News | Press Release

6 February 2024

Refuge announces the appointment of five new members to its Board of Trustees

Refuge has announced the appointment of five new members to its Board of Trustees who took up their role on 1 February 2024. 

Alexandra Sufit  

Alex has a 20-year career spanning all facets of communication, from investor relations to government campaigns and video production, she currently advises companies on their social impact strategies. At the Social Mobility Commission, Alex was part of the team that launched the seminal Employers Programme – partnering with British business and the third sector to tackle the ‘class pay gap’ and change the narrative around socio-economic diversity in the workplace. Having worked across three central government departments, and in digital transformation for local government, she brings a deep understanding of policy-making and political dynamics. In her most recent role, she led global Diversity, Equity & Inclusion at a FinTech, operating in 10+ territories and spanning 50+ nationalities. Her career is dedicated to aligning profit with purpose and ensuring fairer workplaces. 

Amy Nelsen  

Amy has worked in supported and social housing for more than a decade and brings extensive knowledge of the housing landscape. Amy is currently the Director of Strategic Asset Management at Notting Hill Genesis, one of London’s largest not-for-profit housing associations, where she leads programmes to invest in and drive up the quality of their homes. Amy is passionately committed to improving opportunities for vulnerable people. Prior to her current role, Amy spent many years delivering care, support and temporary housing services, working in both service development and operational leadership capacities. She has a special interest in safeguarding and is a member of the Services and Safeguarding Committee at Refuge. 

Jeremy Lewis  

Jeremy is a Managing Director in the Group Operations and Technology Office division of UBS Group focusing on Cyber Governance, Policy and Regulation. With over 30 years of Technology and Financial Services experience, Jeremy has held a range of technology, change management and regulatory roles with an extensive record of delivering multi-year, complex global projects with board level and external regulatory interaction and commitments. Under the Prudential Regulatory Authority (PRA) and Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) Senior Managers and Certification Regime, Jeremy is an approved Senior Manager (SMF24 Chief Operations and Technology). Jeremy has previously served as a Trustee of the Credit Suisse EMEA Foundation and as the Chair of Governors of a state primary school. In his corporate role, Jeremy is a sponsor, supporter and active participant of multiple DE&I, philanthropic and community activities. 

Justin Derbyshire  

Justin served as the Chief Executive Officer of HelpAge International from 2016 – 2023. He led the organisation to champion the rights of older people around the world, develop long term solutions to population ageing and respond to humanitarian emergencies in countries such as Nepal, Ukraine, Syria, Ethiopia and Myanmar. He drove the strategic review of the organisation and the development of its current ten-year strategy which launched in 2020. This shifted the organisation from a traditional NGO delivery model to working with, through and for a global network of over 170+ organisations in 91 countries. He was a trustee of the International Civil Society Centre from 2020 – 2023 and he is currently a trustee of Restless Development – a non-profit global agency that supports the collective power of young leaders to create a better world. 

Meera Bedi  

Meera is a highly skilled housing development professional with over 35 years’ experience of working in affordable housing development and detailed knowledge of the housing association and council housing sectors. She has extensive knowledge of governance with over 25 years’ experience at Executive/Senior Management level having served various Boards and Committees, most recently, as Chair of Westway Housing Association and as a Member Haringey Community Benefit Society. She has worked for Black and Asian led organisations as well as specialist housing associations, most particularly, spending fourteen years as Director of New Initiatives at Housing for Women where she focussed on projects combatting violence against women and girls, trafficked women and women leaving prison,  as well as establishing the first  co-housing project for older women. 

Along with the new Trustees several appointments have been made to the Non-Trustee Committees that play an important role in Refuge’s governance. 

They are: 

  • Angelica Larkin
  • Anna Lungley
  • Craig Philbrick
  • Eleanor Black
  • Kenna Young
  • Shirley Green
  • Victoria Voller

More details on the Trustees and biographical details of the Committee Members are available on our trustees webpage.

Refuge Chair, Hetti Barkworth-Nanton CBE, said: 

“I’m delighted to welcome some outstanding new talent to the Refuge Board and Committees. Each brings a wealth of experience and specific expertise and skills that will help us in our work to guide Refuge.  

“As a complex, dispersed organisation we rely on the support, guidance and challenge provided by our Trustees and Non-Trustee Committee Members to make sure we continue to fulfil our purpose and serve the community of survivors of domestic abuse and their children who benefit from our services. More than that though, we are ever more determined to see important changes in society and for Refuge to work as an inclusive culture which embraces change and works in partnership with others within and outside our sector, fighting domestic abuse at an individual, cultural and institutional level.”