Sanctuary in Chichester supports refugees and asylum seekers locally to recover from trauma, build new lives and become independent. We do this through a huge range of activities, delivered by a large team of volunteers, three paid staff members and the Board of Trustees. Our trustees are very actively involved in the charity’s operations as well as providing strategic oversight, and they work closely with staff and lead volunteers. We make a cohesive team and are in the process of expanding and professionalising the organisation to meet rapidly increasing need.


Tony Toynton – Chair of Trustees

Tony was a Police Officer for 30 years, serving in Lincolnshire (home county), Wiltshire and the final six years at Sussex Police as Assistant Chief Constable. From 2008 to 2012 he was Director of Communities and Infrastructure at West Sussex County Council, and from 2012 to present he has been self-employed as interim manager, management consultant and training consultant.

Tony’s strengths lie in getting strong performance from teams and contracts. He is an experienced and qualified project and programme manager and an experienced contract manager, with considerable experience of local government change and restructure programmes, taking cost from both management structures and contracts. Tony has had success in managing contractual disputes and the broader, performance and relationship improvements between client and contractor in public outsourced contracts.

Tony joined Sanctuary in Chichester as Chair of the Board of Trustees in May 2019. He has overseen rapid change at the charity and has turned the organisation’s finances around, from being in a very vulnerable position in 2019 to having a diverse and sustainable income in 2022. This has made it possible for Sanctuary in Chichester to increase its paid personnel and its team of volunteers to meet the needs of increasing numbers of refugees and asylum seekers in our area. Tony has also built a strong, dedicated and talented Board of Trustees, ensuring the charity has strategic direction and is in a great place for adapting to its continued growth.

Lois Smith – Lead for ESOL (English as Second or Other Language) and Adult Education

Lois has over 20 years’ experience as an English language teacher and language programme designer. She has lived overseas for many years and was the chair of a language centre and also an IELTS examiner during that time. Following this, she gained a PhD in Educational Research and had an academic career as an Associate Professor of Education before becoming the campus Director of Middlesex University Dubai. Currently she is a part-time Associate Lecturer with the University of Chichester and teaches a bridging module – From Adversity to University – which prepares students from disadvantaged backgrounds for academic study in the UK.

Lois joined Sanctuary in Chichester as a volunteer tutor before becoming a Trustee in 2021. She was previously a trustee for Home-Start Chichester and District.

Philippa Gogarty – Lead for Befriending and Ukrainian Response 

In 2004 Philippa co-founded Micro Scooters UK, a company which became one of the leading urban mobility retailers in the UK. She and her business partner pioneered the first three wheeled scooter for children. The mini Micro three wheeled scooter heralded a breakthrough in children’s mobility. The company also went on to introduce two wheeled aluminium scooters to the UK for children and adults – another pioneering moment in urban transport. 

Before that she worked as Campaign Director at Hammersmith Hospital and Imperial College, raising over £15 million for The Institute of Gynaecology and Obstetrics. Earlier fundraising campaigns included being Campaign Director at St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington where she raised £5 million for the construction of a Paediatric A&E. She regularly speaks at entrepreneur events and programmes and has been a trustee of several charities. 

Philippa has broad experience of working with asylum seekers and refugees in the UK and Northern France, and since 2016 she has been travelling to France to volunteer with The Refugee Women’s Centre and Marie Skobtsova Safe House in Calais and Dunkirk. In 2019 Philippa stood down as a Director of Micro Scooters UK and became a NED of the company which enabled her to focus more on working with asylum seekers and refugees.  

In 2018 Philippa and her family took in a young Eritrean man claiming asylum in the UK. The experience taught her much about the UK asylum system and refugee organisations here. She became a Trustee of Sanctuary in Chichester in December 2021, overseeing its growth as increasing numbers of refugees and asylum seekers arrived in West Sussex, including Ukrainians and Afghans who arrived on the government’s resettlement programmes.

Susan Hilgers – Treasurer

Susan moved to Chichester with a young family and was motivated to volunteer for Sanctuary in Chichester by gratitude that her children had such safe place to grow up in. She says, “I was deeply touched when Chichester became a City of Sanctuary and offered the same place of safety to other families who have been through so much.”

Susan is an MCIPS qualified Commercial Director and works full-time in London. This means that she doesn’t have the time or flexibility to volunteer in roles directly supporting refugees, but when the Treasurer vacancy opened, she saw that her previous experience as a Schools Finance Business Manager and as Treasurer for St Mary’s Sennicotts meant there was a way she could get involved and help the cause. She has been in post as Treasurer and Trustee since May 2022 and says, “I have been amazed at how much work is done, how kind and giving the volunteers and other trustees are and how kind and giving our benefactors are. The summer party was a highlight.”

Jude Clouston – Drop-In Lead

After qualifying as an architect in 1982, Jude began working for a large London practice where her projects included award-winning Docklands warehouse conversions, community projects (including a women’s refuge) and new-build housing schemes. She became an Associate, then a Director, as the practice continued to grow before setting up her own medium-sized practice in 1994. The projects were mainly residential and community schemes for private developers and Housing Associations, with many involving public consultation. She set up a second practice in 2011, working with many of London’s leading Housing Associations on new housing and estates regeneration projects with a particular emphasis on low/zero carbon design and sustainable construction. She remained as a Director of this practice until her retirement in 2020. Throughout her professional life Jude has worked on social housing schemes, giving her an in-depth knowledge and understanding of providing for those in marginalised communities and in greatest need. 

Outside her full-time career, she was involved in a number of local voluntary groups in North London, where she lived.  She was on the management committee of a community centre based in a large Local Authority estate which housed many incoming refugees, often on a temporary basis. She took part in numerous fundraising activities for local community groups and was Chair of a local civic society.

Jude left London and moved to Chichester in September 2021. Following Putin’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 she felt compelled to “get involved in some way to help people fleeing the war“, and came across Sanctuary in Chichester. She started volunteering and quickly realised what a vital role the charity was fulfilling in assisting and supporting refugees and asylum seekers. She became a Trustee in August 2022, with particular responsibility for the weekly Drop-In.

Mark Stables – Designated Safeguarding Lead

Mark has worked in adult social care for 40 years –  latterly with Portsmouth City Council. For much of that time he worked with people with learning disabilities and has been involved in the transition from long stay hospitals to people taking their rightful place in the community.

Mark first went to Calais in 2016 as an antidote to the discouragement produced by news coverage of the plight of refugees. He has returned on several occasions to volunteer and is inspired every time by the efforts of individuals and small charities.

His first contact with Sanctuary in Chichester was inadvertent – providing the founder a lift and asking him what he did! For the last three years Mark has been a volunteer befriender, and became a Trustee and Designated Safeguarding Lead in 2021. He has helped us craft our Safeguarding Policy and advises the Board on dealing with safeguarding issues and concerns, as well as questions around inclusion.

Fred Hilgers – Data Protection Officer

Yes, Fred is married to Susan!

Fred qualified and worked as a language teacher in 1984 and has worked in Medical IT for 25 years. His role as a product manager and business developer requires him to frequently travel in Western Europe. In 2018 he trained in data protection and became the Data Protection Officer (DPO) for five Belgian subsidiaries of the CGM Group.

Before moving to the UK from Belgium in 1999, Fred volunteered as a projectionist for a rural cinema and helped run an association organising a wide range of cultural events including an annual music festival and a street theatre festival. Since he moved to Chichester, he has become a keen dinghy sailor and takes part in club regattas most weekends.

Fred first became aware of Sanctuary in Chichester during the evacuation of refugees from Afghanistan. Like many others at the time, he volunteered (unsuccessfully) as a language teacher. When asked in 2022 to help refine our data protection policies and processes, he accepted the position of DPO and Trustee for the charity.

Fred monitors how we store and use data to ensure we are legally compliant and ethically sound in our approach. This is really important work for Sanctuary in Chichester, because of the vulnerability of the people we support, as well as the need to protect our volunteers, staff, donors and supporters.

Gemma Driver – Secretary to the Board

Gemma works in the international development and humanitarian aid sector and first approached Sanctuary in Chichester to volunteer with us in early 2019. She was offered a paid role and worked for the organisation for three and a half years, until leaving her position as Development & Communications Manager in December 2022.

Gemma says, “I was delighted to be invited to join the Board when I left my previous role – it is an honour to join the other trustees whose skills and hard work I admire so much, and who work so well as a team. I am also really pleased to be able to continue my involvement with this fantastic charity. It is so rewarding and such a privilege working directly with the people we support and with our awesome team of dedicated volunteers.


Steve Lebbon – Charity Manager

Steve joined us in May 2022 to help with the ever-expanding number of refugees we support, and to coordinate operations and our large team of 120+ volunteers. He was promoted to the position of Charity Manager in January 2023.

Before joining Sanctuary in Chichester, Steve worked for 20 years as Transport Manager with a national aggregate company, where he looked after the legality of the trucks and drivers and the coordination of deliveries for over 100 trucks. Steve also has experience in management of building and road construction projects.

Over the last 40 years, Steve has helped coordinate and arrange numerous fundraising events for local charities. He says that, “Since working for Sanctuary in Chichester I have grown to realise the tremendous amount of good work everyone involved carries out. It is always pleasing to help somebody in desperate need solve something, either on your own, or with the amazing backup from other team members, trustees or volunteers who have been very supportive in helping me negotiate the complexities of a new and challenging job.

Kerry Foster – Pathways to Independence Manager

After finishing college with an interest in broadening her understanding of developing countries, Kerry embarked upon an expedition to Indonesia in 1998 to support a community with the challenges of illegal deforestation. Three years later, she completed a BSc in Criminology/Sociology whilst working as a Special Constable with Thames Valley Police, and then went on to work as Police Staff for Hampshire Police Headquarters. Kerry said, “My experiences with the Police and travelling abroad – including living and teaching English as a Foreign Language in Thailand – enlightened me to the inequalities and challenges that people have to face for a multitude of reasons; whether that is the political climate and civil unrest or conflict, racism, poverty, lack of education, training and employment opportunities or other combinations of unfortunate circumstances which have left people unable to live a positive and prosperous life.  I have since worked passionately to help people achieve their full potential, including seveen years working in the Youth Offending Service with young people who had offended and then as Operations Manager working for a charity diverting young people from offending or reoffending. I then spent fours years as a Team and Operations Manager, supporting staff working with children with significant behavioural problems stemming from severe trauma.

Kerry says she was drawn to Sanctuary in Chichester after seeing the good work that is being done to support refugees and asylum seekers that have suffered unimaginable experiences and trauma, displaced from their homes and finding themselves in an unfamiliar environment with all the challenges that come from being in a foreign country.  “I am delighted and feel honoured to be part of Sanctuary in Chichester, to lead the Pathways to Independence programme and support beneficiaries to fulfil their potential; reinstate their sense of dignity and pride whilst supporting their integration into the very welcoming community of Chichester.

Fern Daniel – Volunteer Coordinator

Fern was recently brought on board as part of the charity’s response to the increase in refugees and asylum seekers living locally. Prior to becoming one of our volunteer coordinators, Fern volunteered as a befriender for one of the families we support, a role which she found extremely rewarding and fulfilling and led to her wanting to ensure others have similar experiences of volunteering with Sanctuary in Chichester. “Helping people, who often struggle to express themselves in English, to feel seen and safe from a trauma-informed perspective is a crucial part of befriending work that makes volunteering so worthwhile“, says Fern. “Helping with practical tasks and advocacy are also important aspects of supporting people to gain independence and live happy and fulfilled lives here“. Fern believes that identifying the right volunteer for the right role, and making sure they feel valued and supported, are essential to them having a positive volunteering experience.

Fern’s previous experience as a Birth & Postnatal Doula included supporting refugee women, victims of torture and women in refuges through various charities and other organisations. She established a successful mother and baby group in London for a leading vulnerable women’s charity, and has helped run peer support groups in women’s prisons.


Sanctuary in Chichester is a CIO (Charitable Incorporated Organisation) registered with the Charity Commission. The Board of Trustees have independent control over, and legal responsibility for, the charity’s management and administration. Trustees have overall control of the charity and are responsible for making sure it’s doing what it was set up to do. Trustees are the people who lead the charity and decide how it is run. Being a trustee means making decisions that will impact on people’s lives. Trustees use their skills and experience to support their charities, helping charities achieve their aims. Trustees also often learn new skills during their time on the board. – Charity Commission UK.

Sanctuary in Chichester’s Constitution describes the functions and
duties of trustees as:

The charity trustees shall manage the affairs of the CIO and may for that purpose
exercise all the powers of the CIO. It is the duty of each charity trustee:

(a) to exercise their powers and to perform their functions as a trustee of the CIO in the way they decide in good faith would be most likely to further the purposes of the CIO; and

(b) to exercise, in the performance of those functions, such care and skill as is reasonable in the circumstances having regard in particular to:

i. any special knowledge or experience that they have or hold themselves out as having; and

ii. if they act as a charity trustee of the CIO in the course of a business or profession, to any special knowledge or experience that it is reasonable to expect of a person acting in the course of that kind of business or profession.