In 2002, Shari Brown was appointed as Project Co-ordinator of the Birmingham Churches Together charity RESTORE, which seeks to welcome, befriend and integrate refugees and asylum seekers. Under her leadership, RESTORE’s role and influence within the city have grown exponentially. It now includes three other full-time members of staff and over 100 volunteer befrienders.
Shari has worked tirelessly in regional networking within the refugee charity sector in Birmingham and the West Midlands, sitting on several boards including the Strategic Migration Partnership and The Syrian Partnership Board. Shari was a key player in setting up the Hope Projects, which offer accommodation and subsistence to destitute asylum-seekers, and has been their Chair of Trustees for several years.
She was part of a core group which brought together organisations from across the country to form NACCOM, the No Accommodation Network. She was a founder member of the Birmingham City of Sanctuary movement. She chairs Celebrating Sanctuary which champions refugees’ arts and co-ordinates Refugee Week activities every June. Shari brings a voice from beyond London to the Churches’ Refugee Network.
Alongside her regional and national commitments, Shari still makes time for individuals – listens, empathises and takes action. It is these grass roots connections that empower her to raise awareness and seek policy change.
After 16 years at Restore, Shari moved to Brussels in October 2018 to take up the post of Executive Secretary of the Churches’ Commission for Migrants in Europe, continuing to seek justice for those fleeing persecution and seeking sanctuary. Her contribution in this field has been outstanding.