Meet the Arty-Folks Staff Team

At Arty-Folks wherever possible we offer our skilled Peer Volunteers a first step into employment with us.  Starting a new job after a long break can feel very daunting, no matter how skilled and experienced you were.

Lorella Medici

General Manager, Mentor, full-time
BA Hons Fine Art at Coventry University.  Founded Arty-Folks 1995 together with a service user.  Since, Lorella trained in mental health, teaching, art therapy, counselling, mentoring and coaching as well as charity management, fundraising, finance, etc.  Lorella mentors service users to explore what is hindering their plans moving forward.

“There is always a way forward but sometimes we get so frustrated we can’t see the wood for the trees.  That’s when we need a bit of help to break down what appears insurmountable into manageable  chunks.”

Liz Harvey

Art Programme Manager, part-time
BA Hons Fine Art and Illustration at Coventry University. Liz designs art projects and leads the group workshops. She supports service users to switch off from their worries and to enjoy being creative peers.  She helps to build personal art portfolio to access further creative education.

“Art allows us to connect to other people in a positive and personal way.  It helps us recognise our uniqueness whilst also enabling us to bond with like-minded people.  That’s when healing begins.”

Laura Wilde

Support Worker, part-time
Laura is currently studying PhD at Coventry University.  Laura supports service users who are in higher education or are wishing to enrol on a course .  She supports service users through the application process and further to get used to studying, i.e. how to research, write essays, budgeting, time management, etc.

“Studying should be exciting and enjoyable but I know from personal experience how taxing academia can be and how important it is to maintain a good balance between studying and personal life.”

Karen Lewis

Support Worker, part-time
Karen helps service users into employment. She offers 1:1 support to start employment or training. She also organises our social programme that helps people to try new health and well-being opportunities and become more confident being out and about in the community.

“I absolutely love being a mum but I am also a person in my own right. I know what it’s like to struggle with a lack of self-confidence and self-worth and how quickly it can mean you retreat from the outside world and stop engaging with the wonderful things happening around you.”

Fiona Emmerson

Data Analyst, sessional
Fiona is optimising our data collection tools and processes as well as  reporting tools that help Arty-Folks continue to increase the social impact of our work.

“I started attending Arty-Folks in March 2019 following a long hospital admission for my mental health, and my aim is never to have to return there!. Working for Arty-Folks is helping me rebuild confidence and self-esteem in a place where I can be myself and express myself freely.”

Badra Khatoon

Office Staff, sessional
Badra keeps us all organised, working as a team throughout the charity, and firmly focused on going the extra mile for our service users.   She supports Trustees, Advisers, staff and volunteers to keep track of their workload and to work to their strengths.

“I used to have a challenging and exciting career as company lawyer which I have put on hold for personal reasons.  Arty-Folks has helped me to recognise that stress can affect physical health and has helped me to find an outlet through art.”

Board of Trustees

The Board of Trustees acts in the best interests of our charity and is responsible for complying with charity law requirements and other laws that apply to our charitable work strategic forward planning that clearly deliver public benefit in line with our constitution. manage our resources responsibly and prudently and maintain appropriate financial controls identify organisational risks and support the Operations group to mitigate these.

Barry Day, Chair

Barry offers strategic and hands-on leadership and he is passionate about the needs of service users being at the heart of everything we do.  He is currently working as a Senior Executive Director for the NHS as well as Coach and Facilitator. He has a successful track record in negotiating and facilitating service redesign and re-modelling as well as leading organisational change.  He has led and supported major change initiatives in helping statutory and voluntary sector organisations to transition through culture change and mergers.

“My passion is in working with individuals and teams and mentoring and coaching people to achieve and fulfill their ambitions.”

Ian McFarlane-Toms, Treasurer

Ian is a CIMA qualified accountant and now is a professionally trained and accredited business adviser at the University of Warwick Science Park where he supports new businesses to establish themselves.  He brings to Arty-Folks a wealth of experience from the commercial sector across most business disciplines.

“I moved to Warwickshire in 2018 and joined Arty-Folks soon afterwards.  I have a keen interest in mental health and well-being, and I would like to contribute my skills to creating a more compassionate society.”

Jane Batchelor, Trustee Communications

Jane has been working at senior management level for the past ten years developing and delivering high impact marketing and communications strategies. Jane brings to Arty-Folks her skills and experience of working across a range of sectors; Public, Private and Third Sector, with a wide range of stakeholder groups and often in complex environments. Jane has chaired the Operations Group since 2017.

“I thrive on developing and motivating others.  Working with the Arty-Folks team is so enjoyable as everyone is working to high standards and are giving their best.”

Thanh Sinden, Trustee Equality and Diversity

Thanh has worked in arts and culture for over 14 years and across the third sector on community focused initiatives, local government and the cultural sector.  She works to advance equity between groups, to celebrate and respect diversity for a more inclusive world.  She is passionate about helping teams and individuals maximise their potential to create and deliver social value.

“My vision is to inspire collective action such as Arty-Folks that builds a kinder, happier and prosperous world for all.”

Barnie Giltrap, Trustee IT Support

Barnie worked for many years as IT specialist and he is now helping staff with a range of IT issues and maintenance. He was a service user at Arty-Folks for 18 months which helped him to ground again and to develop his creative confidence as well as helping him to map a new way forward.  Subsequently, Barnie completed the Foundation Diploma in Art and Design in 2017/18 and he has now started a degree in Fine Art and Illustration.

“As a teen I was discouraged from studying art and design and went into IT instead, a safe career. Life events derailed me for a few years until I re-discovered what makes me tick through Arty-Folks.”

Rebecca Noble, Trustee Change Management

Dr Rebecca Noble is currently a management consultant working with public sector clients.  In 2016 as a PhD student Rebecca first worked with Arty-Folks on an Artist and Academics research collaboration, a project led by the University of Warwick.  She worked with a group of service users to create a large scale sculpture ‘Twixt Nature and Nurture’ inspired by her research into medieval mental health, and was exhibited at Fargo.

“The creative collaboration with Arty-Folks brought to life my interest in the history of mental health, reminded me of my love of art, and most importantly introduced me to the amazing community at Arty-Folks!”

David Howitt, Company Secretary

David is a Senior Lawyer, Company Secretary and Compliance Specialist with significant experience of Board and Company governance.  He assists Arty-Folks with a wide range of legal matters including compliance management, data protection and information management, contract governance, Code of Conduct and he supports the Board of Trustees to fulfill their roles.

This could be YOU!

Board of Trustees

Arty-Folks is always looking to appoint new Trustees to the Board and if you can offer particular expertise in areas such as finance, legal, NHS/CCG, local authority, IT, HR, Health and Social Care, and corporate sponsorship we would like to hear from you!  Please email your CV to

The Operations Group

The Operations group main purpose is to flesh out agenda items for the Board so that the Board is able to be more strategic at its quarterly meetings.  Operations Group Advisers works closely with staff and volunteers to progress the business strategy and implement the business plan, as set by the Board of Trustees.  Advisers have no legal responsibilities for the charity but serve as sounding board for our team and share their skills, offer advice and guidance, and if they wish also give hands-on support with exhibitions, events, etc.  The Group is Chaired by a Trustee and meetings are minuted and reviewed at Board meetings.


Operations Group Advisers

John Gough, Human Resources

John  is a Senior Teacher Fellow at the School of Psychological, Social and Behavioural Sciences at the University of Warwick.  John served for 5 years as Trustee of the Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services (AGCAS) and was also a board member of the Higher Education Careers Services Unit.  He chaired Arty-Folks 2013-2020 and through his leadership Arty-Folks went from strength to strength.

“Arty-Folks offers me the perfect combo: I have enjoyed supporting people with mental health issues in a volunteering role in the past and I have always been passionate about the visual arts.”

Sheryl Crabb

Sheryl previously worked for 23 years in the NHS including Mental Health. “I had a very successful and broad nursing career in clinical practice, management and education at a large General Hospital in Buckinghamshire.  In my early forties, I became a stay at home mum caring for my daughter and son who both have additional needs. I have been an active member of Coventry’s Local Parent Carer forum for several years which works with the Local Authority and Commissioning groups to improve services for children with disabilities and their families. Coventry is my home city and I am passionate and enthusiastic to be involved in Arty-Folks both as a service user and as Adviser.”

Nicole DeSouza

Bally Sembi


This could be YOU!

We are always looking for advisers with specific skills and expertise to support our team of staff and peer volunteers.  The Operations Group meets 4 times a year to help us realise business plans.  If you are interested in volunteering with us please email your CV to

Peer Volunteers

At our art workshops we offer volunteering opportunities only to our service users who have become quite well in themselves after attending a while and are now looking to give back and support their peers.

Every service user that becomes a Peer Volunteer for Arty-Folks knows the service inside-out and is very well placed to take on greater responsibility to help shape the service.  We are most grateful for their unpaid time, commitment, passion, and for sharing their experiences that has helped us tailor what we do into  an evidence-based approach to mental well-being through the visual arts

Sammy Habel, Progression Group Peer Volunteer and Recovery Academy Volunteer.

“When I started attending Arty-Folks January 2019 I was struggling with pains and ill health that I was managing with medication and on which I had then become dependent.  I was at my wits end then but I have attended my group regularly since and slowly my confidence in life returned.  Volunteering has helped me to recognise that I have skills and that I can give hope to other people who once were in a similar situation to mine.”


Clef King, Making Headway Group Peer Volunteer.