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Meet our team

Our team of Bright Sparks manage all aspects of Spark Somerset’s offer, from the every day running of the organisation to facilitating the wide array of work we undertake and support we provide.

Katherine Nolan


Katherine has worked in the charity sector for many years, specialising in fundraising, communications and development. She has worked for a range of causes including learning disability and social care, before becoming Head of Communications for a national education charity. Over the years, she has also held various volunteering roles, including Chair of her local Pre-School.

Sharon Hale

Head of Voluntary Sector Development

Sharon oversees the work of those in the organisation who provide infrastructure support to the sector, particularly around governance, funding and training, seeking out new opportunities to widen the scope of our offer. In her spare time, Sharon enjoys running, live music and taking part in her local book club.

Nina Hurst-Jones

Head of Operations

Nina oversees the operational activities of the organisation, alongside strategic planning, creating and implementing effective and efficient policies and procedures. Outside of work, she enjoys walks, beach days, bike rides, swimming, and a good pub lunch.

Ruth Cuthbert

Head of Finance

Ruth ensures the financial sustainability, compliance, accurate reporting and oversight of risk management of the organisation. When not at work, she enjoys walking, going to the gym and attending auctions.

Cindy Furse

VCFSE & Public Partnerships Lead

Cindy advocates for and supports the integration of the VCFSE sector within public services, and facilitates the VCFSE Dementia Alliance. Outside of her role, Cindy likes walking, reading, camping, and getting involved with community events.

Sara Iles

VCFSE Partnerships Manager

Sara facilitates networks of voluntary, community and charitable groups who support Somerset communities, such as the Somerset Mental Health Network, helping them with strategic and tactical thinking, and planning training. Outside of work, Sara enjoys walking, wild swimming, laughing and dancing.

Jenny Hannis

Community Development & Advice Manager

Jenny leads the Community Development and Engagement team, supporting groups and organisations to be more sustainable by providing advice and guidance. She also helps develop and deliver specific projects and curates our training programme. Outside of work, Jenny enjoys spending time with her young family, volunteering as a school governor, and all things outdoors.

Karen Leafe

Community Development & Engagemant Advisor (Mendip)

Karen offers guidance, advice and expertise to non-profits in Mendip that want to make a difference in their community. From guidance with governance structure to policy development and funding strategies, Karen is on hand when the going gets tough! Outside of work, you'll find Karen exploring the beautiful country with her husband and their dog Freo.

Laura Bazley

Volunteer Development Coordinator

Laura works to increase the diversity and quantity of volunteering across Somerset by growing engagement with our digital volunteering platform, Spark a Change, and handling requests from community groups and potential volunteers. She is also a keen walker, enjoys being out in the forest or by the coast, and likes to unwind by making her own jewellery.

Leonie Cole

Safeguarding Coordinator

Leonie is our Safeguarding Coordinator and supports VCFSE groups as they develop their policies and procedures. She also handles DBS checks so organisations can recruit volunteers and paid staff safely. Away from the office, Leonie enjoys yoga, reading, and live music.

Andy Ralston

CRM & Digital Executive

Andy manages and maintains the digital elements of the organisation, from the Spark a Change website to helping to create visual content for our social media platforms. He is passionate about the arts, and enjoys visiting galleries and museums across the country when he can.

Anne Lambert

Finance Officer

Anne works closely with our Finance and Operations Lead, handling the day-to-day finances for the charity, undertaking general bookkeeping, processing staff and volunteer expense claims and payroll. Outside of work, Anne enjoys being outside in nature and with animals.

Lindsey Brown

Communications & Marketing Lead

Lindsey leads on communications and marketing, shaping and delivering our communications strategy, ensuring that our activity is planned and coordinated and that the voice of the Somerset voluntary and community sector is at the heart of all we do. When she's not at work, Lindsey loves spending time outdoors, walking, swimming and gardening.

Kerry Wills

Communications Officer

Kerry manages our internal and external communications, including our website, social media channels and newsletters, helping to ensure our messaging is consistent and on brand across all our communications channels. Outside of her role as Communications Officer, Kerry enjoys listening to live music and walking in the countryside.

Bryony Mounter

Events & Marketing Administrator

Bryony provides administrative support for the planning and execution of our training and forums. She also supports our communication and marketing activity and helps to produce promotional materials. When not at work, Bryony enjoys baking, knitting, writing, and anything that involves high fantasy or a head-scratching murder-mystery.

Val Keeble

Community Engagement Worker, Open Mental Health

Val gets out and about in Mendip communities, linking up with groups and organisations to talk about Open Mental Health. In her free time, she enjoys crafting with fibres and textiles, and dabbling in sketching and painting.

Tash Scully

Director, Somerset Youth Work Alliance

Tash helps the Somerset Youth Work Alliance to deliver its key priorities; enhancing opportunities for young people through the provision of high-quality youth work, building a strong and sustainable youth work workforce in the county, and creating positive partnerships. In her free time, Tash enjoys going to the beach, DIY and upcycling furniture.

Hannah Snowdon

Youth Work Development Lead, Somerset Youth Work Alliance

Hannah supports existing members of the Somerset Youth Work Alliance with training and development, as well as working with smaller youth work providers in the county to help amplify their voice. In her free time, Hannah enjoys baking, cooking and paper crafting, and exploring the Somerset countryside with her family.

Penny Schofield

Project Manager, Reflect, Recover, Renew

Following on from the Reflect, Recover, Renew research, Penny works with a wide range of VCFSE organisations through Task and Finish groups, exploring how to build the resilience and sustainability of the sector going forward. When not at work, Penny enjoys cooking, reading, walks by the sea, and attending as many arts and crafts courses as she can.

Siobhan Wilson

Digital Development Worker

Siobhan leads our digital inclusion project, Spark iT, ensuring that the digitally excluded across the county have access to devices, as well as support and advice getting online. She has many years of experience in various sectors, including Campaign Manager in an advertising agency, Parliamentary Researcher and Manager of Somerset Film.

Emily Rushton

Project Officer, Spark iT

Emily helps triage the Spark iT referrals, putting clients in touch with Digital Champions for 1:1 help, organising device loans, and writing social prescriptions to our network of Spark iT Digital Cafés. Out of work, Emily enjoys bee-keeping, crafting, driving classic cars, and spending time with her husband and their rescue cat, Barnato.

Katie Mooney

Community Connector Coordinator

Katie helps to build on ‘Connector’ training in the county, making sure communities have knowledge on a subject that can be passed on to friends, families and neighbours when needed. When not at work, Katie enjoys spending time with her young family, playing in parks or walking in the woods. She also enjoys attending festivals.

Dr. Olly Clabburn

Research Manager

Olly is an experienced social researcher, and has worked for us previously as lead for the Reflect, Recover, Renew project in 2022. He joins us now as our Research Manager, supporting a partnership project with Public Health and working with our colleagues to look at how we can support the development of a research culture within the Somerset VCFSE.

Got a question for our team?

We would love to hear from you!

Get in touch
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We are driven by our values

They are the ideas and beliefs that unite and motivate us and that we aspire to embody through our work.

Whether we’re hosting training and networking events, providing 1:1 support to groups, publishing regular newsletters, or matching people with causes that matter to them, our values are embedded in all we do.

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Our Trustees

Our dedicated Board of Trustees have overall responsibility for the management of the charity. They have wide-ranging professional experience in a number of relevant areas including finance, strategy, social work, health, and the voluntary sector.

Grahame Paine

Chair of Trustees

Grahame is a member of the Somerset Integrated Care Board and has a career spanning health and social care, education, consulting and financial services. He has experience of influencing high-level strategies that drive change and nudging boards toward their strategic aims.

Emily Taylor

Vice Chair

Emily is a Strategic Engagement Officer with National Grid, and has previous experience in Communications within the NHS, bringing a strong understanding of the vital role that VCFSE organisations play in health and wellbeing to our Board. She is passionate about ensuring that the VCFSE sector is recognised within the Integrated Care System.

Tory Offord


Tory qualified as a Chartered Accountant in practice, but has found being in the centre of industry organisations working from a commercial perspective is where she's thrived. She has set up her own Coaching business, and loves to use her Accountancy skills to support the VCFSE sector.

Stephen Woollett

Steve is a Director of Clarity CIC, providing consultancy for social purpose organisations across the South West. Steve has worked with and in the voluntary sector throughout his career at all levels, including seventeen years as Chief Executive of the South West Forum. Steve hopes he can help us with our strategic planning and impact reporting.

Melanie Merrill

Mel is the Senior Volunteering Operations and Support Manager at Macmillan Cancer Support. She brings a wealth of experience in supporting voluntary organisations, is passionate about volunteering and helping others to create an environment where people are welcomed, inspired and supported to make a positive difference.

Ian Bramley

Ian came to Somerset and qualified as a nurse in 1985. He spent 33 years in the NHS working in various roles including leading and developing people and services, commissioning education, and in senior leadership. Ian is passionate about helping people to find their voice and since retiring, has worked and volunteered for several charities supporting vulnerable people in the local community.

Debra Drew

Debra has experience of working in the private, public and voluntary sectors and has held roles relating the arts, as well as digital marketing. She currently works as a Safeguarding Officer for Crispin School in Street, and has served as a member of her local Parish Council from 2019 to 2022. Debra also holds a graduate membership of the British Psychological Society.

Our current vacancies

Would you like to join us in sparking a brighter future for Somerset? Explore our current vacancies below.

Volunteer with us

We’re looking for volunteers to support a range of projects and initiatives here at Spark Somerset. Visit the Spark a Change website to find out more.

Find out more
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