The Team

Fenya Sharkey

Project Director


Our project director Fenya Sharkey is always exploring and pushing the boundaries of social engagement through the arts. She has over 20 years’ experience as a social arts tutor to house coordinators and workshop leaders in the Camphill Communities (shared living with adults or children with physical or mental disability). She developed a method for engaging people, through the arts, who have an advanced form of dementia. She also acts as a guide and mentor to a number of community focused artists.

Lucy Calcott

Visual Artist and Poet


Lucy has a background in poetry after completing a MA in creative writing at Sussex University and a foundation diploma in art and design. She is interested in the connection between emotional honesty, spirituality and creativity and brings these elements into the sessions she runs at Compass Community Arts.
She is working alongside other workshop leaders to create a book of collaborative poems and images from the sessions on Thursday afternoons.

Ismini Samanidou

Textile Artist


Athens born Ismini Samanidou trained at Central Saint Martins and the Royal College of Art. Her practice touches on the boundaries of craft, art and design with work developed for site specific commissions, industry collaborations and unique pieces for exhibition. Ismini has travelled and researched textile techniques worldwide and is principally interested in the way weaving exists as an autonomous language crossing cultural and political boundaries.

Gwendoline Coates

Writer and Poet


Gwendoline’s work has included crofting in the Shetland Islands and smallholding in the mountains of Abruzzo, Italy. Her profession was as a Homoeopath and, although retired from this, her practice continues to inform all her work.

She is now writing a novel on the subject of Narcissism and coercive control, which has led to a series of creative writing sessions for Compass Arts. An additional small group emerged from this, known as The Hecate Chapter, to explore the subject at a deeper level and produce a series of short stories.

Hazel Durling

Wool Craft Facilitator


Hazel started spinning while researching Viking spindles for an archaeology degree, and alongside her adventures as a travelling teacher picked up skills in knitting, crochet and sewing. Her latest adventure is learning to weave as part of the textile project she facilitates at Langney Priory, where the group is creating a tapestry from raw local sheep fleeces. She is interested in the history of textile process and how it can be interpreted in the modern era, as well as the role of crafts in health & science.

Mary Kate Kendall

Arts and Craft facilitator


Mary loved arts and crafts in school, however she eventually went into the field of healthcare and had a career as a nurse. Everything changed in 2010 when she struggled with her health and had to rethink her lifestyle and career choices. Mary returned to crafts primarily for their therapeutic benefits and it has now become a total addiction. she is entirely self-taught with jewellery making being her main passion and focus. She has recently run a successful 10 week jewellery making workshop with compass community arts

Lettie Hancock



Lettie is a freelance administrator with 8 years experience in customer relations at a leading car dealership. She has two young children.



Valerie Abl



As Chairman, my focus is helping Compass to evolve into a living community of individuals, capable of pioneering creative pathways that enhance personal wellbeing and act as a catalyst for cultural transformation.
During my previous career, I spent 25 years as an independent Management Consultant undertaking a variety of organisational development / cultural change programmes and projects within the private and public sector. I worked as a Strategic Change Manager, Consultant, Trainer, Group Facilitator and Leadership Coach introducing innovative processes, tools / techniques that equip people to ride the waves of complex change and adapt faster to the changing business landscapes.

Norwin Abl

Treasurer and Company Secretary


As Treasurer my brief is to facilitate the smooth flow of our finances to support our ambitious plans and ensure we are operating within our means. Funding is challenging for a local community charity, I have introduced a software package that tracks our finances and am streamlining our financial processes to demonstrate our professionalism to potential funders. I hope this will encourage more help from our members and local community in fundraising and donations.
In retirement, I still enjoy using some of the skills I gained as Commercial Manager for a major European Airline, as well as Senior roles within Travel and Tourism including acting as Company Secretary/ Director for various Limited Companies.

Brian O’Neill



Brian is a retired company director. Before retirement he was the owner and managing director of a steel manufacturing company. He lived and worked overseas for over forty years in Africa, the Middle and Far East specialising in the installation of building services in new build hospitals, airports etc.
He is a member of the Eastbourne Rotary Club and is currently the in-coming President which commences July 2020. He is a volunteer for one day per week in the woodwork shop of Kingdom Hope Trust.

Lynne Goddard



Lynne has been involved with Compass Community Arts since 2005. Now retired, she has taught in further and higher education, worked as a Psychotherapist and done a stint in professional theatre. "In every aspect of my working life I have seen the value of the arts as a means of transforming lives. And, living day to day as someone with a disability, I am particularly aware that access to the creative arts has offered me vital means of personal growth and self- development. That is why I am delighted to support the work CCA. It changes lives!"

Alan Wenham



Alan is an urban planner by profession and has a qualification specialising in regeneration.
He has worked as Head of the Executive Office at ESCC for 3 years then as the Chief Executive of a local authority for 15 years.
As well as being involved in 3VA, U3A, Rotary, governor at Sussex Downs and public speaking, he also takes minutes for Compass to support in steering us forward. He is actively involved in finding volunteer support, applying for funds and attending key meetings.



Jane Moon

Volunteer Coordinator


“I have worked for many years as a mental health nurse and have learnt the importance of a supportive community to maintain good mental health. I have been involved with Compass Community Arts for over 4 years; it is a positive, supportive and inclusive community, where everyone is valued equally in their uniqueness.”

Neil Akehurst

Host Volunteer and Compass Pioneer


Neil has been a compass volunteer for over two years. "Compass resurrected my artistic side which had laid dormant for thirty years."

Pauline Walden

Volunteer Facilitator and Compass Pioneer


Pauline paticipates across the organisation and has led workshops in clay modelling, drawing, creative writing and poetry as well as co-directing The Compass Players, drama group and co-designing the herb garden.

"I have learned many new skills through volunteering and had the priviledge of sharing my own. It is such a joy to see others discovering a new talent and a pleasure to aid in the nurturing".

Pauline has also volunteered her time as a writer, providing copy for the PR and marketing of Compass.

Tim Dodd

Host Volunteer and Compass Pioneer


Tim helps to set up the workshops and warmly welcomes and encourages everyone to take part. "I first joined Compass a year ago. I was very low and lacking confidence. This opened a whole new life for me, a lovely team of people helped me to become more confident. I love helping people via being a volunteer".