Meet the team

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Mara Forana

Project Lead/Specialist Caseworker

Mara has been in housing for 41 years. Having started out as a Housing Officer with a Housing Association. She has experience of working with offenders, mental health clients and assisting those who are homeless.

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Deepa Bhogal

Volunteer Coordinator

Deepa was a volunteer at SHARP from 2019 and went on to become the administrator. Deepa is able to give guidance on most housing problems and has extensive knowledge of helping with securing private rented accommodation. In 2023 Deepa was promoted to become our new Volunteer Coordinator.

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Yasin Koya

Administrator

Yasin joined SHARP in January 2024. He has many years of experience working in customer services for a wide variety of organisations.

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David Brazier

Executive Advisor to the Board of Trustees

Dave now works mainly on SHARP’s Finances and on the running of the Leicester Social Economy Consortium (LSEC) Ltd. LSEC is an associated company of SHARP.

Board of Trustees

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Frazer Robson

“I am a town planner and worked for over 30 years at Leicester City Council largely in planning and regeneration work. I have been involved with SHARP since the early 1980’s and am currently Chair of the Trustee Board. I am also a representative of SHARP on the Board of the Leicester Social Economy Consortium – the social enterprise which supports SHARP.”

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Margaret Robinson

"I am a very recently retired solicitor who built my own practice in Leicester from 1977 with my late husband dealing finally with care proceedings , representing children and parents. The issues raised in the queries to this organisation are issues that I have encountered over the years and remain matters of importance to me . I continue to live in Leicester and am aware of its housing difficulties."

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Dr Laura Hancox

“I am a Clinical Psychologist working part-time in Leicester and also part-time at the University of Nottingham. I joined the Trustee Board of SHARP at the end of 2022, but initially became involved with SHARP when I started working for Leicester’s Homeless Mental Health Service earlier that year.

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Andy Morley

“I was born in Leicester and know the City well. I have been a SHARP Board Member for 6 years and as my background is in Finance, I am the Honorary Treasurer. After leaving Keele University with a degree in Philosophy and English, I joined the NHS and qualified as an accountant while working for the Leicestershire Health Authority. The rest of my career was spent working for Leicester City Council, with a variety of different roles and responsibilities.”

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Kaseem Chaudry

"I started my career as a caseworker with SHARP twenty years ago! Since then I've worked in the voluntary sector and have extensive experience in mental health. I am an Integrative psychotherapist and clinical lead for The Olive Trust.

I joined SHARP as a trustee in 2019 and enjoy being part of a team that continues to provide a much needed service in the locality. "
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Ned Vindhani

Junaid ‘Ned’ Vindhani is an IT Consultant. Ned comes from Leicester. Ned writes computer code. He is a graduate of De Montfort University and he worked for many years at NEXT Plc.

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Jane Wilson

“I began my career working for the Housing Corporation assessing  the need and viability of housing association scheme proposals. I then went on to work for a number of local authorities and a national housing association focusing on housing needs research and housing development and management before a move into community development and community safety work in Leicestershire and Northamptonshire. This involved a whole range of partnership working with various agencies to resource a range of projects focusing on domestic abuse, anti-social behaviour and crime reduction.”

Our Journey

Shelter Housing Advice and Research Project (SHARP) was setup in the early 1970’s by a group of volunteers who were deeply concerned about poor housing and homelessness and wanted to do something for local people who were suffering from bad conditions.

Until the mid-1990s SHARP relied upon a small number of annual grants – from national Shelter, Leicester City Council and the then Department of the Environment – to fund most of its housing advice work, although local fundraising remained important. From 2000 onwards these grants were steadily reduced in real terms. By 2007 they were no more.

At present, SHARP receives income via a grant from the National Lottery Community Fund, and currently we’re receiving funding from the Carlton Hayes Charitable Trust to pay for our Mental Health Support Worker. SHARP also receives funds from the Leicester Social Economy Consortium Limited a property development and management company, that operates as SHARP’s trading arm. This funding allows us to employ a small number of staff and to recruit and train volunteers who then help to deliver the services which we provide.

In addition, SHARP receives support from a number of trusts, foundations and other organisations together with donations from the general public. We are immensely grateful for the support we receive. Without this, we could not provide the services we do. However, the demand for our services continue to grow.