns. Previously he worked in the Human Rights department at Leigh Day on abuse and human rights claims, and in the death penalty team at Reprieve, focussing on international strategic litigation, casework and investigation.

Fatima Iftikhar

Fatima Iftikhar builds innovative campaigns, coalitions and communities to bring about transformative and structural change across employment, education and civil society. She coordinates the Workforce Integration Network at the Greater London Authority. As part of the Mayor’s Social Integration strategy this programme aims to break down structural barriers to work and create an equitable labour market for all Londoners. She is also founding organiser of CharitySoWhite, a POC led campaign group tackling institutional racism within the charity sector and #POCIMPACT, a community and platform recognising, supporting and connecting People of Colour working in the Social Impact sector. She is also a Director of Doing Social, a social enterprise promoting inclusive innovation. She is an Aziz Foundation Scholar, currently studying Social Policy and Social Research at UCL.

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