Community Leader Spotlight: Michelle Dornelly

Article written by
March 28, 2023

Did you know that we work with lots of local community groups?

We take immense pride in collaborating with these organisations that carry out essential work in Hackney and beyond and the relationships we've established with them are something we hold in high regard. That's why we wanted to take a moment to introduce you to some of the exceptional individuals who inspire and lead these organisations we have the privilege of working with. First on our list is Michelle Dornelly, an outstanding leader who is the Co-founder & CEO of Children With Voices & community food hub.

What does your organisation do? And what are the main things it aims to address? 

As I raised my children, I found myself constantly fighting for them to have the opportunities they deserve within the Hackney community. There was a serious lack of equity within the community compared to other areas of the country; so I set up the charity to support people who face similar challenges in society such as poverty, the devastating effects of gang crime and childhood obesity. Children With Voices has the following aims:

1. Promote inclusion and equity

2. Help prevent childhood obesity

3. Tackling post code wars 

4. Holiday hunger 

5. Food education and food facts 

6. Wellbeing, mental health and keeping fit and healthy

7. Teaching basic life skills 

8. Providing opportunities to be able to express yourself in a safe environment. 

 In April 2020 I launched The Hackney Community Food Hub which has helped feed over 100,000 families. The food Hub also helps combat isolation and spread awareness by running clothing and elderly warm events within the community.  We also promote discussion around food issues and are advocates for expired and best before dates. We encourage the uptake of a healthy diet and parents get involved with wellbeing events too.

What is your favourite part of what you do? 

I thrive on being in the midst of the day to day running of the charity and organising it’s operations so that we can help as many people as possible.  This enables me to listen and talk about what is happening in our community.  Where there are problems identified, we work together to try to find solutions.  I also like to work with young people and children on projects for our Jumping Beans program. These people are our future and helping them get the best start in life that they can have is very important to me as a mother myself. I see the potential of our children and young people as they grow.  We also have an amazing family of volunteers so I also meet other people who are not necessarily actually living in the Hackney community.

What is your proudest moment in your community work?

Working with young children and writing projects for our Jumping Beans child care service has made a real difference and I am proud of the way the community responds to this. We also recently secured long term premises to bring our community greater support.  This is a great milestone and is recognition that the journey we are on is very important.

Lastly, How can people support you?

There are many ways to support us. We are always looking for volunteers for our operations and social media topics, people can sign up and become a volunteer by emailing  People can help with fundraising and donate to our GoFundMe page. Our website and social media, such as instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, provide regular updates and support. 

We always need people or organisations to help share our information to those who need our service.

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