Meet The Team

Staff Members

Ali Mahgoub

Chief Executive

My name is Ali and I have over 25 years of experience in the third non-profit sector. I am a human rights activist, I’m passionate about politics and inequalities, and I also speak more than five languages.

Ranya Abdulateef

Art Therapy and Women’s Wellbeing Group Co-ordinator

I am an Artist and the proud founder of MelograniArt embroidery designs. My printmaking practice incorporates embroidery, illustration, painting and photography. Inspired by nature and Islamic geometric designs, my unique hand-drawn screen prints and fabric works are extremely detailed, often using the layering of multiple artistic techniques to combine creative mediums. I am now based at The Art House as part of their Studio of Sanctuary programme. I take pride of being an engaged and valued member of the studio holder community at The Art House. I also deliver a range of printmaking/ textiles workshops, volunteer with Wakefield City of Sanctuary and am an active member of the Merrie Collective, a group of early-career photography artists and creatives in Wakefield.

LinkedIn Profile

Donna Gallier

Advocacy Support Officer

My name is Donna and I moved to Leeds during the COVID pandemic. I have had a varied career up to date with over 10 years experience in education, as well as experience in both the civil service and charity sector. I am extremely passionate about ensuring equal opportunities for all and removing barriers that prevent people from achieving their full potential. 

Khair Rudd

Advocacy Support Officer and Men’s Wellbeing Group Co-ordinator

Supporting the community with Bilingual advocacy service and Men Wellbeing Group.

Hannah Westen


I have spent my career working in the charity sector in a variety of roles. I am passionate about ensuring everything at Leeds Refugee Forum runs as smoothly as possible so we can make the best use of our resources to help as many people as possible.

Oleksandra Svishchova

Ukrainian Community Support Officer

Gabriella Thwaites

Education Officer

Bracken Devlin

Graphic Designer and Social Media Officer

Billy Johnstone

Communications and Marketing Worker, Website Developer


Leeds Refugee Forum is entirely community led. Our Board of Trustees is made up of individuals elected by our members. Our trustees come from the refugee community in Leeds. Trustees meet every six to eight weeks to administer the running of the organisation and the One Community Centre.

Kathy Seamian

Chair of Trustees

Kathy is a high school and further education teacher with links to Leeds Persian Supplementary School. She has experience working with new communities, setting-up community facilities and improving access to them. Kathy has worked with soup kitchens and other charitable activities and can share knowledge and information on a range of migration topics.

Professor Louise Waite


Louise is a professor of Human Geography at the University of Leeds. She has a background in research and collaboration with asylum-seeking and refugee communities. Louise is a student educator around the themes of forced migration, human trafficking, modern slavery, labour exploitation and migrants’ rights. 

Godefroid Rubomboza


Haleh Jahanshahlou


Halah lives in Leeds, teaches maths at a secondary school in Wakefield and supports the Persian Supplementary School. Halah speaks Farsi and some Arabic, Turkish and Hindi.

Maxmed Hussein


Maxmad (Max) is a taxi driver in Leeds, with knowledge of policy and practice related to the profession. He speaks Swahili and has experience working with the Leeds Swahili Cultural Community, supporting people to access support and education. He is also involved in the Ebor Gardens Junior Football group, supporting children across Ebor Gardens and Chapeltown, and is currently working on developing this group. Max has a good understanding of the challenges and barriers involved in engaging the community.

Pria Bhabra


Pria is Leeds Migration Programme Manager at Leeds City Council’s Safer, Stronger Communities Migration Team, which delivers a range of activities to address the following themes in partnership across the city: Support for new communities; responding to national policy changes; organisational improvement activity; community engagement and capacity building; embedding learning; and sharing best practice.  

Luke Farley


Andrew Rathbone


Taurai Cheteni


Want to get involved?

We’re always on the lookout for volunteers to help run our events, projects and activities.

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