Europia Staff Team

Sarah Duncan
Impact & Development Manager
Sarah Duncan
Impact & Development Manager
sarah.d@europia.org.uk
Hi, My name is Sarah Duncan, I am the Impact and Development Manager at Europia. I grew up in Liverpool and studied Chemistry in The University of Sheffield. Shortly after graduating I moved to Singapore for 8 years where I worked as a Medical Chemist. After the birth of our first daughter my husband and I decided that it was time to return home to the UK, we settled in Manchester as it was close to Liverpool and offered scope for my husband’s job. A few years and a career change later I started work at Europia. I have been with Europia since 2017 in a variety of different roles. For the first few years I coordinated the Europia Support Project, as part of this role I worked with our Head of Advice to support clients with welfare issues. In 2019 my colleagues and I introduced the Europia EU Settlement Scheme support project, here we assisted and continue to assist clients with their applications to the EU Settlement Scheme. More recently I have moved away from direct client engagement and instead focus my energy on Europia processes, reports and funding applications. I feel that Europia is a fantastic charity, it provides much needed support to a sector of society often overlooked. I feel proud to work as part of the team.
Karol Kochanowski
Volunteer Coordinator and EU Settlement Scheme Worker
Karol Kochanowski
Volunteer Coordinator and EU Settlement Scheme Worker
karol.k@europia.org.uk
Hello, I’m Karol and I was born in 1986 in Poland; I’ve been living in the UK for over 15 years now. I’ve studied Fine Art at MMU and since graduation I’ve been working as a painter. Meanwhile I got interested in volunteering as a way of expanding my skills, contacts and learning new things about the environment around me. This is how I came across of Europia in 2017 where I was establishing an European LGBTQ discussion group. My role in the organisation has been changing and evolving from the start to become a Volunteer Coordinator in the end. It’s always been natural to me to share my knowledge and skills with others, to connect people and encourage them to try new things, it felt that this role was perfect for me. My other role at Europia is to support our clients with the EU Settlement Scheme. I enjoy working with clients, helping them make their living situation easier. It’s an incredibly rewarding role. I haven’t forgotten about my artistic skills, though. I carry on producing new paintings, and taking part in curating art exhibitions. Me and other 7 creative individuals set up Europia Art Collective. So far we have organised a number of art events. Once the lockdown is over, we will get back together to surprise you with more odd and beautiful projects.
Karolina Koscien
Advice Team Leader
Karolina Koscien
Advice Team Leader
karolina.K@europia.org.uk
Hi, My name is Karolina; I am originally from Poland where I earned my master degree in Sociology. At Europia, I work as an Advice Team Leader. I occasionally collaborated with Europia on different projects, and since October 2019, I have been working with the Advice Team permanently. Our department directly supports EU citizens with the whole range of welfare right services from food parcels through housing, benefits, education, legal support, and many more. We try to make the life and experience of living in a foreign country as easy as possible for them. Being a migrant myself, working with members of different communities as a youth worker, community interpreter, cultural consultant or welfare advisor, has made me realise we are the assets, we do have skills, and our experience and knowledge should be valued and recognised. I am also a co-founder and one of the directors of Heart & Parcel, where I work with amazing women from around the world and their delicious foods. I am also an associate of Just Psychology in the role of a Cultural Consultant.
Marlena Wawrzenczak
Coordinator, Europia Women's Group
Marlena Wawrzenczak
Coordinator, Europia Women's Group
women@europia.org.uk
Require biography from Marlena
Kush Chottera
CEO & Co-founder EARTS
Kush Chottera
CEO & Co-founder EARTS
kush.c@europia.org.uk
Having moved to the U.K in 2005 one of the first languages I was introduced to was Polish. Having worked in various third sector jobs including homelessness, addiction and mental health I then got trained as an ESOL teacher. I was brought into Europia as a trustee and within a short span of time led the unincorporated community group to a registered CIO. Creating a team with shared power, co-production and championing for lived experience representation is my vision. Ensuring Europia is a compassionate and effective organisation providing holistic and practical support to EU nations is my mission.
Ramona Constantin
Roma Advocacy Worker
Ramona Constantin
Roma Advocacy Worker
roma@europia.org.uk
Hi, my name is Ramona. Before Europia, I was working as regional organiser at Migrants Organise. There, I was working with Europeans, refugees and asylum seekers stopping detentions and doing campaigns to change the policy for migrants in the UK. In this job I was also working with the Roma community. At the moment, I am working as Roma Advocacy Worker at Europia. I help and give advice to the Roma people. For me helping the Roma community is important because they need someone who understands them and can give them advice which will help improve their current issues and can explain what their next steps should be to help their situation. I am doing this work because I know I am reliable and most of the Roma people know me and so it's easy for me to give the help necessary for them to improve their situations. Now I have 5 children between 3 and 17 years old. I am a happy mother and a happy person too. I believe that Europia has had a great impact on individuals within Roma community. Many of them have received the most accurate and appropriate help and advice.
Mandy Hughes
Head of Health and Social Care
Mandy Hughes
Head of Health and Social Care
health@europia.org.uk
Hi, I'm Mandy, My background is in Nursing and Health Visiting, where I have worked in different cities across the UK, with families, their children and across the communities that I have worked in. During the 2000s, I worked for Trafford MBC (Greater Manchester), commissioning the Voluntary and Community sector to set up projects promoting inclusion and Diversity. From 1991-2001 I lived with my family and worked in Transylvania (Romania) and across the country. This is where I had the privilege of learning Romanian. My 2 children were educated in Romanian schools. I have visited Eastern and Central European countries many times, including Hungary, Poland, Bulgaria, Serbia, Moldova, Czech and Slovak Republics. My interests outside work include: walking, reading, travelling and fun with friends. Europia offers great services for EU Citizens. I am delighted to use my skills to work with such a passionate team of people.
Gosha Adamowska
Communities Engagement Consultant
Gosha Adamowska
Communities Engagement Consultant
gosha.a@europia.org.uk
Hi, I'm Gosha. I am involved in the work of Europia since June 2020, ensuring that our projects reflect the voices of the communities we serve (research), contributing to the strategic growth of the organisation and its funding sustainability. I was 2018/19 2027 Programme Fellow. I have worked at Veolia Environmental Trust taking an active part in the assessment of funding applications and grants delivery, as well as successfully developed model of a programme that aims to equalize grant giving across the social landscape of applicants. I am also a founder of the bid writing collaborative group at Europia. I am an Observer Trustee Associate at the Baring Foundation where I contribute my views to Strengthening Civil Society and Arts committees. I like to use my knowledge of the reality of community work and funding sector perspective, to improve bridging the both. I am a qualified mentor and have successfully mentored community organisations through funding application processes, specializing in helping small/ grassroots/ minority led groups that struggle to access funding. Currently I also work on research programmes, hoping to bring light onto overlooked needs of specific communities to gain attention of those issues of decision-makers in funding and charity sectors. Prior to joining the funding sector, I worked for a range of local and country wide non-for-profit organisations (Crisis Skylight, Sifa Fireside, Polish Expats Association), delivering first hand services to multiple needs clients, to include newly arrived migrants from EEA countries and those affected by homelessness and human trafficking. I have developed links and established lasting collaborations with many grassroots community organisations and lead community activism actions. I am passionate about: bringing different worlds and opinions together to gain sustainable answers to the social issues; having expertise that only direct experience and an insider's knowledge can form and constant appraisal of how well the “good” is done, collaborative work. I would like to find more time for growing my own vegetable, long distance hiking and training to hopefully become circus artist by the age of 80.
Aleksander Brayanov
Salesforce Administrator
Aleksander Brayanov
Salesforce Administrator
sf@europia.org.uk
Hi, I am originally from Sofia, Bulgaria and came to the UK 5 years ago to complete a degree in Artificial Intelligence. While being in university, I also discovered my passion for digital art. Since my graduation, I have been developing both my creative and technical skills. Even though I came to this country as a student, I still needed some time to adapt to the new environment. Amazingly, organisations such as Europia offer support for people while they go through this process. I found out about Europia by becoming a member of Europia Art Collective. Soon after that, I started helping them with translation for their Bulgarian clients that require assistance. During the lockdown in the UK, I was also translating the COVID-19 guidance in Bulgarian. Since the end of 2020, I have been working on configuring Europia's new clients' system and also offer technical support when it is needed. I am glad to contribute my technical skills to a stronger Eastern European national community through my work for Europia.
Catherine Sirotkin
Communications Officer
Catherine Sirotkin
Communications Officer
comms@europia.org.uk
Hi, I am Cat, and I studied Political Science with Sociology at the University of Birmingham. I was born in Israel to Russian parents but have lived in the UK almost all of my life. I am passionate about international development, as well as the treatment of immigrant groups in the UK. I began with Europia in July 2020 as part of an internship and have continued to work in communications, youth work and projects. Growing up in an immigrant family in the UK, I understand the issues many EU nationals face. I love the passion that everyone in Europia has towards making real change in society. In addition to Europia, I am part of a number of social impact projects in Birmingham and have experience in research, diplomacy, and political journalism. I believe in times as tough as these, it is so important to ensure that people feel a sense of community and belonging in order to feel supported. I am so proud to work for an organisation that puts community first, overcoming any obstacles that may be thrown in its way.
Corina Bibere
Assistant Advice Worker
Corina Bibere
Assistant Advice Worker
corina.b@europia.org.uk
Hiya, my name is Corina and I’m originally from Romania. I came to Manchester almost 9 years ago as a Psychology & Criminology student at Salford University. After finishing my degree I went back to dedicating myself to the arts, which I always hoped to do, and built a career as a visual artist. At the same time, two years ago, I also decided to give some of my spare time to volunteer for two amazing Manchester based organisations supporting causes dear to my heart, such as migrant and women’s rights. These were Europia and Manchester Action for Street Health (still volunteering for them now). Starting in June 2020, I have been employed by Europia as an Assistant Advice Worker. Alongside my colleagues in the Support Team we provide various types of support to EU nationals living in Manchester. By being EU nationals ourselves, we have valuable insight in the challenges that come with being migrants in the UK and we make sure to use this insight for the benefit of our clients. I’m lucky enough and awfully grateful to have been able to work in both fields I enjoy and I’m hoping to continue doing so once the lockdown is lifted. I really miss performing at gigs and festivals but I also can’t wait to get more experience when it comes to social work.
Joe Meredith
Research and Information Officer
Joe Meredith
Research and Information Officer
joe.m@europia.org.uk
Hi, I’m Joe. I’m from London but work remotely as a Research and Information Officer with Europia. I started working with Europia as a Project and Communications Volunteer at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in May 2020. I had been furloughed from my previous role, and I was interested in working in the third sector. I got a tip-off that a charity called Europia needed volunteers, so I got in touch, and that’s how my work with Europia began. After three months of volunteering, I got a job at Europia and officially joined the team in August 2020. I have worked across many different projects with Europia, and we have really grown over the past year. From coordinating translated COVID-19 information to providing EUSS support, Europia has faced challenges head-on throughout the pandemic. I’m really looking forward to working even more with the communities we support, learning more and more about them along the way. Before that, I studied French and German at university, spending a year living in Munich. After university, I worked at a German think tank in the UK and then joined a Travel PR firm. In my free time, I like painting, drawing, djing and eating (I’m a big foodie!).
Danniella Verity
Communications Officer
Danniella Verity
Communications Officer
dannie.v@europia.org.uk
Hi, I’m Dannie! I grew up in Lincolnshire, UK. I then studied at the University of Birmingham, from where I hold a BA in International Relations with Political Science and an MSc in International Development. I first joined Europia as an intern during my Masters degree in July 2020. From there, I volunteered, worked part-time, and now work full time for Europia as a Communications Officer, focusing on marketing, PR, and social media strategy and content development. I have previously worked in a variety of sectors, including as an Immigration Advisor to asylum seekers. I have also volunteered with various organisations fighting for human rights, democratic development, and climate change awareness. It’s been fantastic to join Europia in a time where we’re growing so fast, and so many talented people are joining the company. I can’t wait to see what Europia can do in the future! In my free time, I take care of my 20+ houseplants, experiment with vegan cooking (with varying levels of success), and play video games (badly).
Marta Grzelak
Pro Bono Lawyer for Europia Legal Surgery
Marta Grzelak
Pro Bono Lawyer for Europia Legal Surgery
Marta comes from Kalisz in Poland. She graduated from the University of Bialystok with her masters degree in economics in 2005 and completed the Graduate Diploma in Law and the Legal Practice Course at the Metropolitan Manchester University. She was admitted to the roll of solicitors in 2011 and became a Partner in June 2013. Marta speaks fluent Polish, English and Italian, and is a Director at McHale & Co. She provides pro-bono work for the Europia Legal Surgery.

Europia Volunteers

Europia Volunteers offer their time for free in return for work experience, skills development, professional development and other opportunities available at any one time. The role is interesting and varied and currently, the EU national volunteers include Hungarian, Latvian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian and Spanish people living in Greater Manchester and the UK. Thanks to all Europia Volunteers, we couldn’t do without you!

Europia Student Placements and Interns

Europia Student Placements and Interns are essential to the Europia Family just as much as the Europia Volunteers. Recently, student placements have been included in the growing Health and Wellbeing team and Interns are working across the charity, in different teams. Being a part of Europia means you get to experience a wide variety of supportive roles and an insight into the running of a charitable organisation. Thanks to all.

Europia Board of Trustees

Chair: Maria Kompanowski (appointed November 2019)

Secretary: Agnieszka Osakunih (appointed July 2020)

Paul Lajszczak (appointed October 2017)

Treasurer: Adam Mitula (appointed November 2019)

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