Link Up (UK) is a charity that was set up to combat prejudice, intolerance and discrimination in Britain, which we do by celebrating the benefits of diversity. We want to show that diversity is not only at the heart of what it means to be British (and always has been) but also how this diversity has brought huge benefits both in the past and in the present. Our diverse communities have contributed to and shaped everything that consider to be quintessentially British, from the society we live in, the food we eat, the music we listen to and the traditions we hold dear. We believe in celebrating this shared heritage and focusing on what unites us instead of what divides us.
At Link Up (UK) we are dedicated to combating negative stereotypes, discrimination and false myths. All of these factors can contribute to particular groups feeling threatened, undervalued or misinterpreted which in turn can cause divisions and hostility between groups that are seen as not alike. We believe that it is important to promote awareness and respect for the contribution that different communities have made as well as continually looking for innovative ways to bring
If we link up, if we work together for equality, we can change attitudes, we can build a society where everyone feels they belong.
To build a united society where everyone is valued irrespective of ethnicity, religion, sexuality, disability or any other perceived differences.
The Link Up (UK) Board & Team
Link Up (UK) is governed by an independent Board of Directors:
Dr Jane Clements
Dr Jane Clements is the Founder and Director of the Forum for Discussion of Israel and Palestine (FODIP), an interreligious dialogue organisation which facilitates conversations between faith communities in the UK on this issue. Prior to that, she was Director of Programmes at the Council of Christians and Jews. Jane is a Trustee of the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, and a member of the Anglican Commission to the Chief Rabbinate of Israel.
Anjali is a partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers Legal. She has significant experience in UK and global compliance in the immigration field and is recognised by The Legal 500 as “first class” and “proactive” and profiled in Who’s Who Legal in the corporate immigration field. Anjali has extensive experience in providing strategic advice on immigration governance for international businesses. In terms of policy work, she has contributed to the shaping of the Points Based System and general immigration policy including providing guidance to the Home Office on senior executive exemptions, immigration transfers during corporate restructurings and in relation to the business visitor rules. Anjali is a contributing co-editor of Butterworths Immigration Law Service and also a member of the International Bar Association (IBA) and the Immigration Lawyers Practitioners’ Association. Anjali speaks regularly at international conferences including the annual IBA conference and frequently provides HR legal workshops for clients as well as external advisors on immigration.
Dr Victor Olisa
Victor joined Surrey Police in 1982 straight from university. He worked both in uniform and criminal investigation department up to the rank of Sergeant. He transferred to the City of London Police in 1990 where he worked in various departments and spent three years in the Fraud Squad as a detective inspector in charge of one of the investigative teams. In September 2003 he went on secondment to the Home Office to work on Stop and Search as part of a small team in the Office for Criminal Justice Reform. During the two and a half years at the Home Office the team’s work was influential in developing models for improving the effectiveness of stop and search. In 2005 he was awarded a PhD in Criminology by the London School of Economics. He transferred to the Metropolitan Police Service in April 2006 on promotion to Superintendent and worked in Southwark in a variety of senior management roles. From Oct 2009 to Dec 2010 he led the work on one of the Commissioner’s strategic priorities to deliver safety and confidence to Londoners: Professionalism. In December 2010 he took on responsibility for leading the MPS Stop and Search Team.
Dr Susan Smedley
Susan has worked with charities in both her professional and personal life. This work has including giving advice on funding and obtaining funding. She has also advised on governance matters and the smooth running of charities, and helped arrange events to strengthen communities.
We have a dedicated team of staff, interns and volunteers who together with the support of an Advisory Group make up our core workforce:
Michelle Lawrence – Director
Michelle set up Link Up (UK) in 2010, in order to develop a new approach to dealing with issues of citizenship and belonging.
She started her career in marketing, then moved into the voluntary sector in 1996, first of all working for Centrepoint – the youth homelessness charity – in charge of their corporate and community fundraising team. From this she started working as a consultant, doing capacity building and developing income streams for a number of charities.
Since 2005 the focus for her work has been working on issues around interfaith and citizenship, and before setting up Link Up (UK), she ran a range of initiatives that look at providing innovative solutions to overcome misconceptions and racism towards different groups.
Rianna joined Link Up (UK) in January 2017 and has been working on keeping the charity’s social media platforms up to date and engaging. Having graduated in Multimedia Journalism and Sociology, she saw this role as a great opportunity to merge her skills and interest in social issues together. Rianna is particularly interested in issues that affect women such as body image and how women are presented in the media. As Rianna is also a blogger who covers topics on fashion, music and beauty, she is very digitally aware and essentially believes that diversity should be celebrated across all sectors.
Bahram is a second-generation British-Iranian, born and raised in London. Bahram graduated from the University of Leeds in 2015 with a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology and a Master’s degree in Global Development. He has always had a strong interest in social issues and global issues and since graduating, he has focused on working in the third sector. In early 2016, Bahram volunteered at Quilombo UK, a small charity promoting social cohesion in South West London. Since August 2016, he has been volunteering at Link Up (UK) and has written the charity’s theory of change, conducted research into issues the charity is concerned with, and assisted in the completion of fundraising applications.