Our team has a wealth of experience of working in the voluntary sector and are committed to promoting strong and sustainable communities.
Katherine Nolan, Chief Executive
Katherine has worked in the charity sector for many years, specialising in fundraising, communications and development. After studying psychology at University, she had a brief stint working in a bank on Piccadilly Circus before deciding that the charity sector was where she wanted to be. 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 had various volunteering roles, including a trustee of three charities and Chair of her local Pre-School.
Susi Calder, Volunteer Development Manager
Susi has worked with, and helped hundreds of small organisations across the voluntary and private sectors for nearly 20 years. She has worked for national charities, covering the South West, as well as more local organisations in Dorset and Somerset. She is an experienced troubleshooter, jargon translator, problem solver, volunteer manager, and trainer. Susi is a life-long volunteer, supporting peer education, reading in schools, and has previously been a School Governor. She supports a local obstacle course race by recruiting and managing their marshals for race days. She also runs her own troubleshooting consultancy for small businesses.
Leonie Girling, Volunteer Coordinator
Leonie has worked in the voluntary sector for over 10 years. She studied French at the University of Southampton and started work in the private sector - with a bank, and then using her language skills in the Export Department of a local company. She has a Level 2 NVQ in Information and Advice and really enjoys meeting with volunteers and supporting groups around volunteering. She runs the South Somerset Volunteer Coordinator Meetings. She has held several voluntary positions in her local community. In her spare time she likes to get out and about on her bike - which can often include a well earned coffee stop!
Helen Fielden, Volunteer Development Officer
Helen works on developing all things volunteering so that local organisations can really benefit from the potential of their community. She tests and evaluates different ways of working with volunteers. Her particular interests are supported volunteering and getting more young people involved in their local community. She has a passion for building networks, empowering people and training. Using her degree in Psychology and Social Studies, Helen has worked in both the voluntary and public sector. Her career has included training young people as mystery shoppers to assess sexual health services, coordinating an HIV and AIDS awareness programme in South Africa and freelance training. Along the way she has achieved Prince 2 Project Management, a Level 6 Certificate in Management and Leadership, and a Certificate in Further Education Teaching. Having volunteered since she was a child, Helen is an active member of her community, and is currently involved in a women’s cycling group, Samba band, and various local charities.
Sharon Hale, Voluntary Sector Development Manager and Adviser (Mendip)
Sharon has lived and worked in the Mendip area since graduating with a degree in Community Development in 2001. She has helped a diverse range of groups to establish themselves and gain funding for anything from a weekly roller disco, to play parks, befriending schemes and community radio. More recently, she has played a more strategic role in Mendip, ensuring that the voluntary sector is championed and supported. Sharon is involved in local independent politics, runs a book club, loves live music and performance and roller skating!
Penny Schofield, Voluntary Sector Development Adviser (South Somerset)
Penny lives in South Somerset and has worked in the District for 20 years. She started working life in south London, initially developing and finding funding for a wide range of community projects and then managing specialised skills training projects for marginalised learners. Penny moved to Somerset to help set up two large projects providing housing and innovative skills development opportunities for homeless young people. She has experience of complex budget management, project evaluation and impact reporting, fundraising, partnership working and the recruitment, training and development of teams. Penny has an MA, a Diploma in Management and a PGCE.
Helen Emmings, Voluntary Sector Development Adviser (Sedgemoor)
Helen worked in the voluntary sector for the last ten years, having qualified as a Probation Officer in Bristol before deciding that her passion lay outside of the statutory sector. The next 7 years were spent establishing and running a women’s centre in Surrey for the charity Women in Prison, during which time Helen successfully fundraised for projects, delivered specialist services and took part in lobbying and campaigning for change to the criminal justice system. Most recently, Helen has relocated to Somerset and joined Spark Somerset after 18 months working for Women’s Aid as Sustainability Officer for domestic abuse services across the South West region. Helen’s skills lie in supporting groups around their sustainability, governance, fundraising and development. Outside of work Helen enjoys exploring the beautiful countryside of Somerset with her children
Denise Timmins, DBS Officer
Denise has been working for almost 7 years in the voluntary sector and has had experience of working in several of the different areas of support that we offer here at Spark. For the last 6 years she has managed our DBS Service. As well as processing DBS applications she can give advice, guidance and workshops on the process. We don’t call her the DBS guru for nothing!
Vicki Vincent, Community Accountant
Since completing the AAT Level 4 Qualification in 2012, Vicki has been running her own Accountancy Practice. In 2014 she delivered a series of workshops to the creative and voluntary sector, with the aim of making accountancy advice more affordable and accessible. Vicki joined the Spark team in May 2017 and is responsible for the financial function of our organisation.
Kerry Wills, Executive Officer
Since studying Media and Culture at Solent University, Kerry has worked in admin for several years, first with a local publishing company, then within the head office of a national retailer. She joined the team in 2015 and as well as office management, she helps coordinate Spark Somerset events, looks after the website and the social media and newsletters, and supports the Somerset Mental Health Hub and the Somerset VCSE Strategic Forum websites.
Amelia Norton, Project Assistant
After studying History at Bath Spa University, Amelia spent her time working in not for profit sports clubs building relationships with local and international businesses through sponsorships and events. Since joining Spark Somerset in February 2019 in a newly developed role, she helps coordinate the Spark training and events programme, looks after the social media and website, coordinates the support for the active living groups and offers admin support to the rest of the team. Amelia is a keen runner and can often be found at a Parkrun on a Saturday morning.
Matt Day, Health & Wellbeing Coordinator
Matt has worked in community development in Somerset for many years, initially in town regeneration and community planning for a local authority, then running the Somerset Towns Forum, a network for town regeneration groups. He also worked as a consultant supporting communities to produce neighbourhood plans and developing local business networks. As part of our health and wellbeing work, Matt has developed Wellbeing South Somerset, our online directory of support, and works with Health Coaches across South Somerset to connect people with support in the community. A Walking for Health Walk Leader, British Cycling Ride Leader and in his own time a member of Taunton Area Cycling Campaign, Matt is a keen supporter of healthy lifestyles.
Vicky Sullivan, Health & Wellbeing Coordinator
Vicky will develop and coordinate our Community Ambassador Network. Community Ambassadors are community-minded volunteers who have a passion to improve health and social care provision locally, and who enable people to feed back their experiences. They help us connect to a wide range of people and groups to ensure their voices are heard. Vicky has worked with community development and health-related projects in Somerset previously, and is also a volunteer Health Walk Leader. She is currently studying an MSc in Nutrition, Physical Activity and Public Health at the University of Bristol.
Emma McFarlane, Wellbeing Development Officer
Emma has recently started in the charity sector after having spent the last 10 years working for local heritage organisations including museums, historic houses and an archive. She loves partnership working and interacting with people. Emma is part of the Yarlington Project, working to reduce social isolation and improve wellbeing in South Somerset. Outside of work Emma is an active member of her church and volunteers with a local charity, focusing on PR and fundraising. She also enjoys dancing, cooking, walking and socialising with friends and family.