Andrea Cleaver, CEO

If I had to flee, what type of welcome would I hope for?

This guiding thought is why I am driven to provide a more welcoming environment where sanctuary seekers can flourish and have the same opportunities as you or I.

I feel immensely proud of our work at the Welsh Refugee Council and our role as a thought leader in delivering change.   I am passionate about human rights, equity, inclusion, and justice.   Because that “what if it was me?” question needs an answer.

Over the last few years, we have grown and adapted our services further to meet emerging needs. Our dedicated team of around 40 staff supports sanctuary seekers across Wales. Our agile size and lived experience insights give us a unique position in being both within the heart of the communities we serve and one with a seat at the strategic table on UK matters.


Andrea has over 24 years of experience supporting communities across Wales and the UK.

A route into Welsh Government in the early 2000s Andrea worked on programmes such as the Homelessness Grant programme, before joining The National Lottery Community Fund for a 10-year period to support projects across health, environment, education, and poverty. During this time Andrea supported hundreds of charities with business planning, led on stakeholder engagement, and facilitated working groups to gather insights to develop future programmes.

Andrea has held several strategic roles at large complex organisations including Head of Development for the Wales Millennium Centre, Relationship Manager for the Wales Funders Forum, Trustee and Vice-Chair for The Wallich and Development Specialist for Safe Passage.

Andrea serves on several UK forums providing an asylum and refugee perspective. Forums include the Third Sector Partnership Council, Finance and Compliance Sub Committee, Home Office Strategic Engagement Groups, Exec Group of Refugee Coalition, Wales Strategic Migration Partnership, Welsh Government Taskforce, and Community Foundation in Wales Grant Panel.

For her ability to quickly adapt services, develop programmes, grow income, and influencing public life Andrea was named Welsh CEO of the Year in 2022 and has led the organisation to receive the Welsh Charity Award Organisation of the Year 2023.