STAR National Team

What does the Star National team do?

The STAR National team work for the STAR charity to provide co-ordination, training and support to individual STAR members and local STAR groups to help them achieve the very best for refugees in the UK. We work with other organisations like Refugee Action and Amnesty to bring STAR’s work across the country into the national movement for change in the asylum system. These are some of the ways we do this:

  • Help set up new STAR groups
  • Provide free training for STAR members on subjects including asylum rights, child protection, running successful campaigns and recruiting volunteers
  • Make and distribute STAR branded resources
  • Run conferences for STAR members
  • Help with committee handovers and fresher’s events e.g. providing resources for fresher’s stalls
  • Run the STAR website, Facebook & Twitter pages
  • Set up and support STAR group’s volunteering projects at partner refugee organisations
  • Provide STAR groups with accurate information on refugee and asylum issues
  • Provide speakers, exhibitions, films and plays about refugees for STAR groups to put on at their university
  • Work with partners like Amnesty International UK and the NUS to plan, set up and co-ordinate STAR’s national campaigns
  • Fundraise to make sure the STAR network can keep going

The STAR National Team

Chief Executive: Emily Crowley
Emily joined STAR in October 2009. She has been working with refugees since 2006 and has 13 years experience managing volunteers. Before working at STAR she led a research project into mental health service provision for asylum seekers and refugees in England and Wales at Mind and prior to that was the Volunteering Coordinator at the North Glasgow Community Food Initiative, a project established by Glasgow STAR.

Student Network Manager: Jess Benham
Jess joined STAR in early 2021. In this role she supports students to set up and run STAR groups and organise successful events and campaign actions. Previously, Jess has worked for the Holocaust Memorial Trust and for University Student Charities, so has expert experience in leading campaigns for students and working within the university environment.

Access to University Coordinator: Siobhán Coskeran
Siobhán joined STAR in the summer of 2020. She supports the creation of bursaries and scholarships for people seeking asylum across the UK and facilitates the Equal Access to Higher Education Working Group. Siobhán has an MSc in International Development and Management, as part of which she researched the impact of higher education on the well-being of refugees in Jordan. She previously taught History and Politics to secondary school students in the UK and France, and has volunteered with a range of organisations supporting people seeking asylum.

Volunteering Coordinator: Amos Schonfield
Amos is STAR’s Volunteering Coordinator. He has an MSc in Migration Studies and his role is to ensure that STAR groups across UK universities are able to promote volunteering among students in order to support refugees to integrate in their communities in an effective and safe way. He is the Founder and Director of Our Second Home, a youth movement for refugees and migrants, and on the boards of Yachad and Noam Masorti Youth.

Student Network Organiser: Hannah Carbery
Hannah joined STAR in the summer of 2020; she graduated from the University of Nottingham where she was the Vice President of Nottingham STAR. She was part of the team of ‘STAR crossed runners’ who completed the London Vitality Half Marathon to fundraise for STAR in March 2020.

Administrator: Anisa Shirka

Anisa joined the STAR team in autumn 2019. Her role is admin and finance as well as helping to organise events and conferences. Anisa has studied AAT accounting and has first-hand experience of asylum. She is experienced in running campaigns and leading asylum and refugee women’s groups. Before coming to STAR, Anisa was Co-chair of the All African Women’s Group, a group of asylum seekers and refugees who campaign for their rights in the UK. Anisa was also the treasurer of Women Against Rape.