VCH Staff

Chief Executive

Lauren Tobias

Lauren Tobias

Lauren has been Chief Executive of VCH since 2012, which she describes as the best job in the world! She has a background in managing volunteering and employment programmes across the voluntary, private and public sectors, developing partnerships and new projects.

Head of Volunteering

Rupal Karia

Rupal Karia

Rupal (Charlotte’s job share partner) has been managing volunteers in community settings for over 10 years, including working previously as the Volunteer Services & Best Practice Manager at Volunteer Centre Camden.

Rupal is currently on maternity leave.

Head of Volunteering

Charlotte Handel

Charlotte Handel

Born and raised in East London, Charlotte joined VCH as Head of Volunteering in 2012. With a background in arts marketing and community engagement, she’s passionate about how local people can get involved in their community and change things for the better. Her other (work) half is Rupal. 

Step Up Programme Manager

Chris Mate-Kole

Chris Mate-Kole

Chris has been working on the Step Up project for the last 4 years starting as a Project Caseworker and progressing to become Programme Manager.. His academic background is in Law and Criminology and since graduating has spent time volunteering abroad, setting up a small project in Ghana and also working for a local council.

Community Supporters Project Manager

Farzana Siddique

Farzana Siddique

Farzana was a stay at home mum for 9 years and was referred to VCH Stepping Forward Project who supported her to start volunteering on the Step Up project, where she progressed to become their paid Project Administrator and soon after, the Community Supporters Project Manager. Farzana says “I really believe that volunteering is a great way of gaining experience for employment, as well as improving mental fitness

Farzana is currently on maternity leave.

Step Up Peer Support and Project Officer

Alison Ogunduyile

Alison Ogunduyile

Alison is a single parent who was born and raised in Hackney and who has built up a huge amount of experience in supporting others through volunteering. Alison’s passion lies in championing mental health and Peer Support, having lived experience of mental health herself, and over the last 6 years has volunteered at City & Hackney Mind, City & Hackney Recovery College and VCH. The Step Up project have supported Alison’s progression from volunteering to paid work and were delighted to welcome her to the team in 2019.

Head of Volunteering

Krithika Subramanian

Krithika Subramanian

Krithika has experience of working in the private and voluntary sector. She is also a professional Indian classical dancer. She engages with several community organisations through creative workshops and performances. Krithika has managed several projects at VCH, including the Integrated Communities project and our recent work on impact management.

Krithika is currently covering Rupal’s maternity leave.

Administration and Communications Officer (maternity cover)

Portuia Douglas

Portuia Douglas

Portuia is a Hackney born and bred local. She considers herself to be a creative, arts enthusiast as well as having an accounting academic background. Through the Step up programme she began volunteering with VCH and then was in an ideal position last year to take on the paid role that came up to cover Amalia’s maternity leave.

Community Supporters Project Manager (maternity cover)

Tabinda Akhtar

Tabinda Akhtar

Tabs has over 20 years’ experience working with people facing multiple barriers. She has supported service users, volunteers and staff and tries to encourage working creatively to focus on health and wellbeing holistically.

Step Up Employment Advisor

David Tang

David Tang

Diversity and inclusion has been a prominent theme throughout David’s work and volunteering history. In his previous career he was an occupational therapist specialising in psychiatry. For the last nine years, David has worked as an employment adviser for mental health, and pan disability charities.

Our Place Programme Manager

Sulekha Hassan

Sulekha Hassan

Sulekha is a proud Hackney resident who is passionate about her local community and supporting people to come together to tackle local issues.. She is a school governor and previously worked in health and social care patient engagement.