Our Board of Trustees are dedicated individuals within the area who believe in our mission. Find out more below about each of our Trustees:
Margaret Adele Bond (Chair of the Board)-
I have close Syrian friends and have visited their country. A wish to play a part, however small, in helping some of those affected by the terrible events which have befallen what was a wonderful country – the cradle of civilisation – was an initial impetus for becoming involved in the District of Sanctuary and I joined the Board of Trustees in 2021. As it happened, this was not long before the start of the war in Ukraine. Once the Homes for Ukraine scheme got underway we started to see an influx of refugees in our area and my primary role became running a weekly drop-in centre for them.
When our Chairman resigned due to ill health last year I took over from him. This is a very interesting, varied role, at times great fun and at others quite harrowing as on a regular basis there are problems to be tackled, some of which are very distressing for the parties involved. We don’t always have the answers but we can usually find a source of help.
I am fortunate to be working with a team of very dedicated, competent and supportive trustees.
Dennis Brickles (Treasurer) –
I have been a Trustee for over six years. I wanted to use some of the “free time” created by retirement to help others and I was becoming aware of refugee families moving into our area and knew nothing about them. But what I did know was that in terms of life-chances many such families had had a very raw deal and deserved not just sympathy but practical support. I began to be involved in social activities for the families that were already living locally, including residential visits and spent some time supporting individuals. I took over as Treasurer with no real experience of such work, yet I could see that it was a role that needed filling. The crisis in Afghanistan meant far more work and some rebuilding of the charity and it has rolled on into responding to the Ukrainian crisis which again needed more from us.
For me I am pleased to be able to help in whatever way I can. Problems still occur and as one of a good team of Trustees I hope to be able to continue to respond wherever the need is evident, and would encourage others to do the same.
Charlotte McEvoy (Secretariate)
Charlotte was asked to join the board of Trustees in late 2023. She has worked within the voluntary sector for over 11 years, specializing in project design and management. She currently works as the Community Empowerment Manager at Chain Lane Community Hub, who has worked closely with Harrogate and Knaresborough District of Sanctuary over the past few years to provide support to Ukrainian Refugees. One of Charlotte’s key professional achievements was leading the Talent Match programme across the Leeds City Region, which aimed to support disadvantaged young people into sustainable employment. This was part of a national initiative, and Talent Match Leeds City Region was one of the best performing projects in the country.
Charlotte is a resident in Knaresborough and is passionate about the Charities purpose and cause, she believes that every person deserves safety, support and compassion and is passionate about how the charity supports refugees and asylum seekers.
I joined Harrogate and Knaresborough District of Sanctuary when I saw a call for English language support but this soon grew to supporting a family as they moved into Knaresborough. I have found the locally grounded and very practical needs/work of the charity just up my street – collecting essential items for families, helping with school work and helping with ‘admin’ for the family as well as joining in the lively parties and picnics! Having managed a charity and been a trustee for a range of organisations I am happy to extend my experience to support HDoS. I represent the ‘public awareness’ committee that arranges events and publicity e.g. in refugee week. I also represent the interests of those in Knaresborough where I live as well as helping keep activities on track within the ‘rules’ of the charity commission. It is a lovely group of people to work with.
I joined Harrogate district of sanctuary in 2023. I have moved to Harrogate from a small market Town in Lincolnshire where I was a trustee for Louth Churches for Refugees. I believe we should welcome refugees and asylum seekers into our communities and help them become part of the community. My working life was in industry, not an area where I picked up many skills for working with refugees but on retirement I volunteered at Citizens Advice learning to help people solve lots of issues, benefits, debt and housing issues mostly. As a trustee of LCfR I planned the sponsorship of two Syrian families who came to the town through the community sponsorship scheme. I went on to work with both of these families helping with housing, benefits , employment and general help with day to day correspondence with local and national authorities. Both families are doing well and enjoy living in their community. My role in HDoS is coordinator of volunteer befrienders. I enjoy meeting the people who are doing so much for our families in the Harrogate and Knaresborough area and look forward to helping as much as I can.
John Charles Harris
I was invited to take over the vacant chair role and I responded for a combination of reasons
I had visited Syria and been twice to Ukraine which it was clear was about to be invaded by Russia so knew two of the countries from which our refugees had fled
Further, I had chaired The Art House in Wakefield, we had supported Wakefield City of Sanctuary through our creative industry and arts studios ( I recently attended the award ceremony of TAH as the first Gallery of Sanctuary…….)
Way back I knew all about the work of my mother’s closest friend Ida Cook who organised the flight of over 30 Jewish people from Nazi Germany
Closer to home I chaired the Harrogate Homeless Project for eight years so knew something of the scourge of being homeless without the unspeakable heartbreak of having to seek safety in another unknown country.
I continue as a trustee wishing to support the wonderful team of volunteers who for years have befriended and supported families and individuals who have come to us for sanctuary from evil.
In late 2022, Tamanna Krami received an invitation to join the board of Trustees. As one of the Afghan resettlement families in Harrogate, she brings a unique perspective to the table. Mrs. Krami previously served as Arts Programme Manager for the British Council in Kabul, Afghanistan, for nine years. During her tenure, she was a strong advocate for arts and culture, believing that they enrich people’s lives and that cultural heritage is of great value.
Tamanna’s family, like many other Afghan families, relocated to Islamabad, Pakistan, during the civil war. She spent most of her formative years in Islamabad and has a passion for helping and supporting individuals who have gone through the immigration experience, as she has done herself. She is now representing Afghan families settled in Harrogate and Knaresborough, and seeks to improve their lives by lending her voice to their cause.
Throughout her professional career, she has endeavoured to change perceptions of Afghan people by creating international platforms to showcase their works and products. With her extensive experience and unique perspective, she serves as the voice of Afghan resettled families living and settling in Harrogate and Knaresborough. Tamanna has made notable achievements in her professional career, including inviting the Globe Shakespeare’s Theatre to perform one of Shakespeare’s most popular tragedies, Hamlet, for a local audience at the UK embassy in Kabul. Additionally, she curated an event titled “Untold Stories of Afghan Women” as part of the York Festival of Ideas, showcasing the original and unexpected stories of Afghan women writers.
These accomplishments demonstrate Tamanna’s skill in organizing cultural events and her dedication to promoting the arts. The event at the UK embassy in Kabul brought together diverse audiences and showcased the power of theatre to connect people across cultures. Similarly, “Untold Stories of Afghan Women” provided a platform for the voices of Afghan women writers to be heard and celebrated.
Tamanna’s achievements highlight her ability to create engaging cultural events that bring people together and promote understanding and appreciation of diverse perspectives.