Staff Members

Steven Smith MBE, Chief Executive

Steven Smith

Steve Smith has been CEO of IRT since May 2016. Prior to joining IRT, Steve was, for four years, CEO of Action on Armed Violence (AOAV) – a UK-based, international NGO, with the mission of reducing the global incidence and impact of armed violence. Here, he oversaw programmes in Burundi, Sierra Leone, Western Sahara, Liberia and DRC, while conducting advocacy work with major institutions, such as the UN, World Customs Organisation and British Houses of Parliament.

Steve came to AOAV from a military background, which saw him serve on operations in Northern Ireland, Kosovo, Iraq and several other unstable regions. He therefore brings a broad spectrum of operational experience to IRT, having seen first hand, the awful plight facing many in the developing world.


⇒You can get in touch with Steve via email: [email protected]

Sharon Hewins, Programme Funding Manager

Sharon joined IRT in September 2018. Her background was originally in publishing.  She ran a team of editors, publishing academic journals, where relationships were key and deadlines were crucial. She is responsible for funding the programmes overseas, organising the yearly budget for each of the projects, examining the project reports and maintaining good relations with our overseas partners. She is also responsible for managing the Trusts and Foundations department at IRT. This involves acquiring new grant funding, maintaining current firm funding foundation and providing comprehensive progress reports.

“I feel extremely passionate about working for this charity. IRT is doing remarkable, vital work in improving the lives of refugees, returnees and IDP’s,  I am honoured to be a part of its ongoing success.  The close relationships I have with our project partners and the feedback I receive from them is heart-warming. Thanks to our supporters, the funding we send and the support we give is really making a positive difference”.


⇒You can get in touch with Sharon via email: [email protected]

Jessica Eames, Fundraising Manager

Jessica has extensive knowledge of fundraising in the charity sector. Working in Events and fundraising for such charities as Addaction, Scope, and St Luke’s Hospice. She is responsible for running the Fundraising department at IRT, and looking after our incredible community supporters, corporate partners and major donors.

Jessica is extremely passionate about the humanitarian sector and visits our overseas projects, bringing back news and photos to show our supporters exactly where their fundraising goes.

It’s a huge honour to work for such an important cause. War and conflict have devastated so many lives overseas, causing unbelievable suffering and poverty to innocent families. But IRT are really making a change to people’s lives. Every donation, every bake sale, every sponsored run, is so important to these refugees, and really does save lives”.


⇒If you would like to fundraise for IRT, or become a corporate partner, please email: [email protected]


Flora Barker, Programme Funding Officer

Flora joined as Programme Funding Officer in January 2020 following enthusiastically volunteering with IRT for six months the previous year. She graduated in 2017 from The University of Manchester with a degree in Drama and English Literature and spent time working as a teaching assistant and at an architecture practice, before moving into the charity sector through interning at criminal justice charity User Voice.

She is now thrilled to be assisting Sharon managing trusts and foundations through acquiring new donor funding, maintaining current funding from organisations and providing comprehensive progress reports, as well as assisting with our social media.

“I am so excited to be working amongst such a brilliant team as we work towards providing long-term, sustainable solutions for victims of war and conflict who have been denied the security and safety we take for granted. IRT enable vulnerable refugees to lead fulfilling, independent lives, stopping the cycle of aid reliance and restoring dignity.”


⇒You can contact Flora via email: [email protected]

Philippa Bent, Office and Database Manager

Philippa originally qualified as a teacher and worked in London primary schools for many years, supporting refugees with their acquisition of English. “As someone who moved to London over thirty years ago from West Wales, these years were a real eye-opener for me.  The stories that these children and their families told me were both heart-breaking, and inspiring. I was meant to be teaching them, but they taught me so much too.”

She went on to work in the hospitality sector, managing successful and very busy outlets. This experience has given her a perfect grounding to keep everything running smoothly in the office, ensuring IRT are fully compliant with Data Protection laws, and supporting the staff in their work and wellbeing.

“I love working with our little team and feel proud to be involved in helping so many people in great need. Our work reminds me every day, to be grateful for everything I have in life.”

⇒You can contact Philippa via email: [email protected]