The people make the community. Here are the members of the Lighthouse community:
Kat Budd Facilitator
I come from Leicester, which is landlocked and beautifully multicultural. I grew up eating samosas, celebrating Navratri and making lady bird houses.
My education has followed a linear, mainstream path, going from school to college to a BSc in Ecology and Conservation to an MSc in Environmental Management. I have always loved the natural world so I relished my subjects, but wish that the process could have been more practical and less academic. I am dyslexic and I enjoy learning through my body, which is generally not the mainstream way.
I have since worked for organisations such as the Woodcraft Folk, the Wildlife Trust and the RSPB. Woodcraft aims to empower children and young people to be independent and compassionate decision makers and I love the crossover between this and the aims of the Lighthouse Project.
I have lived, wwoofed and travelled around the world, including film-making in Senegal and cycling the 101 in the States. I moved to West Wales in 2017 to live closer to both land and sea. I work part time as a Social and Therapeutic Horticulture Project Coordinator, helping adults with additional needs to grow veggies in their garden, and part time at Lighthouse.
Hannah Rounding Facilitator
I grew up in the Cheshire countryside. As a child, I could either be found playing in the ponds and streams or drawing and making things. As an adult, it’s pretty much the same! I have an arts based education; to masters level. I’ve spent time living and working in London, Ghana and South Sudan, with a career in community development and peacebuilding.
I moved to West Wales in 2016, making what was once a place for holidays into home. Here, I work with various local charitable organisations, run art workshops, dig in the garden, walk the coastal path, play in the sea, document changes in nature and do a bit of illustration work.
Maia Sparrow Facilitator
I grew up and went to a mainstream school in London. I loved the wide range of subjects on offer, especially the creative ones, but the time frames and tick boxes weren’t really my thing. Next, I studied International Development and Spanish at the University of Leeds and volunteered in Bolivia during my third year. After graduation, I had the fantastic opportunity to work with a grassroots permaculture organisation in El Salvador. Here, I was a bridge between Salvadoran farmers who spoke no English and visiting foreigners. I returned to the UK with a new passion: community food growing.
Somewhere along the way, this morphed into environmental and outdoor education. I spent 5 years working for a variety of organisations (city farms, Wildlife Trusts, community gardens) and on my own projects such as running a Forest School. On a farm in Oxfordshire, I met my partner and we moved to Wales together. I joined Lighthouse as the first non-parent facilitator in September 2019, taking a break in January 2020 to give birth to twins, and re-joined the growing team in November 2020. Finding Lighthouse has drawn together many interests for me and opened up new possibilities.
Ben James Co-Founder and Co-Director
I love music, collect records and instruments, and try to find time to play them and record them.
I love making things, out of wood and other materials, and also drawing with pencils and pens.
I got a degree in Architecture, in Cardiff, then worked in a Bristol nightclub and a juice bar, while playing in bands, performing around the UK, scratching on turntables. I then made a living running DJ workshops in youth clubs, for young people excluded from school and for kids with additional needs. I have also run my carpentry business for about 15 years.
I love spending time at Lighthouse, talking and laughing, being blindsided by unexpected questions and perspectives, making things, taking things apart, and usually doing a few things I could never have anticipated.
I long for all children (and adults) to have the chance to find the things that make them feel alive and connected and to be able to pursue them with wild abandon. I believe in the powerful energy of human curiosity, and that real trust and freedom from others expectations are the key to self-directed learning.
Betty James Co-Founder and Co-Director
If I had to describe myself I would say I was a shy extrovert. Brought up in Bristol I was a slow developer academically, written off at school as ‘stupid’ until I changed schools to do my A’levels. I graduated from York University where I studied Sociology. I then worked for 10 years in Bristol, predominantly with children diagnosed with autism.
I trained as an ABA therapist (Applied Behavioural Analysis) and worked with 8 families over 2 years, alongside doing a PGCE at Bath Spa Uni. At Bath, I was diagnosed with profound dyslexia. By this time I had found many ways of compensating for being an undiagnosed dyslexic within mainstream education. I have found it harder to overcome the barriers that being labelled ‘stupid’ had on my psyche. I would like to live in a world that avoided labelling people.
My husband Ben and I Started a preoccupation in 2011 with re-educating and de-schooling ourselves, with the help of authors and activists such as Marshall Rosenberg, John Holt and Alfie Kohn. I am an NVC enthusiast, practising for many years and helping run workshops for parents and XR rebels.
We have 3 children and unschooling has given us freedom and creativity I never dreamt of. Inspired by Sudbury Valley Schools, NVC and a desire to create a sense of belonging, community and empowerment for children, we started the Lighthouse ball rolling in 2017 with our friend and co-founder Josie Coggins.
Naomi Glass Director
Naomi grew up in London in a second-generation Jewish immigrant family, reading tonnes of books, singing, writing and dreaming of life as a novelist, whilst not knowing an oak from an apple tree. Naomi went to the University of York to study English and instead of suddenly becoming a famous poet, she discovered the countryside and a deep connection with the rest of life whilst adventuring (sometimes hairyly) over the Yorkshire Moors and Dales with a bunch of dear new nature-loving friends. Following this, she did a Postgraduate Degree in Journalism, went to live on an organic smallholding in Cornwall, wrote for various small publications and quickly realised that the world of journalism wasn’t for her.
Becoming increasingly aware of how deeply unsustainable and harmful industrial capitalism is in encouraging people to focus on consuming whilst ignoring the horrific destruction to life on earth, Naomi decided to commit her time instead to supporting the reconnection of our fellow humans to the sacredness of our planet. Naomi retrained in Horticulture and as a Social and Therapeutic Horticulture practitioner and ran the Education Programme on an inner-city London farm, encouraging children to be curious about growing food and ethical provenance. Naomi went on to work and live in various places in the SW of England, running Social and Therapeutic Horticulture projects for people recovering from drug and alcohol misuse and those experiencing mental health distress.
Naomi, her partner and soon to be two young daughters then moved to West Wales in 2016 to a beautiful smallholding by the sea, where they have a small-scale vegetable growing project.
Sarah Sims Williams Lighthouse’s NVC Mentor
My longing is to empower people to be themselves and know they are great just as they are. Since discovering Nonviolent Communication, I have a marvellous tool that treats everyone’s needs as mattering, even when in conflict, even when one person is seen as the “perpetrator” & another as the “victim”.
Whereas compromise may not give anyone what they want, and may only wink at the gifts each person brings, NVC turns this around. The NVC process allows everyone to count when forming a solution, and my experience is it often brings out a creative solution that suits everyone better than the original.
I thoroughly admire the folk at The Lighthouse Project, and love the free-thinking & empowerment they are bringing out. Lighthouse is in alignment with my values, & I offer them complimentary spaces with my skills when there are some “rubs”. Mostly they don’t need me! When they do I am delighted to be in their company, and also to be supportive.
I have been learning NVC for about 13 years and will be learning it for the rest of my life, I suspect. I have a few certificates but am not Certified by CNVC.org.
I also have level 2 in Communication & Counselling, and Level 1 Child Protection. I have a degree in Psychology.