In 2017, we were a group of 15 or so mums, grandmas, daughters and members of the public concerned about the difficult time mums and under-fives were having in temporary or insecure accommodation in our neighbourhood.

We resolved to try to give them somewhere clean, fun and supportive to spend time during the day.

Nearly four years later, we have been so lucky to be able to attract the very best staff and  volunteers to help us fulfill our mission. 


Meet the team

Staff
Our staff are an amazingly dedicated and professional bunch of women – we are so lucky to have them.

Jules Robertson Family Support Manager

What do you do?
I ensure mums can access the support and services they need and feel secure, safe and cared for in order to help their children feel the same.
When did you join?
I started volunteering with Magpie in September 2019 and started as Family Support Manager in September 2020
What do you love about your job?
I love to see the relief of many of our mums when they come to us and we welcome them with a big warm, smile. I love to see their confidence grow with each visit when they realise someone else is looking out for them and they are part of one big family of phenomenal women.  
What do we not know about you?
I am a registered midwife with almost 30 years’ experience of working in women’s health, safe motherhood and maternity care so I know what excellent care and best practice look like and how to access and demand this – as well as challenge poor care.

Amy Ross CFO

What do you do?
I look after all the money that comes in and out of the Project, including fundraising and managing relationships with our funders, and making sure that every penny is spent fulfilling our charity purpose.
When did you join?
I joined as a trustee in 2018 and then became part of the staff team in 2020.
What do you love about your job?
I feel really proud to be part of an organisation that puts mums and children right at the very centre of everything we do. It’s at the heart of our strategy and is part of what makes the Magpie Project so special.
What do we not know about you?
Managing our finances gives me a really interesting birds-eye perspective of the work we do. And I love telling our story and bringing different people into our family through fundraising.

Hannah Duthie Play Manager

What do you do?
I create spaces and support safe, open ended play opportunities for our families. I organise beautiful, stimulating and fun play sessions for mums and minis whilst overseeing our wonderful volunteers who support me to run the play space.
When did you join?
I joined the team in 2018. My first task was getting the toy cupboard under control.
What do you love about your job?
I love to play alongside mums and minis both inside and out in our park, watching our minis grow and develop is an absolute privilege.
What do we not know about you?
My decades of experience in Early Years education and Special Needs means I come with a wealth of knowledge. I have the best job in the world. I can usually be found on the swing or in the sandpit!

Marcia Thompson – Graduation Manager

What do you do?
I identify needs and actions to support mothers to overcome barriers to move forward during their transition to living independently. This consists of outlining options, reviewing pathways and signposting to practical resources such as housing, welfare benefits, education, training, and employment.   
When did you join?
I have worked at Magpie since September 2020. 
What do you love about your job?
Engaging, empowering, and encouraging mothers during transition is crucial in terms of their healing. It can take immense strength for some mothers to break away from their past and visualise a brighter and better future for themselves. So, I find being able to support, help and neutralise some of these feelings can help to transform feelings of despair into optimism, which I find most rewarding. 
What do we not know about you?
No two days are the same at The Magpie Project! 

Lindita Dafkur – Facilities assistant

What do you do?
I organise and prepare essential and non essential products for our mums and minis. This involves hundreds of nappies, wipes, new baby bags, buggies, food and clothing.  
When did you join?
First of alI I volunteered at the Magpie Project in 2018, I have been employed since September 2020.
What do you love about your job?
My job is very rewarding, I get to work with people who share a common goal to help and support the mums of east London. 
What do we not know about you?
We provide a service that I am very proud of, this helps us build great long lasting relationships and provide a stepping stone for the mums to hear their voices in our community. 


Jane Williams – Founder CEO

What do you do?
I spend my time talking to our wonderful mums and minis about how to make their lives better through advocacy, practical support, belonging and advice. I then try to source all the things that they tell me they need – through partnerships and collaborations with corporate, community, charity and statutory bodies. My main aim is to bring the very best to our precious families.
When did you join?
I first started exploring the needs of women with young children in Newham in autumn 2016. Our first six-week pilot was in June 2017, we became a charity in December 2017.
What do you love about your job?
I love everything about my job. Meeting and spending time with resourceful and fascinating women from all around the world, cuddling London’s most beautiful babies, and learning every day from our dedicated volunteers and staff. This is a joy, not a job.
What do we not know about you?
I will turn any conversation to food. I have a dream of creating a community kitchen at the project where we can all cook and share food from around the world.

Sam Ward – Volunteer Development Manager

What do you do?
I try to bring together the right people with the right opportunity and support to create some community magic. I design and develop our volunteer recruitment, roles, training, policies and support. I love designing specialist volunteering programmes too and co-designing and co-delivering them.
When did you join?
I joined as a volunteer when I was on maternity leave in the summer of 2017, I’ve seen the project grow from the start and am honoured to have been a part of it’s growth. 
What do you love about your job?
That it gives people a safe space to be themselves. The noise of singing and laughing, the smell of coffee, soup and baby wipes. The foundations of listening, believing, trusting, caring, and respect for each other that the project is built upon. 
What do we not know about you?
I’m passionate about people and how volunteering and participation allows us to take part in something meaningful and unique. I believe it’s a privilege to walk alongside the mums and children at the project and that we all have a lot we can learn from each other. 

Trustees

Sveta Alladi
I am excited to join The Magpie Project as a Trustee to connect with the local community in which I work and really listen to the issues affecting children and families in Newham. I am keen to work collaboratively with the team to understand how to prevent the impact of adverse childhood experiences in the vulnerable population we support. 

Anu Anand
In 1947, circumstances made my grandparents destitute. They were forced to move from place to place with their infant children seeking sanctuary. I am here today because of the support they received. I want to be a trustee for the Magpie Project because there is no justification in a developed country for keeping people vulnerable and destitute. 

Radhika Bynon
The Magpie Project is an inspiring organisation doing important work with women and children in tough circumstances.  I was keen to join the board because my mother arrived in this country with her young children with no family or friends here, and we 4 lived in one small room, largely dependent on the kindness of strangers.  And despite the racism and poverty, we met good people. 

Gulshun Rehman 
As a lifelong passionate advocate and supporter of women’s equality and empowerment, The Magpie Project was an ideal local initiative for me to get involved in and support.   

Aimee Dorsett-Browne
Living in East London, I have been keen to get involved in the incredible work of The Magpie Project for a while.  My expertise lies in income diversification and programme design across the equality sector and I hope to use this knowledge to support The Magpie Project, mums and minis.

Paula Reily
I have lived in Newham all my life and I am keen to use my qualifications, skill and experience in charity finance & governance to support Newham based charities to make a positive impact on our community. 

Yasmin Raza
I joined the board of The Magpie Project because I care deeply about supporting women and children, and want to help the project to offer a safe home away from home to mums and babies.  

Anju Ahluwalia
I wanted to be part of The Magpie Project trustee board because when I first heard about the organisation and the mission. I just knew I wanted to use my own professional skills and experience to help them grow. Empowerment is embedded into my makeup and I want to support the Magpie project empower all there beneficiaries to the next level.