Our passionate team

We’re just a group of people determined to make a difference exploring creative activities that guide us all to more healthy & sustainable lifestyles 

Alistair Gould

Projects & Enterprises

Experience

Alistair has worked with land and property over many years with experience in various industry sectors in the field of low carbon design, research and  project co-ordination. 

Alongside Alistair’s qualifications as a Chartered Surveyor and Chartered Environmentalist is his experience and passion in the field of Permaculture, which is a primary area of his continuing personal and professional development.

He has contributed substantially to various environmental education  initiatives with school groups in London and the South East.  Alistair continues to work with public and private sector organisations that are  making changes to operations to reflect deep cuts in carbon emissions alongside systemic other positive environmental actions.   He is progressing this work through his roles at Helionix Designs and the Carbon Free Group

Personal

I enjoy getting lost – at least for a little while!..it really helps the creative process.


My favourite places for getting lost are the natural world – with its many layers of life (and death) -.and in music.  I used to play musical instruments many years ago and I plan to get back to doing so, in the company of others, at Furnace Brook – when we form the ‘Rubbish Music quartet’ (using instruments from our ‘upcycle me’ pile!).


My least favourite places for getting lost are Shopping malls and airports (I avoid these at all costs!).

Bigger Picture

“You can never change things by fighting current reality.  To change something build a new model which makes the existing model obsolete!”   Buckminster Fuller

 

In 1979 I spent a year working and travelling in North America.   I had the opportunity to witness on the west coast some emerging new models of sustainable living, whilst reading books exploring the same themes, the most prominent being ‘The Limits to Growth’.  This combination – of both intellectually appreciating the absurdity of believing in infinite growth (of  mankind’s consumerism and consumption of the earth’s natural resources) on a finite planet and witnessing how compelling and realistic a ‘sustenance’ way of life can be – has helped provide impetus to many activities I have been involved in.


Now we are very clearly at the buffers of the limits to growth accurately foretold by the team from MIT in the 1970s (who were authors of the book) we are responding to these circumstances as best we can through our activities here at Furnace Brook.  In particular we recognise that we owe it to our children, grandchildren and generations still to come to demonstrate a positive and regenerative pathway through the times we are living in.

Dave Jones

Outdoor Education & Innovation

Experience

Dave has over 40 years experience in delivering and implementing a wide range of outdoor activities and design approaches. His varied roles include Tutor, Outdoor Animator, Survival Skills trainer, Woodsman and Experienced Permaculture Design coordinator.  

Personal

As a kid I grew up in Anglesey. There wasn’t a big town so everything was always local, we didn’t need anything else; fish from the harbour, veg and eggs from your or your neighbour’s garden.

Then I joined the army & every time I came home on leave I was disgusted to see the increased commercialisation & waste, all this stuff & it’s all for nothing

Bigger Picture

It’s obvious, we’re all done for otherwise

Diane Gould

Brewing, Equestrian & Community events

Experience

Diane has over 30 years experience in community led fundraising through her work as Pearly Queen, raising money for numerous charities.

Confident & bubbly, Diane is always happy to get up in front of a crowd (& gets them singing along in no time.)

Diane is trained in many different areas; is a fully qualified clinical  hypnotherapist (London school of hypnotherapy) & has undertaken a Permaculture Design Certificate

Personal

Diane is the Pearly Queen of St Pancras

The Costermongers worked hard and played hard – always ready for a sing song and a good old knees up in the local battle cruiser (boozer)

There was great camaraderie especially the service the Costers gave to the local community; be it fruit and veg or a listening ear, the sharing of stories good and not so good – all this created a bond and trust that was built up around the market and surrounding community.

Mum and Dad met hopping down in Kent and our annual holiday was always hopping – six weeks of carefree wonderful adventurous times in the lovely Kent countryside. We could fish, climb trees, make camps, explore and any other activity that a child could dream up in the great outdoors.

Bigger Picture

When I was growing up we didn’t waste anything, we were taught the value of things.


Seeing the change in the last few decades towards a throw-away culture, it troubles me. We’re going to run out of resources & ruin our planet with the devastating effect we’re having on the natural world.


For me I felt it was time to stand up & do something

Hannah Sindall

Architect & Landscape Designer

Experience

Hannah’s professional areas include Architecture, Landscape Design and Horticulture. 

Having qualified as an Architect her passion for gardens and the natural landscape in general has resulted in her past and present project portfolio including landscape and horticultural design alongside conventional building designs.  Her combination of skills and passions provides the ideal base for the design team’s approaches to nature-inspired architecture.

Recently Hannah has been working with children with emotional trauma. Using horticulture for recovery & development, bringing about self-identity & a sense of belonging.

Personal

I always wanted to be out in the open air. The natural world is fascinating & provides me a seemingly infinite amount to study & allows me to always be problem solving

The Bigger Picture

We have to work together, we can’t afford not to.

Richard Reading

Planting, Landscaping & Food Growing

Experience

18 years as a farmer, using organic methods for food production.

Personal

I always wanted to work outside, I’ve always loved growing things.

The Bigger Picture

At 19 years old I spent a year in Africa, it was the most important year of my life.

I saw how people used things, learnt to fix them. I’ve used this knowledge every day since.

I saw how people struggled for the bare necessities of survival, after that a lot of first world problems seemed insignificant, the need for more things seemed trivial, the need to learn to make do and mend seemed more vital.

Kristian Bird

Architectural Designer & Building Materials Researcher

Experience

Through a background in the adventure sports industry, Kristian has developed a keen interest in the wild outdoors. Alongside an education in sustainable architecture, he has managed to marry these two interests at Helionix Designs, in developing materials and designs for healthier places.

Kristian joined the team in 2014 on an internship placement as part of the ongoing research programme in ultra low impact construction. His current work includes leading the various architectural materials research projects within the group.

Personal

Having lived abroad for most of his childhood, Kristian only returned to England in 2003 where he was exposed to the issue of ‘sustainability’. Through his undergraduate architectural career his design projects focused on community buildings and their relationships to natural systems and networks.

The Bigger Picture

Claire Ellison

IT & Design

Experience

 Claire has been building websites since she was 13 (she’s now……. well let’s just say it still has a 3 in it and leave it there). She also has a Bsc in Sustainable Product Design with professional experience & a Permaculture Design Certificate.

She advises on new product development and handles all things techie.

Personal

Claire grew upon a permaculture plot in Guildford (where we were considered a bit odd by local standards).

 

As mum had her own business in IT Claire grew up surrounded by computers and quickly became the one mum called on for techie advice.

The Bigger Picture

With only 12 years left if we carry on as we are, why aren’t we all passionate about sustainability?

Gaynor Le Teace

Admin

Experience

Having worked for years in NHS administration Gaynor now works for citizen advice two days a week as both an advisor and universal credit specialist, helping people apply for benefit, seeing what’s available for them and supporting them through the application and beyond.

At Furnace Brook Gaynor supports us all with our administrative tasks, helps organise events, finds keys, sends leaflets, curates the exhibits, cajoles horses, gets us licensed, does risk assessments, supports volunteers, generally makes sure we’re all proper (at work at least)

Personal

I love to travel, to see the sights, especially anything historical. Got a husband and two wonderful kids.

I enjoy trying new things, I love that I’m in a different place every day doing different things, I always seem to be organising people (and aren’t we glad!)

The Bigger Picture

I like the community aspect of Furnace Brook, getting people out here. At citizens advice I see people that need an awful lot of help.

I love how inclusive Furnace Brook is, I love how people can come out here and be in a stress free environment. So many people have so much stress in their lives

Simon Dole

 Fishery Bailiff & Woodsman

Experience

15 years as bailiff.

Level 1 fishing coach, soon to qualify as a level 2 fishing coach.

Personal

I’ve been fishing for more than 25 years, I love being outside, the peace & quiet. When I’m fishing I feel I’m part of nature, I get to see things I otherwise wouldn’t see.

The Bigger Picture

Managing the lake is important to me, the natural feel to it.

To be in nature, to be part of it, you get more wildlife, more butterflies, moths & bees. Without the naturalistic planting the fish can’t eat or breed so for me it’s a no-brainer really.

Our fabulous partners

We recognise that you cannot change the world on your own &

we are delighted to work with: