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We currently have 1 Employee and 8 Trustees

Liz Hibberd: Strategic and Partnership Lead

Liz HibberdI’ve been involved in education for around 13 years, first of all working as a primary teacher, then moving overseas to teach English as a Foreign Language, which I did until 2015. Through this work I have witnessed the barriers that many people face trying to access education, as well as the importance it has on equipping people for the difficulties they encounter throughout their lives. Having lived in South America, Egypt, Thailand and Qatar, as well as travelling extensively through S.E Asia, Central America and Africa, I am privileged to have a unique understanding and awareness of different cultures and value the need to work and live in ways which welcome and support diversity.

Volunteering in the ‘Jungle’ refugee camp in Calais, France, made a real impact on me and changed the direction of my MA studies. I decided to focus on education and refugees and analyse the support teachers have in terms of understanding the refugee experience. My research showed that teachers don’t feel they have the knowledge or confidence to facilitate their students’ awareness or understanding of the current situation despite them wanting to challenge prejudice and explore the issue further.

Partly as a result of this, I became more passionate about supporting the integration of refugees and asylum seekers, as well as raising the awareness of the refugee journey to those who have limited interaction with newcomers to the UK. By promoting understanding and questioning perceived notions, I hope to create a space where genuine dialogue and engagement can take place. Through my work with Manchester City of Sanctuary, I aim to do this. Highlighting commonalities and understanding the lives of others is the first step towards recognising our shared humanity and working towards a world where everyone is made to feel welcome and at home.

Eve Holt, Chair of the Board


Eve’s experience spans public policy, practice and governance with 15 years as a solicitor specialising in public law. This included work with refugees and asylum seekers alongside advice and representation on education, health, mental health and social care matters.

Eve is a co-founder and Director at Happen Together CIC, helping people make good stuff happen through systems coaching, facilitation and training.  Focus on inclusive participation, purposeful collaboration and supporting wellbeing in community, workplace and public sector.

Eve has leadership, management and governance experience across a range of settings. This includes being a Co-opted member for a Manchester City Council Scrutiny Committee for 4 years and a local leader of governance.

Eve lives and works in Greater Manchester where she is well connected in networks spanning public, private and third sector. She is an active member of the community to include being a volunteer and co-lead at Bike Hive,  DivaManc, Parliament Project North, M4, PushPedalScoot, a local wellbeing project and a number of schools.


Aleksandra Bardon

I joined Manchester City of Sanctuary as a trustee in October 2019. I have extensive experience working with Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children and Refugees, and have worked with charities and local government in London, Kent and across the North West.

After five years in the South of England, Manchester called and I returned to my favourite city. I become a trustee of MCoS to help promote and extend the wonderful, welcoming culture Manchester offers to people the world over.

My interests include languages and intercultural communication. I am fascinated in the variety of ways people of different cultures discuss emotional wellbeing. In the UK, most services accept only standardised ways of discussing wellbeing; this can often prevent people from receiving the care and support they need. I am interested in creating spaces to allow people to speak comfortably about their experiences and have their needs supported.

I also am a passionate advocate for volunteers’ and staff wellbeing in the charity sector, as I recognise that while the work is extremely rewarding, there are specific challenges to these roles which need to be addressed.

Tony Openshaw

I have recently become a trustee although I retired over four years ago as manager of Asylum Support Housing Advice (ASHA) – a charity I set up in 2004 to assist destitute asylum seekers with asylum support issues such as accommodation, weekly support, registration with GPs and education. I have previously worked at Right to Remain and the Greater Manchester Immigration Aid Unit, and have been involved in about 75 anti-deportation campaigns.
I am also a presenter on Sonder Radio and my show “Tunes from the Missing Channel” features mainly reggae and dub tracks with a few surprises. I chose the name of the show after an album by Dub Syndicate as I wanted to share music which is rarely heard. I don’t play for the chart, I play for the heart. It’s written and presented by myself and is produced by Reform Radio DJ, Louis Blatherwick, although I’m also learning the production side of things.
I also run a group called “Out in the City”, an over 50s social group for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. The group meets weekly and enjoys day trips, walks, coffee mornings and trips to museums and art galleries.
Follow Tony on Twitter:
Jenni Pocsai
I am originally from Canada but have been living here for almost 20 years. I feel very connected to the North of England and it’s sense of humour! This place has welcomed me with open arms and I feel compelled to pay that forward and help to make this City as welcoming for others as possible. I am passionate about every person feeling like they are worthy and they belong.
Seeing the effect of Brexit on the UK with all the propaganda about those seen as ‘other’ made me feel like I couldn’t sit by any longer and I volunteered to help at MCoS. I’m so proud to be helping this charity make a difference to people’s lives and promote awareness of MCoS in general.
My professional life includes food, social housing and people. I have 17 years experience in social housing and helping people feel like they belong. I have worked with community groups, chaired colleague groups and led wellbeing efforts during the pandemic. I just want to help and am grateful to MCoS for letting me.
Abby Ledger-Lomas
I live and work in Manchester having moved here 10 years ago from Liverpool. I love Manchester’s spirit of generosity and welcome and want to extend that warmth to those who seek sanctuary here. I’m a creative strategist in broadcast media and work with lots of teams to develop content for a wide range of audiences, with a passion for representing the needs of all people from all communities in the UK. As a writer and facilitator I deliver many creative workshops in both corporate and not-for-profit environments and love to see first-hand the simple magic of bringing people together in shared experiences, which is something Manchester City of Sanctuary does brilliantly. I have held other positions in Northern charities – from Trustee to Mentor – and hope to bring that experience, as well as my skills in communications, the MCOS board. I’m a Mental Health First Aider and Mental Health Lead in my current role, and I look forward to contributing to the good work MCOS do in creating opportunities for people to improve wellbeing in an inclusive and accessible way.