Who we are

“At its heart, Z2K is, simply, people passionate about other people”
Z2K was founded in the 1990s by the late Reverend Paul Nicolson and a small group of volunteers who were deeply concerned about the impact of the Thatcher Government’s ‘poll tax’ – a fixed payment from every adult, regardless of their income or circumstances. We were formed as a charity in 2000 and registered on the Charity Commission in 2005.

Today we continue to hold true to our founding principles, challenging injustices in the Social Security benefits and housing systems. We believe that adequate, stable income and housing are key to creating a more equal society where everyone has the chance of a stable and dignified life. 

Our team

Alison
Inker

Fundraising
Assistant

Alison joined Z2K in December 2022 in the new role of Fundraising Assistant which works closely with the Fundraising Manager to secure income from all streams to help deliver on Z2K’s fundraising priorities. She previously worked in a small food redistribution charity where she was responsible for fundraising, communications and administration. Before this, Alison studied Politics at the University of Brighton. She is enthusiastic about supporting Samantha in obtaining funding for Z2K to fight for a fairer welfare system based on the lived experience of those facing poverty.

Anela
Anwar

Chief
Executive (CEO)

Anela joined as Chief Executive in June 2020 and is responsible for driving forward Z2K’s strategy to address poverty in London caused by unfairness in the legal, social security & housing systems. Anela was previously Head of Programmes and Partnerships at Oxfam GB, where she worked to bring about transformational change for people facing poverty and inequality in Britain. Before that, Anela headed up Roshni – a dynamic charity working to improve the lives of black, minority ethnic and refugee communities in Scotland.

Anela graduated with an honours degree in Law, after which she worked in the third sector on a diverse range of issues such as violence against women and girls, community development and youth empowerment and participation. She is a dedicated intersectional feminist and is passionate about ensuring experts by experience are at the heart of decision-making.

Anela is also the Convenor of the Poverty Alliance, a Board Member of the Scottish Children’s Reporter Administration, and holds membership of the Greater Manchester Poverty Action Advisory Group.

Ayla
Ozmen

Director of
Policy & Campaigns

Ayla joined Z2K in May 2023 as Director of Policy and Campaigns. She was previously Head of Policy at RNID and has worked in the charity sector for over 10 years, specialising in research, policy, public affairs and campaigns, for charities including Save the Children, the British Heart Foundation and the National Autistic Society.

Before working in the voluntary sector, Ayla worked as Parliamentary Assistant to the Shadow Equalities Minister and before that, the MP for West Ham. Ayla is also a Director and Trustee at London based charity, Imece, working to prevent violence against BAME women and girls. Ayla is passionate about creating positive social change and making sure people with lived experience help shape policies that affect them. 

Cansu
Kurnaz

Caseworker

Cansu joined Z2K in July 2023 as a welfare benefits caseworker. Cansu provides welfare benefits advice, advocacy support, and representation for clients at tribunals for Personal Independence Payment, Universal Credit, and Work Capability Assessments. She previously worked as a housing and benefits caseworker at a DDPO in Islington. She was responsible for housing advice, rehousing applications, challenging medical priority decisions for rehousing, benefit appeals, and disrepair cases for Deaf and/or disabled service users. Before this, Cansu studied Psychology with Cognitive Neuroscience at Goldsmiths University. She is currently completing her master’s in Social and Public policy at the University of York. 

Edward
Freeman

Senior
Caseworker

Edward joined Z2K in October 2022. He has worked in advice centres across London, specialising in welfare benefits representation for the last five years. Previously he worked as a housing advisor for St Mungo’s in prisons, and supported homeless clients with alcohol and drug misuse in Lambeth.

Edward
Graham

Director of Advice Services

Edward Graham is Director of Advice Services at Z2K. He has over 25 years’ experience in the advice sector starting out as an advice worker and moving on to lead advice teams at CPAG, Carers UK, Independent Age, and the London Irish Centre.  

Evangeline
Knapman

Campaigns
Officer

Evangeline joined Z2K in September 2023 as Campaigns Officer. She delivers nationwide campaigns and manages Z2K’s supporter community, working closely with partner organisations and people with direct experience of poverty and the welfare system.

Evangeline was previously part of the communications team at the Centre for Ageing Better, and has volunteered for refugee charities for the past four years. She is committed to working intersectionally and expanding the role of experts by experience. Evangeline’s passion for social justice was cemented during her MA in Human Rights at the University of Sussex.

Zoë
Adkin

Casework
Manager

Zoë first joined the team as a volunteer in 2014 before becoming a paid member of staff in March 2015. Zoe has a particular interest in tribunal representation and achieving successful outcomes on behalf of our clients. She also enjoys working with volunteers.

Gaurika
Chopra

Casework
Assistant

Gaurika joined Z2K in September 2023 as a Casework Assistant while studying for her LLB Law in Practice degree at Queen Mary University of London. At Z2K, she assists clients and supports the casework team with various legal tasks.

Before joining law school, Gaurika completed a degree in International Relations, which sparked her interest in human rights and social justice. Over the past two years, she has been volunteering at legal advice centres across London. Gaurika’s goal is to become a human rights lawyer, blending her legal skills with a passion for making a difference.

Jamie
Thunder

Senior Policy Advisor

Jamie joined Z2K’s policy and campaigns team in July 2022. Prior to this, he worked as a debt adviser and caseworker in at charities in London, where he saw first-hand the impact of the welfare system and poverty on people’s lives. He has also previously held policy roles at organisations in the public, private and third sector. In his spare time, he enjoys running, reading, and cryptic crosswords

Liam
Casey

Pro Bono Project Manager

Liam joined Z2K as Pro Bono Projects Manager in November 2022. He provides strategy and oversight to our pro bono appeals and form filling work.  

Liam has worked as a welfare rights advisor and session supervisor with Citizens Advice in Glasgow and London, and most recently at One Parent Families Scotland in Glasgow. He also delivers training and second-tier advice to the welfare rights sector through organisations including Benefits and Work, Benefits Training Company, and Child Poverty Action Group. Liam previously worked with Pro Bono Community to set up and manage a disability benefits advice clinic, delivered remotely to vulnerable claimants during the coronavirus pandemic. Liam is passionate about empowering others to understand welfare benefits law and to fight for better social security for all.

Razwan
Ahmed

Generalist caseworker

Razwan joined Z2K in 2023 as a generalist caseworker advising and supporting clients with welfare benefit and housing cases. He has worked as a generalist adviser at several charities across London prior to joining Z2K, covering a plethora of enquiry areas. He is passionate about the work Z2K do to tackle poverty and widen access to justice.

Samantha
Evans

Fundraising
Manager

Samantha manages Z2K’s fundraising and also works to improve the charity’s communications. She joined the team in January 2019 and previously fundraised for organisations such as Help Counselling, Borderline and Crisis and has also obtained the Certificate in Fundraising. Samantha is extremely passionate about growing the charity so that everyone in London has the income, housing and support they need to live a stable, dignified life.

Samuel
Thomas

Senior
Caseworker

Sam oversees the casework team at Z2K and provides support to the director of advice services. Prior to joining Z2K, Sam was based in Glasgow and worked as a senior housing adviser at Shelter Scotland where he advised and advocated for people experiencing homelessness and poor housing. Before that, Sam worked at Citizens Advice Bureau, working with people facing eviction and providing advice on universal credit. Sam is passionate about using the insights gained through casework to drive policy changes.

Sharon
Bawa

Pro Bono Project Coordinator

Sharon joined Z2K in March 2022 as the Pro-bono Project Co-ordinator and is responsible for overseeing the project with our law firms’ and universities. After graduating with a Law and Criminal justice degree, Sharon worked in the court within the Family and criminal team. Whilst studying, she volunteered for Hope into Action which tackles homelessness within communities. Sharon is passionate about work that supports vulnerable members of society and aims to protect them.

Sheila
Holder

Housing
Caseworker

Sheila joined Z2K in October 2021 after six years with Duncan Lewis Solicitors housing team completing the trainee solicitor programme.  Sheila has experience of housing cases including homelessness, allocations, disrepair, and possession. She has previously worked for non- for-profit organisations, including Citizen’s advice Bureau and Independent Age providing advice and information to clients on housing matters. Sheila likes reading and is a fan of Formula One. 

Vaidehi
Dhavde

Casework
Assistant

Vaidehi joined Z2K this year as a casework assistant supporting the Pro Bono Project and the casework team. Prior to this, she was a tutor on the National Tutoring Programme, working with students who were struggling as a result of the disruption caused by the pandemic. Before this, Vaidehi studied Law at UCL and is committed to Z2K’s work towards widening access to justice.

Sharon Roberts

business support officer

Sharon joined Z2k in April 2024 in the new role of Business Support Officer. Having previously worked in both the private and charity sector she comes with a wealth of experience in operations, communicating collaboratively across teams and with external stakeholders. Sharon’s previous role was as Office Manager with Young Women’s Trust where she was responsible for a wide range of tasks across HR, Governance, Finance and Operations. Sharon also has extensive experience in mental health and is a qualified integrative counsellor.

Having had experience of homelessness Sharon is excited to be supporting a team striving towards making life better for those struggling with poverty whilst navigating complex benefit and housing systems.

Founder Patrons

1996 – 2000

The Rt. Rev. Lord Runcie

1996 – 2009

Sir John Mortimer CBE QC

Patrons

Our Trustees

Emeka is a strategy consultant specialising in public affairs and communications. He currently works for WA Communications, supporting clients in higher education, children’s social care and financial services. He also sits on the board of Room to Heal — a charity supporting victims of human rights abuses — and helps to lead the award-winning campaign group, #CharitySoWhite.

He previously worked for Barnardo’s, providing in-house policy and public affairs support, and for a leading global public affairs agency with clients including Google DeepMind and AstraZeneca. He holds a degree in Politics and a master’s in Social Anthropology and International Development from Birkbeck, University of London.

Carol has built her career over 25 years in the Charity Sector. Her work started as a volunteer in Citizens Advice specialising in Welfare Benefits and Financial Capability. Her work also involved representing clients at Tribunal and then moving into Management. She is passionate about making a difference and consistently champions issue’s that impact society. Carol is also a qualified (PTTLS) Freelance Trainer, delivering specialist courses to various charities across the UK.

Robin is Professor of Accounting at Brunel University. He has been awarded the British Accounting and Finance Association (BAFA) Lifetime Achievement Award for his contributions to the advancement of accounting and finance to the academic community. Currently, he is the Special Adviser to European Federation of Accountants and Auditors (EFAA). Robin was a member of the International Accounting Standards Board’s (IASB) group in the development of IFRS for SMEs followed by membership of the IASB’s SME Implementation Group. For 11 years he was as a member of European Financial Reporting Advisory Group’s (EFRAG) Supervisory Board and Research and Policy Committee. He is Director of the Registry Trust Ltd, which he chairs the Audit and Risk Management Committee, a board member of the Genesis Initiative and a member of the team at the Financial Inclusion Centre. In recent years Robin has researched and written on personal indebtedness. In the summer of 2021 he chaired a Peer Review of the Money and Pensions Service (MaPS) recommendations on the measuring of the need for debt advice.

Over the past 25 years Siobhán has served as trustee, diocesan president and on numerous national committees for the St Vincent de Paul Society, a charity that makes around 600,000 visits to people in need throughout England and Wales and runs a national homeless pack project which she started in 2010. She is a trustee and national president elect of the Catholic Women’s League, is on the executive team for Taxpayers Against Poverty and has started a variety of organisations to support refugees and serve her local community.

Alex is a BAFTA nominated actor, best known for his role as Neil’s Dad in the Channel 4 comedy The Inbetweeners, and Julius Nicholson in the BBC’s The Thick Of It. He studied English at Durham University and International Relations at Pembroke College, Cambridge, before qualifying as a Barrister at the Middle Temple in London. In 2018 he was elected by the Inn as a Master of The Bench.

Helen has been a civil servant and worked in the Children’s voluntary sector. She was the MP for Bishop Auckland and the Government Minister who put the Child Poverty Act onto the statute book. She is very knowledgeable about the social security system. She is also involved in work on carbon-free energy at Durham University, where she is a Professor in Practice.

Lindsay Judge is an experienced researcher with a background in economics and law. She is currently Research Director at the Resolution Foundation where she leads the organisation’s work on housing, labour market rights and lived experience. Prior to joining Resolution Foundation Lindsay worked for the Social Mobility Commission, Child Poverty Action Group, the World Bank and Oxfam. She has an expert knowledge of the UK social security system and a strong personal commitment to giving voice to those living in poverty. Having worked in and with a very wide range of organisations over the course of her career, Lindsay is adept at marshalling evidence to achieve policy impact.

Lizzie has a background in social policy and a decade of experience in the charity sector, including at MS Society, BookTrust and The Reader. She is currently part of the small team behind Co-Production Collective at University College London, a community dedicated to supporting co-production across research, policy and services. Facilitating connections and effective relationships across sectors, settings and place is at core of her work, enabling those with different forms of lived and learned experience to work in partnership and achieve more meaningful outcomes together.

Juliana is a strategic and behaviour change communications professional with more than 15-years of B2C (business-to-consumer) and B2B (business-to-business) experience gained across sectors. She is currently the Head of Public Affairs Marcomms at Ipsos in the UK but also comes with a wealth of knowledge in marketing, communications and campaigns in charity, government and regulatory services, as well as adverting and media agencies.

Give a single gift

A single donation, big or small, can transform someone’s life by helping them access their rights and entitlements when they need it most

Give a regular gift

Your regular monthly gift can help someone to understand and defend their rights and entitlements, at the most difficult time in their life

Volunteer - Pro Bono

Our dedicated volunteer lawyers share their time and expertise on our Tribunal Project, so that individuals can access their benefits they have been wrongly denied