Meet The Team
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.
Shannon Woolman– Mental Health Support Worker
Shannon has an Undergraduate degree in Psychology and is currently completing her Postgraduate degree in Integrative Counselling and Psychotherapy. Shannon’s background is within the voluntary sector in supported housing and mental health services. Shannon provides Mental Health Support to clients at SHARP, including counselling.
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.
David Brazier is the 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
“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.”
“I have been a trustee of SHARP for several years. I have been interested in the issues of homelessness and housing since working for a while with a homelessness charity in London upon first leaving university in the early 1970s. Most of my career was spent managing the regulation of adult and children’s social care services, for Leicestershire Social Services and for Ofsted.”
“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.”
“After a lengthy career in banking, I am now the Executive Operations Manager at the Bridge Homelessness to Hope charity in Leicester. I am responsible for managing the charity’s day to day operations including the fundraising and expanding the day centre services and specialist support services available for the city’s homeless community. I am also a minister at my local church in Leicester and have been a board member for the Sharp (Shelter Housing Advice and Research Project) homeless charity for ten years.”
“I have a background in housing and mental health work and in the past have been a Caseworker at SHARP and a Manager at the Richmond Fellowship. I currently work at the Harmless project in Leicester.”
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.
“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.”
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.