Management & administration

Karen Mitchell
Karen MitchellChief executive officer
Karen joined us in December 2019 to take the helm and steer CAfS’ vision going forward. She has an MSc in Natural Resource Management and has worked in the environmental sector for most of her career.

Having started out as a policy analyst for the Institute of European Environmental Policy, she worked in the public sector for a while. This included stints at Natural England and its precursor English Nature in various roles including agriculture policy, corporate governance, campaigning for marine conservation and stakeholder relationship management.

She then moved into charity management as Director of a charity promoting responsible tourism in the Lake District followed by some time in the far north of Scotland heading up fundraising and marketing for Trees for Life before returning to Cumbria.

Karen has developed and run courses on communication and campaigning for pro-environmental behaviour change and is a guest lecturer at the University of Surrey.

Gemma McCall
Gemma McCallAdministration & Finance Officer
Gemma joined CAfS in November 2017 and is our Administration and Finance officer.

She works for the core admin team dealing with all financial queries and supporting the Finance Manager, and also organises the board meetings and supports our trustees and CEO.

Gemma moved to Cumbria from Scotland in August 2017. She enjoys walks with her family and paddleboarding during the warmer months. She has a keen interest in wildlife and nature and enjoys being in the garden.

Gem Frank
Gem FrankAdministrator
Before joining CAfS in April 2023, Gem enjoyed a long career in the civil service working in a variety of admin and support roles.

Working for the Rural Payments Agency, Gem supported farm subsidy claimants and processed claims for government schemes such as Countryside Stewardship. Gem has also worked as an HR Advisor, Inspectorate Support Officer and most recently, as a Quality Assurance Leader.

Gem loves nothing more than rustling up great food in her kitchen using the array of fresh fruit, veggies and herbs grown in her garden. Gem also enjoys music, hanging from an aerial hoop and has plans to get back behind a drumkit!

Vibeke Aalmo
Vibeke AalmoAdministrator
Vibeke joined the team in September 2021 to aid in the expansion of Cold to Cosy Homes. She now facilitates admin across the CAfS team that is vital for smooth day-to-day running of the core office.

She is Norwegian and moved to the UK and Cumbria in 2018 to try out a new way of life closer to nature.

Most of Vibeke’s career has been in Norwegian residential building companies as a client consultant and accountant. She soon shifted towards the CRM system, both with support and best practise internally, and as a tester for the CRM supplier.

Her hobbies include running and walking in the fells. She spends a lot of time in her garden enjoying and supporting its wildlife and trying to improve thenew vegetable patch.

Development team

Caroline Turner
Caroline TurnerDevelopment manager
Caroline works tirelessly to increase our impact and ensure our long term financial viability by finding and developing new income streams through forging new partnerships with investors, clients and partners. She’s also a specialist in charity project management, with 18 years’ experience developing and delivering environmental sustainability projects.

Caroline was previously the climate change officer for South Lakeland District Council, and developed their carbon management programme, driving a 5% annual reduction in CO2 emissions and overseeing the council’s first renewable installation.

She is passionate about protecting our environment and is a founding director of Community Energy Cumbria, as well as a keen cyclist, runner and wanabee mountaineer.

Beatrice Stanley
Beatrice StanleyFundraising officer
Beatrice joined the development team in July 2022 after having worked as a volunteer since the previous Autumn, supporting that year’s Big Give appeal. In her role, she supports the development manager in increasing core funding for CAfS and implements our fundraising campaigns.

She has a degree in English Literature with Creative Writing from UEA and has worked for various arts charities and organisations since graduation, including theatres, festivals and creative writing centres.

In her spare time, Beatrice is currently completing an MA in Creative Writing, but when she can escape from her desk, she enjoys walking in the Lake District fells or further afield.

Low carbon communities team

Molly Hogg
Molly HoggProgramme Manager: Low Carbon Communities
Molly manages the Low Carbon Communities team, co-ordinating our support to a range of different communities, including towns and villages, the farming community and the business community. The team’s approach is broad, looking for carbon-reduction solutions that are right for that particular community, whilst also offering specialist advice.

Molly qualified as an architect, then moved into project management in the construction industry. Since then she has focused on sustainability, working for a spell in a smart cities consultancy as well as supporting St Chad’s College, Durham University, to understand and reduce its environmental impact. She is a qualified IEMA Environmental Management Practitioner and a qualified Carbon Literacy Trainer.

Outside of work, Molly is a governor at her local primary school. She is also an Eco Schools adviser, passionate about harnessing the enthusiasm of children to accelerate the transition to sustainable living. For fun, she loves walking, yoga and quirky off-beat films.

Julia Massey
Julia MasseyProject Manager - Community Retrofit and Renewables
Julia joined the Low Carbon Communities team in November 2023, with 25 years’ experience gained across the public, private and charity sector in the field of inclusive and sustainable economic growth, skills, employment, education, and careers.
As Head of Service in two Yorkshire local authorities, she secured funding, co-designed and project managed numerous multi-agency services – including networks for female entrepreneurs in rural areas; Apprenticeship Recruitment, business diversification and grant schemes for SMEs; graduate retention, back to work and youth unemployment programmes; and the development of new vocational and careers education programmes for 14–19-year-olds.

With a keen interest in and commitment to the net zero agenda, and currently renovating and retrofitting an old cottage, Julia was looking to join an organization that makes a difference to this agenda on the ground with local communities.
Outside of work, you will find her with a purple backpack fell walking, running, listening to music or on a yoga mat with her cat!

Natasha Binder
Natasha BinderProject Administrator - Business Decarbonisation
Natasha started with CAfS in 2024 as a Project Administrator. She has worked for and volunteered with various charities and in Local Government as an Administrator and has a background in Customer Services.

Originally from Norfolk, she came to Penrith to do her undergraduate degree in 2009, studying Wildlife and Media at the University of Cumbria. It was here she learned photography and a small amount of filmmaking, as well as learning about the conservation of the natural world, something she is very interested in.

She has an MA in Writing for Script and Screen and is a keen playwright. Her passions include writing and photography. She lives in Penrith with her partner and her cats, turtles, and leopard gecko.

Zoe Hebblethwaite
Zoe HebblethwaiteProject manager: Business Decarbonisation
Zoe joined the CAfS team in January 2024, leading the Business Decarbonisation team. She is a qualified architect, most recently working in low energy building design and retrofit with the team at 2030 architects.
Previously Zoe worked with RSHP in London, a multinational architecture firm, delivering masterplanning and large scale commercial and residential projects. In her role at 2030 architects Zoe worked with home & business owners to reduce their carbon footprint by designing buildings which have a positive social, and low environmental, impact.

She is grateful for the opportunity she recently had to bring her skills to a deep retrofit of her own home in Keswick. She is a keen fell runner and swimmer, and loves exploring the mountains and lakes.

Lindsay Dasey
Lindsay DaseyCustomer Services Administrator
Lindsay previously worked as an Account Manager and Business Development Manager for Recruitment and Training companies, and then worked with companies such as Centrica to help their IT departments communicate with the rest of the organisation.
After a career break of 8 years, she then went on to work for the Building Engineering Services Association verifying quality standards and qualifications for the Competent Person Scheme.

Whilst living all over England for the past 30 years Lindsay returned to Cumbria 6 years ago with a husband and 2 daughters.
She loves Pilates, sitting on top of a fell contemplating life and entertaining friends met along the way. She also enjoys a good book and visits the local cinema every week in the hope to try and keep it open.

Energy team

Tina Holt
Tina HoltProject manager: Retrofit for Cumbria
Tina joined CAfS in 2019 to coordinate our home energy efficiency services but now manages Retrofit for Cumbria, developing a service that supports householder centred energy retrofit.

Her experience in energy efficiency includes leading behavioural change programmes, creating a project to support and inspire retrofit in her local community, home energy consultancy, working for a Green Deal Provider and editing and running the AECB’s CarbonLite Retrofit online course.

She also has hands-on experience of deep retrofit through coordinating building work on a previous home in Nottingham. This became one of the first UK homes to achieve the space heating target of EnerPHit (the Passive House retrofit standard).

Originally she trained as an earth scientist with a PhD on coastal response to sea-level rise driven by climate change.

Tina is a volunteer with Sustainable Keswick and likes to rock climb in her spare time.

Naomi Sanderson
Naomi SandersonProject Manager: Cold to Cosy Homes
Naomi joined the Energy Team at CAfS in October 2023, taking on the role of Project Officer for the Cold to Cosy Homes project.

She holds a degree in Architecture from the University of Sheffield and worked as an Architectural Designer in Cumbria, before more recently transitioning over to the charity sector. There she has worked with various arts events and supported fostering families across the UK.

Outside of her professional life, Naomi enjoys spending her free time in the Lake District fells and pursuing her combined interests in photography, rock climbing and kitesurfing.

Phoebe Balcombe
Phoebe BalcombeCold to Cosy Homes: Project Manager - operations
Phoebe joined the Cold to Cosy team in August 2022, looking to continue helping those in need feel supported.

Having moved back to Cumbria to be closer to family and friends after studying philosophy in Nottingham, she previously worked as a retail manager in the charity sector helping meet fundraising aims and supporting volunteer development.

Phoebe enjoys going for walks and swims, going to concerts and exploring new places.

Maria Appleton
Maria AppletonProject Officer: Cold to Cosy Homes
Prior to joining CAfS ,Maria worked for Inspira, another Cumbrian charity and career development company, working on a project to help inform and inspire young people in local schools and colleges about the wide range of careers that may be open to them in the future.

Maria loves spending time in the outdoors with her daughter and two young grandsons(mainly watching the boys play football!) and has a lifelong love of horses. She also volunteers with BTRC (British Thoroughbred Retraining centre) in Lancaster helping with fundraising for this charity that does amazing work with retired and vulnerable racehorses and also dog walks for the Cinnamon Trust, for older people who cannot get out and about themselves. So always busy and in the outdoors with multiple layers of waterproof gear!

One of the only indoor hobbies she has is SALSA dancing, coming from an Italian family she just loves the salsa beat and adores dancing whenever she can!

Sarah Munton
Sarah MuntonCustomer Service Administrator: Cold to Cosy Homes
Sarah joined the team in January 2022. She provides admin support for the Cold to Cosy Homes project officers and is likely to be one of the first points of contact for customers before referring them on.

She moved to Cumbria in November 2021 to be closer to family and to embrace the outdoor life she loves. She has previously worked in legal services and for an Essex Hospice where she was part of the Corporate Services and Facilities team. Her responsibilities included maintaining external stakeholder relationships and supporting the team’s volunteers.

Away from the office you will find her on the fells, at the gym or on her yoga mat. A keen charity fundraiser she has participated in the London marathon, 3 peaks challenge and has even pulled a passenger plane in NYC.

Alison Smith
Alison SmithProject Officer: Retrofit for Cumbria
Alison joined CAfS in February 2022 to be part of the Cold to Cosy homes team. She has a background in customer facing roles in diverse sectors from both public sector and private industry.

During a degree in Environmental Health, Alison particularly enjoyed the Housing element of the course and for the last 4 years Alison has been building her own house, converted from an old agricultural building. This has been an excellent apprenticeship in putting into practice the technical construction knowledge and experiencing all those retrofitting issues.

In her spare time Alison juggles building with her young family, peppered with occasional cinema trips, loves nothing better than a good comedy gig and adores her chickens. She is looking forward to biking and canoeing more often in the future.

Amy Hield
Amy HieldHome Energy Adviser: Retrofit for Cumbria
Following a career in the creative industries and community development, Amy retrained in Green Building, on the Center for Alternative Technology’s MSc program. following the very hands on deep retrofit of her own 17th century farmhouse.

She began working with CAfS in 2019 as a Home Energy Adviser on our Cold to Cosy homes program, supporting people at risk of fuel poverty, she now provides quality assurance for our team of Cold to Cosy advisors, as well as working across our retrofit services.

Deeply motivated by the need for a just transition to low carbon homes, Amy particularly enjoys working directly with clients to help them explore the best options for them to reduce the cost of heating their homes, both in terms of carbon and pounds.

Mads Longden
Mads Longden Customer Services Administrator
Mads joined the Cold to Cosy Homes project in February 2023, providing admin support to the team and helping customers who contact the service.

Mads has worked in a number of organisations from large blue-chip companies to small family run businesses here in Cumbria. She has a marketing background but has wider experience of administration and office management.

Having lived in an old farmhouse to recently completing a self-build project, Mads is aware of the issues around energy efficiency and has been involved in making her own home more energy efficient and reducing her carbon footprint.

Mamosa Simmons
Mamosa SimmonsCustomer Services Administrator
Mamosa Joined the Cold to Cosy Homes Team in September 2023 as a Customer Services Administrator. In her role, she offers administrative support to the team and assists customers who reach out to the service.
Originally from South Africa, Mamosa made the move to Cumbria in November 2019. She holds a LLM in International Human Rights from De Montfort University and has a wealth of experience in Immigration law in South Africa. Mamosa is also actively involved in charity work.
Outside of work, Mamosa enjoys going for walks with her family, cooking, gardening, and exploring different travel destinations.
Claire Hepworth
Claire HepworthCustomer Services Administrator
Claire joined the Cold to Cosy Homes Team in August 2023 as one of our growing team of Customer Service Administrators. She provides admin support to the team and helps customers who contact the service.
This year, Claire has returned from a 4-month trip travelling Southeast Asia, Australia and New Zealand, as well as enjoying an interrailing trip in Europe last summer. She has an English Literature degree from Lancaster University and previously worked at a local secondary school, providing maths intervention to students, as well as working in a local vegetarian café. After always having a keen interest in sustainability, Claire is excited to be part of a team making a great change to Cumbria.
Outside of work, Claire enjoys baking vegan cakes, growing veggies, riding her horse and travelling.

Zero Carbon Cumbria Partnership

John Forbes
John ForbesProject Manager: Zero Carbon Cumbria
John has worked in the environmental sector for more than 20 years, giving advice and support to householders, community groups, businesses and other organisations on energy efficiency, renewables, water, waste and sustainable transport. Many of these activities have involved working in partnership with community groups, local government, environmental organisations and other stakeholders.

John was delighted to join the team at CAfS in late 2020. He is really impressed by the ambition, community involvement and strength of the Zero Carbon Cumbria partnership and is very much looking forward to working with the community and all the partners in the project.

Alongside his passion for the environment, John enjoys hill walking, cycling, music and woodworking.

Hazel Graham
Hazel GrahamClimate and Carbon Literacy Training Manager
Hazel oversees our Climate & Carbon Literacy programme, leading the education of a network of clients in the specifics of climate science and helping push them towards more sustainable lives and businesses.

She previously led CAfS’ work to build the strategic partnerships and networks that will be instrumental in the drive towards a zero-carbon Cumbria. She co-chaired the Zero Carbon Cumbria Partnership, which she helped to form in 2019.

Hazel has wide knowledge of sustainability issues. She served as a housing association board member and environmental champion for six years, and holds an MSc in Environmental Sustainability.

Her past experience includes leading behaviour-change projects, developing energy-efficiency training programmes and working as a consultant to improve the financial viability of charities. She is also part of the local transition movement in Carlisle.

Helen Attewell
Helen AttewellCumbria Sustainability Network Coordinator
Helen joined the team in April 2021, bringing experience and skills honed over four decades in a variety of different voluntary sector and campaigning organisations.

Following a degree in natural sciences, Helen began her career as a science teacher. She has spent some time volunteering overseas in Bangladesh and in rural Lesotho, where she developed an awareness of how climate change will disproportionately impact the poorest and most vulnerable.

Helen has supported community groups, including networks of BAME and refugee organisations in the north east of England. She also provided infrastructure support as a Regional Development Officer for the National Lottery Community Fund. Most recently, she has led a criminal justice charity in the north east.

A recent offcomer from the other side of the Pennines, Helen is a keen walker and volunteer walk-leader and is inspired by the landscapes and wildlife of Cumbria.

Clare Taylor
Clare TaylorCommunity Climate Champions Coordinator
Clare joined us in May 2022 after recently moving to Cumbria to grow our network of community climate champions across Cumbria, and give those champions the support they need to increase awareness and understanding about climate change in their communities.

Clare has significant experience of volunteer coordination and support and still works as the Carers Service Coordinator for Richmond Borough Mind alongside her CAfS role. She also brings a career history that includes developing and delivering training programmes on a range of topics, volunteer recruitment and event coordination.

She has been concerned about climate change for a long time and strives to live a low carbon impact lifestyle. In her spare time, Clare can be found keeping active, reading, listening to music and podcasts and exploring new places.

Anna Templeton
Anna TempletonAdministrator: Zero Carbon Cumbria
Anna joined CAfS in May 2022 to help provide admin support to the ZCC partnership.

She has been involved with the local charity EdenVentures for several years, first as a trustee, then as one of the project coordinators running child-led outdoor summer camps, helping young people to connect with the land through play, and supporting young volunteers to access work in the outdoor sector.

Anna is also a partner in a workers’ cooperative wholefood shop in Alston.

In her spare time, Anna is studying medical herbalism and has a keen interest in growing her own herbs and using them to treat minor ailments and illnesses.

Bex Stamper
Bex StamperProject Manager: Cumbria Emissions Reduction
Bex comes to us from almost 20 years working for Allerdale and then Cumberland Council within the sports, leisure and arts service area.
In that time she has worked within the community providing advice to sports clubs and administering grants, delivered on a number of externally funded programmes as well as having managed and supported a range of partnerships and managed the large scale leisure centre contracts.
Some of her most recent projects include the development of the Cultural Strategy for West Cumbria, the setting up of the Maryport Prom parkrun, and initiated the development of the successful Creative People and Places bid for West Cumbria.

She is very excited to join the ZCCP and support the sector groups in their ambitious plans for reducing emissions.

In her ‘spare’ time, Bex is a partner in a low-waste retail business, plays and coaches hockey for Wigton Hockey club and coaches junior County Hockey players.

Jo Gibbs
Jo GibbsAdministration & Project Officer
Jo joined CAfS in 2020 and currently supports the delivery of our Climate and Carbon Literacy training programme, having previously provided project support to the domestic energy team and the core admin team.

She has previously worked as a volunteer coordinator and has a background in the outdoor charity sector, specifically working on programmes supporting marginalised young people. Her roles have ranged from coordinating remote overseas expeditions to helping administer European Social Fund projects.

Having moved to Cumbria in 2017 to live closer to the fells, Jo enjoys walking, rock climbing, cycling and swimming. She also enjoys cooking (and eating) vegan food and has volunteered with Waste into Wellbeing in Kendal to reduce food waste in the community.

Robyn Johnson
Robyn JohnsonAdministrator: Sector Groups, Zero Carbon Cumbria
In her own time, Robyn is an enthusiastic runner, regularly taking part in 5k parkruns as well as having completed over 10 marathons since her first in October 2013 and more than one ultra marathon. She particularly enjoys road running and races where she can get up a little bit of speed but also takes pleasure in trail events and taking in the beautiful scenery.

Robyn loves to look after her friends’ miniature sausage dog, Ruby when she can. Ruby has been very helpful digging on the new allotment patch Robyn has recently acquired. She is pleased with the progress made in a short space of time: repairing the greenhouse, installing rainwater harvesting, attempting to grow a few vegetables in the greenhouse and preparing the rest of the plot for planting – but knows she has a lot to learn!

Jane Simpson
Jane SimpsonEvents and Training Coordinator
Jane joined us in March 2024 as the Events and Training Coordinator for Zero Carbon Cumbria. She has worked in learning, development and training for most of her career.

She has worked across all sectors and with children, young people, graduates, adults and animals! Initially as Project Manager for a large London based blue chip company focussing on cultural change, then primary school teaching, and as a trainer using the outdoors as an experiential learning medium. More latterly her career moved to the public sector working as the Cumbrian Leadership and Management Advisor for Business Link then at XLVets as the People Development Manager.

Jane also works part time as a Lumber Jill. She loves the outdoors and in her spare time can be found in the lakes or on the mountains.

Marketing & Communications Team

Helena Davies
Helena DaviesMarketing Manager
Helena joined the CAfS team in November 2022 from the Westmorland Family, a large Cumbrian business, which grew out of a family farm and now has sites countrywide. There she had a number of roles over an eleven-year period, starting as an in-house Graphic Designer responsible for day-to-day design, to becoming Marketing Manager and Senior Designer.

During that time, she was involved in large-scale projects from overseeing a re-brand, to producing visual story-telling and brand packaging. A passionate creative, Helena started out with a degree in Graphic Design before expanding her knowledge into the field of marketing through hands-on experience and a desire to learn.

She is highly motivated on personal and community driven levels by the urgency of the climate change issue we face and works hard to reduce her family’s carbon footprint.

Helena enjoys nothing more than being in nature, growing vegetables and practicing yoga.

Rebecca Stacey
Rebecca StaceySenior Marketing & Communications Officer
Rebecca joined CAfS in December 2021, after a career in education. As a teacher in primary schools across the country, she’s always been passionate about literacy and climate change education. In 2014 she moved to Cumbria to lead a local primary school and became the first head teacher in the country to achieve the United Nations Climate Change Teacher accreditation. This led to a deep desire to change sectors – working towards a low carbon and sustainable future for the next generations.

Rebecca is currently studying for an MSc in Zero Carbon Communities at the University of the Highlands and Islands. She has developed a keen interest in ensuring that communities have the tools and information to develop their own sustainable path. When not in work she can be found walking her two dogs and enjoying books about anything and everything!

Georgina Stephenson
Georgina StephensonMarketing Officer
Georgina returned to CAfS’ ranks in November 2022, having previously been our marketing manager, and organised the Cumbria Green Build Festival. She has over 20 years’ experience in marketing and event management in a variety of sectors.

Georgina and her husband have renovated their traditional listed cottage with insulated limecrete and lime plaster, sheep’s wool insulation and LED bulbs. Water is heated by solar thermal tubes in the summer, and space and water by two woodburning stoves in the winter. Rainwater is collected in several large butts to water plants in the greenhouse, and she enjoys trying grow her own veg.

When not at work, George volunteers with Girlguiding, running a Brownie & Guide unit, and also volunteers with Penrith Repair Café. She has a rescue dog who she trains using positive reinforcement.

Beth Driscoll
Beth DriscollDigital Marketing and Design Assistant
Beth joined the Marketing team in May 2023, looking to use her creativity and design skills in a role with community engagement at its heart.

After studying History at university, Beth worked for Newcastle-based charities focused on green space management and cultural heritage before returning to Cumbria as Wordsworth Grasmere’s Digital Engagement Trainee. Since 2017 she has also worked on a small, mixed, regenerative farm near Ingleton, supporting the business’s diversification plans from 2020 onwards by helping with a bit of everything – from branding and website building to hedgelaying and lambing. She is looking forward to taking up a new role as head cheese taster…

In her spare time Beth enjoys fell walking, wild swimming, cooking and drawing (or lino printing if there’s space to make a bit more mess).