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On Saturday, our Director Dr. Claire Bonham was awarded an SCC Star of the Year Award by the Small Charities Coalition. This was part of the Appreciation Day celebrations to close Small Charity Week, which aims to recognise and say thank you to all the people working at and supporting small charities throughout the year!

The team at IARS nominated Claire for all her hard work here over the last year. Claire joined IARS in February 2020, with over 15 years’ experience working in the voluntary sector, most recently with the Salvation Army. She was instantly thrown into the deep end, having to figure out how to run a charity she had just joined during the pandemic!

Despite this, Claire has consistently gone above and beyond the call of duty when it comes to looking after her team. Despite the enormous tasks of ensuring that all the day to day operation of the charity runs smoothly, and managing several complex multi-national projects, Claire always manages to make time to check in on everybody and ensure that morale is maintained. Whether it is a phone call, a kind word or her considerate guidance, Claire embodies precisely those qualities that draw people to our sector: empathy, honesty and kindness. 

‘’Claire has been instrumental in the challenging transition that IARS is experiencing. We value her dedication, ability to integrate different viewpoints and creative approach to move the organisation forward’’

Romina, Communications and Outreach Manager


“Claire has created a welcoming environment for diverse people to thrive and be heard.”

Lauren, Communications and Policy Intern


“Claire has been such a fantastic example of who a Director should be. She has created a fantastic working environment where everyone is listened to and welcomed.”

Sophia, User Engagement Coordinator

“Claire is an inspirational, encouraging and supportive leader. She adapts to the team and the work at hand, and has been able to direct us through these uncertain times with confidence and kindness. She has built a team with diverse skills and backgrounds, and she always recognises and rewards our contributions. Her guidance has been so important in shaping my professional career.”    

Maija, User Engagement Lead

“Claire is an exceptionally supportive and down-to-earth Manager, very committed and engaged in all aspects of the organisation and beyond, and has been working super hard to get IARS, and everyone part of IARS, to excel to their fullest.”

Sophie, Project Associate

“Great leaders don’t set out to be a leader, they set out to make a difference and Claire has done just that. With words of encouragement and support, Claire has led the IARS team to be better and to do better not only within the community but as an organization on the whole. It is thanks to Claire that we stand strongly against all the challenges that we’ve faced this year due to the pandemic. She’s our leader not because she chose the role and executes it so well, but because she sticks to her mission and upholds the values and integrity that is vital for this line of work.”

Desirée, Programmes Manager