STAR National Team

What does the Star National team do?

The STAR National team work for the STAR charity and provide co-ordination, training and support to individual STAR members, local STAR groups and the national STAR network 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 Still Human Still Here 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 : Emma Williams
Emma joined Student Action for Refugees (STAR) as Chief Executive in 2008 and has 20 years experience leading refugee non profits in the UK. Prior to joining STAR Emma led the programme of national expansion at Freedom from Torture, setting up four new treatment centres for survivors of torture. Emma established STAR’s programme to create equality of access to university for refugees and asylum seekers in the UK in 2010. The work is in partnership with the National Union of Students and to date has secured significant central government policy change plus the creation of scholarships at one third of the UK’s universities.

Deputy Director: Emily Crowley
Emily joined STAR in October 2009. She has been working with refugees since 2006 and before STAR was at the North Glasgow Community Food Initiative and Mind. Emily leads on managing the student network and volunteering at STAR, this includes working with refugee projects to set up and support STAR volunteer projects, training volunteers and providing advice and support to STAR groups with their volunteering.

Student Network Coordinator: Maddy Robinson
Maddy has been involved with STAR for the last 3 years. She first joined STAR while she was at Exeter studying for a BA in French and Latin and has just finished an MA in Business Translation with Interpreting at Surrey University, where she set up a STAR group. She has run various successful events to fundraise for refugees including ‘Rock for Refugees’ and she is also a trustee for ‘Bridging the Gap Islington’.

Student Network Assistant: Amy Hughes
Amy first came into contact with the network while volunteering for Nottingham STAR. After leaving education she became a social media manager for a number of NGOs.

Access to University Campaign and Advocacy Coordinator: Tamara Smith
Tamara joined STAR in May 2017. Prior to this role she worked as Parliamentary Officer at the Immigration Law Practitioners’ Association and as an Immigration Adviser to refugees. Tamara has a BA in Arabic and Anthropology, is Communications Lead at Springboard Youth Academy and a yoga teacher. Tamara facilitates the Equal Access to Higher Education Working Group and supports the creation of bursaries and scholarships for asylum seekers.

Communications Officer: Douglas Beattie
Douglas is an award-winning former BBC News journalist. He has worked in TV, radio, newspapers and for online publications. Douglas has experience in communications for a major trade union and a human rights group. He’s also a Labour Councillor.

Administrator: Jonathan Waring
Jonathan joined STAR in spring 2013. He leads on STAR’s administration and finance work, as well as organising STAR’s annual conference. Jonathan has a BA in Fine Art and many years’ experience running artists’ studios, organising events, and co-ordinating offices in the non-profit sector.