Meet the team

Matt Ellis Principal

A very grand title! But I class myself as a learner. Everyone who comes to the college has something to teach me so we all learn from each other. I work hard to keep the resources coming in and supervise the team.

I am passionate that services should be designed by the people that use them and their voices should be heard and taken seriously.

I also facilitate a few courses which I love doing!

Rachel Dunn – Co-ordinator Kirklees

I love working at the College, meeting all our learners and watching them take positive steps to move forward in their lives is a real privilege.  Our bunch of volunteers are amazing and it is an honor to work alongside them everyday and see how much they inspire and support others.  I feel truly humbled to be part to the team. My role is really varied which I like, but largely I am responsible for putting the Kirklees Prospectus together, which is a big task and keeps me out of trouble!

Anna Kilshaw – Co-ordinator Kirklees

I work with the staff and volunteer team to develop and co-ordinate the timetable of courses we offer, with a focus on the Kirklees area. I love being part of the College and I’ve enjoyed getting to know all the wonderful people involved. I’m constantly learning from you and being inspired by you all! I particularly like the focus we have at the College on working together, mutual support and drawing on people’s strengths, and I feel lucky to be part of a community of people helping each other in this way.

My working days are Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursday mornings.

Sandra Brook – Administrator, Kirklees

I’m thrilled to join the Recovery College team and am looking forward to meeting you all. My role here is administration and I’m here to help.  I’m a local lass, but have spent much of my life abroad, living in both the Netherlands and Egypt. I still love to travel and my hobbies (aka wellness tools) include gardening, scrabble, walking and going to antique/flea markets, where I scout for miniature perfume bottles to add to my ever-growing collection!

Sarah Walinski-Kiehl – Co-ordinator Calderdale

I have been working for Calderdale & Kirklees Recovery & Wellbeing College since May 2020. I started as a Peer Project Support Worker, during this time I supported learners to get active to improve both their physical and mental health, which I really enjoyed. I have worked with some amazing learners and volunteers.

I have now undertaken the post of Recovery & Wellbeing College Co-ordinator, Calderdale. I am really excited by this new opportunity; I have wanted to work more directly with people who are struggling with mental health issues, having experienced mental health difficulties myself in the past. I believe that the reason I recovered from my own struggles is so that I can help others. I hope to support people to reach their goals and to use my experience to help people in their own mental health recovery journey.

My working days are Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday

Andrew Norfolk – Administrator, Calderdale

Hi, my name is Andrew. I’ve just joined the college (September 23).  My role here is administration for Calderdale and I’m here to help. I’m local but I have lived and worked in other parts of the UK.

I’m a keen cyclist as I come from a cycling family. For me cycling is for everyone, whether you wear the lycra or not.  Also I enjoy cooking and reading. I have a musical background as I learnt piano and church organ when I was younger, and enjoy lots of different sorts of music- classical, jazz, rock.

Sara Rose – Creative Practitioner and facilitator

Hi, my name is Sara, I have struggled with poor mental health since a teenager and was finally diagnosed with bipolar at age 40 (over 15 years ago). I have attended the Recovery College in Calderdale, and in Brighton where I used to live, as a learner which has helped me so much that I was able to volunteer as a co facilitator and later as a tutor.

I have used creativity to support my mental wellbeing throughout my life. I usually have a few projects on the go with differing levels of skill and concentration needed, so I always something creative to do. I try to incorporate some mindful techniques when creating too, getting absorbed into my creation and trying to avoid intrusive thoughts. I love to develop ideas to an end product to give as a gift for friends and family.

James Pearson – Peer Project Worker

“I have been involved with creative activities for nearly 15 years, and have volunteered for the Recovery College for around 5 years.  I love being creative myself, but also inspiring others to explore their own creativity whilst getting some therapeutic benefit at the same time.  As someone who struggles with my own long term mental health problems, I know how important having the freedom to learn a new skill and express yourself artistically can be.”

Karen Beveridge – Peer Project Worker

I first discovered the Recovery college as a learner back in 2017 when I started attending as a learner. I remember feeling lost and full of life limiting beliefs. It’s fair to say that attending the Recovery college has changed my life, giving me opportunities to develop and progress. For the past year I have been working as a tutor in the community, which I love. But coming to the Recovery college as a peer project support worker has felt like coming home.

Our Team also includes our AMAZING volunteers and Friends Of the College

There about 30-40 of us working here. Many of us have experienced mental health problems and we are passionate about the College and its values. You can find out more about us here and our stories of how we have become well:

Read some of our stories