The VCH Team

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

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. 

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.

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 and Together Better Community Development Manager

Claire Ferrigi

Claire Ferrigi

Claire has lived and worked in Hackney her whole life and loves it. She co-founded The Boiler House N16 community space and has over 12 years’ experience working in community development and engagement. She is passionate about people, and believes everybody has something to offer and everybody is capable of doing something amazing in their community.

Claire works across Our Place and Together Better.

Our Place Community Development Officer

Emine Korkmen

Emine Korkmen

Being born and raised in Hackney, Emine has always wanted to help her local community. After completing her psychology degree, she was finally able to put her skills and qualifications to great use by working with VCH on the Our Place project.

Our Place Community Builder

Giselle Richelieu

Giselle Richelieu

Giselle has worked as a specialist advocate and support worker for children and young people for the last 12 years across various statutory and voluntary sector organisations. She has a passion for connecting with people and a deep respect for the communities she’s served. Giselle works in an intersectional, holistic and trauma informed way and places the most disaffected at the centre of her work. She loves seeing communities come together, organise and creatively adapt to change.

Together Better Community Development Officer

Richard Howlett

Richard Howlett

Richard works on our Together Better project. He previously managed a community shop and café which won a national award for tackling loneliness. He has seen first-hand the transformative power of volunteering and the impact community initiatives can have on people’s lives. Through other roles he has helped establish a community market, queer history project, surplus food shop and a temporary homeless shelter. He has a background in co-operative business, and social and environmental justice campaigning.

Together Better Community Development Officer

Krista Brown

Krista Brown

Krista works on our Together Better project. She has lived in E9 for 22 years. Krista left her career a few years ago to focus on community work, which has always been her passion. With an MA in Youth and Community and over 20 years voluntary experience working on projects around youth violence, women and girls, care leavers, homelessness, and domestic violence, she comes with a clear-eyed understanding of the power volunteering has to change our communities for the better.

Krista joins us from Our Place, where she has run community projects such as Community Closet, a Hackney-based children’s clothing, equipment, and toy bank. Krista is also a care leaver and raised her children as a single parent.

GP Project Volunteer Coordinator

Sinead Geary

Sinead Geary

Sinead has been working alongside Valentina as Volunteer Coordinator at VCH since March 2020. She has experience with working in further education, community group projects, and offering support for new ideas and community-led projects. Sinead is also an artist with a background in art and design. She lives and works in London.

NHS Community Connector

Graham Dunning

Graham Dunning

Graham is the Community Connector for the Hackney Marshes Blended Team, working alongside NHS mental health services. Previously he worked in adult education, teaching in colleges, community centres and homeless hostels across London, and has also worked in tenancy support and recovery services. Graham also records music in his spare time and is a great believer in the transformative power of creativity.

Communications Officer

Joe White

Joe White

Joe joined VCH in autumn 2020. He is passionate about ideas and changing minds, and increasing audience reach and engagement. Joe is proud to work for an organisation which empowers local people.

Administration Officer

Amalia Loizidou

Amalia Loizidou

Amalia moved to London in 2010. Trained as a teacher, she has many years of experience working with children and teaching languages. She has an MA in education and alongside English, also speaks Greek and Spanish.

Amalia has been working at VCH since April 2018. She helps local residents find their ideal volunteer role in the borough, as well as supporting organisations, training and managing Brokerage and Screening volunteers and undertaking VCH’s administration and communications activity.