Karen Williams - Chief Executive Officer
Karen Williams founded the Charity Community Arts in Action in 1997. The organisation came together with Escape Workshop, founded by Robin Wade, to become Escape: Community Art in Action. As Co-Founder, Karen’s passion for the Charity never tires and as Chief Executive Officer her role is centred on driving strategic vision, building a strong resilient Escape Arts for the next 25 years.
Niamh Oldham - Deputy Chief Executive Officer
Niamh Oldham is a graduate of the University of Warwick who joined the Escape Arts team for a three month internship in 2017 – and never left! Niamh has led on creative projects with Escape Arts groups across the county and worked alongside the extraordinary Escape Arts volunteer team on community projects, before joining the Executive in 2020. Niamh now supports the preparation of funding bids, governance and operational running of the Charity, including Escape Arts emerging digital offer. You can also spot Niamh in her other role as Chief Elf during Escape Arts Surprise Santa visits every Christmas!
Joanne Lole - North Warwickshire Programme Manager
I joined Escape Arts in 2010 as Programme Manager for Nuneaton Area. My role has enabled me to meet some amazing creative people and connect with fabulous community groups. As we continue to grow and diversify, our success has to be celebrated with our participants, many of whom have been with us from the very beginning. I’m very proud of what we have achieved; look out for some of our installations in unexpected places- maybe walking along the canal path, visiting Nuneaton Train Station or exploring the Reginald Stanley walking trail.
Dionne Sambrook - Creative Programme & Performance Manager
I manage our regular groups in Stratford and help develop our creative projects. I also manage short projects and commissions, including our work for Warwickshire County Council’s Creative Health Programme. I collate the information we share with funders to demonstrate all the amazing things we do. I am known for my love of spreadsheets and tech, but I really appreciate nature and the countryside. And play a mean bit of saxophone.
Jackie Newton - Finance Manager
Jackie joined us as Finance Manager back in December 2014, just before we moved into our newly renovated home at the Old Slaughterhouse. She has a wealth of charity finance experience and is a qualified accountant (ACCA). She took up golf during lockdown and loves it despite being rubbish!
Lorraine Davies - Administration Manager and Volunteer Lead
Lorraine has worked with Charity since 2018 and is key to organising everything and everyone in the team! Lorraine also supports our volunteer programme and is instrumental in organising our events. It is Lorraine who responds to all of Escape Arts queries and she can also be seen supporting many of our projects, putting her creative and green fingers to good use!!
Gill Cleeve - Operations Manager and Health & Safety Lead
Gill began her role as Operations Manager & Health & Safety Lead in February 2022. Gill looks after the Escape Arts van, is also the Designated Safeguarding Lead, Mental Health First Aider & helps out with the Youth Team. Gill is a nominated Trustee for Stratford Town Trust and was elected to the Town Council in 2019. She is passionate about the town & supporting its residents & is heavily involved in several local community organisations. She helped to set up & volunteers with the Avon Valley Community First Responders; is a leader with Stratford Girlguiding & is a volunteer chaperone for several local youth organisations.
Sarah Cowley-Catchpole - Youth Work Coordinator
I am passionate about working with young people, my role as Youth Work Coordinator is so exciting, challenging & rewarding. Meeting local young people, building trusted relationships & being a supportive part of their journey into adulthood is a constant inspiration. Co-creating a brand-new universal youth service in Stratford with local young people & our amazing team is an absolute pleasure, it goes from strength to strength. I am also the link worker for our Grow, Cook & Create group at the beautiful Lifeways garden. Bringing people together in nature & creativity throughout the seasons is one of the highlights of my week. I am basically a big kid at heart which is probably why I love my job so much! I love being outdoors whenever I can, downhill mountain biking, walking & kayaking.
Liam Alexandru - Digital Content Creator & Youth Project Support
Liam has always had a passion for telling stories. However, he’s found in recent years to tell a story is easy, but to feel a story is something completely different. Working as an actor and writer for eight years, Liam transferred his creativity to the other side of the camera with the onset of COVID-19. Now the co-founder of Shipwreck Productions, Liam is proud to have honed his creative skills with Escape Arts as their Digital Content Coordinator and DND Society Dungeon Master.
Corinne Davies - Community Liaison Coordinator & Volunteer Support for Nuneaton
Corinne is a creative wheeler and dealer across the Nuneaton projects. She was instrumental in setting up Men’s Shed and more recently the Station Gallery. Corinne now manages the gallery and supports the Nuneaton In Stitches and Platform 1 Crafts.
Nick McCarthy - Youth Project Link Coordinator and Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Lead
Originally from San Francisco, Nick spent over 10 years working as an ABA therapist for children and young adults with learning disabilities. His love of travel bought him to the UK shores in 2018 where he has now happily putting down roots. Nick has worked for Escape Arts since 2021 as the Youth Project Link Co-Ordinator and Equality, Diversity & Inclusivity Lead, where his roles see him working with a diverse variety of people and includes planning, preparing and executing group sessions. In his spare time he enjoys listening to true crime podcasts, singing kitchen karaoke with his French Bulldog and searching for the best burrito in the UK.
Mel Beech - Link Coordinator for Nuneaton Escape & Platform1Crafts
Mel supports Nuneaton Escape and Platform 1 Crafts as their Link Coordinator, acting as the main point of contact for the participants, supporting them during sessions and supporting the Programme Manager in the planning of sessions to suit the needs of the group.
What our visitors say...
We had a lovely time visiting, enjoying the exhibits and tea & cake! Yummy! We think Emma and the team are first class… Keep shining!
The Timlins, Leamington Spa
Love this gorgeous find! A warm welcome and a step back in time, sprinkled with art!
The Johnsons, Saffron Walden
I’m an American tourist and this is the BEST place I have visited in England! They were so generous and welcoming! 100 out of 10 would recommend!
Anita Labelle, Boston