Using our local knowledge and sector expertise we are uniquely placed to identify, broker and connect new and innovative ways of working that address local challenges.
Colab Exeter (previously Exeter CVS) has been running for more than 75 years.
Our Team are available to discuss new initiatives and collaboration projects as well as provide consultancy, coaching and infrastructure support to organisations, individuals and social entrepreneurs who share our vision, mission and values. Contact Us for more information.
Amanda joined CoLab Exeter (then Exeter CVS) in 2012 as part of The Devon Transforming Local Infrastructure Project. This was the local iteration of a national initiative to develop more “progressive” support options for the growing number of social purpose organisations in the county. This role gave her a great insight into not only the local VCSE transformation agenda, but also the aspirations of a range of communities, and the wider strategic goals of public and private sector organisations. In 2014 she progressed first to Business Development Manager, and then Deputy CEO as the new CoLab Exeter initiative opened in 2016. Amanda has led the organisation since April 2019, with fantastic support from the CoLab team, trustees and wider hub community.
"These last eight years have been some of the most challenging and rewarding of my whole career. When I joined the organisation on a six month contract in 2012, I certainly never imagined I would get the opportunity to not only still be here, but go on to lead it!
CoLab is an extraordinary place, filled with inspirational, hard-working people who are passionate about social justice, empowerment and equality. I have learned something from every single person who has come through our doors, and always strived to find ways not just to sustain the work but to help it evolve and adapt.
2020 has already been a year like no other, but we have been able to pull together as a hub community and do some incredible work, with and for people who are part of our extended family. I am excited about the next chapter, and looking forward to working with partners new and old."
Amanda’s background is in nursing originally, where after working in emergency nursing, she developed one of the first nurse-led complementary health services in the country. This led to a BSc (Hons) Health Science Degree, and a Masters in Research, specialising in Participatory Action Research for Social Change and a teaching qualification. Since 2004 Amanda has worked within a variety of transformation agendas in the North West (Towards Transformation: The impact of Culture Creativity and the Arts on Health and Wellbeing at MMU; Liverpool 08 Capital of Culture) and in her role as Senior Consultant at Institute of Public Care (Oxford Brookes University) where she supported local authorities implement a range of projects including outcome-based commissioning, Children’s Plan and service transformation. In 2017 she became a Clore Social Fellow, focusing on cross-sector collaboration. As Director of Social Innovation at CoLab she has brought these skills and knowledge into a new multi-agency environment, and seen them thrive.
Fiona is passionate about learning and innovation as the tools to bring about personal and social change. She has wide ranging experience as an educator leading on research and practice in academic settings, the private sector and the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector (VCSE). Fiona's special interests are in equality and inclusivity for marginalised communities, and individuals facing multiple disadvantage. Fiona is motivated to bring new opportunities through innovation and learning to promote independence and autonomy in order to improve lives and communities.
Fiona has a degree in adult and community learning with a focus on education as tool for social change. Currently she is using this knowledge and CoLab experience whilst studying a MA in Education and Leadership. She has worked locally, nationally and internationally designing and faciltating a range of adult and community learning provision. Fiona is priviliged to be Director of Learning and Innovation at CoLab.
Fiona is also a mum to 2 teenage boys and has put the hours in beside cold rugby pitches, being a one person Uber service and pretending to laugh at terrible you tube videos.
Amy joined Colab Exeter in 2017 after relocating back to Devon from London. Her background is in adult social care and support work for people with learning disabilities and autism. Starting out as a volunteer in 2000 Amy worked for a variety of organisations delivering therapuetic and learning support activities to children and adults with multiple and complex needs in learning and daytime activity settings.
Amy has been involved in charity management and leadership for over 10 years, running a busy community centre, managing projects, and overseeing HR and Operations for front line delivery organisations. As part of the leadership team Amy now supports Colab with the management of Finance, HR, and Business Operations.
Amy believes in the positive opportunities that are offered to the sector through collaborative working, and is motivated by being part of a team that is working to build innovative solutions that improve resilience, inclusion, and diversity in our communities.
Jeanie has worked at CoLab for four years, firstly as Early Help Coordinator for Exeter and now as Manager of the Resilient Women Programme. She has spent most of her career supporting children and families, particularly those who may be most marginalised. She is an experienced writer and trainer and has co-authored several publications on improving health outcomes for children and young people.
Jeanie is passionate about improving outcomes for women across the spectrum and about enabling their voices to be heard and acted upon.
Jo Joined CoLab Exeter in 2004 and has worked within the Learning team throughout her 16 years at CoLab and is now the Learning Programme Manager. Jo works closely with our partners, tutors, volunteers and learners to provide an Adult Community Learning Programme which is packed full of varied and accessible free learning opportunities.
Jo has a real passion for learning and helping others continue their lifelong learning journey. Jo also is keen to explore wellbeing in the workplace across all Hub organisations.
Outside of work Jo has two young children and also is an online fitness, lifestyle and wellness Ambassador and one day hopes to bring free community Hula Hoop & HIIT courses to her local community to help women connect, feel good about themselves and have fun while doing it whilst not impacting on people financially. Free movement is the best movement!
Stuart joined CoLab Exeter in August 2019. Having previously been based in the building for many years. Stuart has 13 years’ experience as a Chief Executive in the voluntary sector; for both mental health and homeless charities.
Stuart enjoys partnership working and innovation; two passions which are supported by EHP’s commitment to coproduction. He is also passionate about involving people with a lived experience of homelessness in how decisions that affect them are made.
Maresa has been coordinating Better Health Exeter since November 2019, which aims to support local people to better manage and improve their health. Prior to this she worked in community food and the local food and farming sector for 15 years. This included working as a consultant for Food Exeter, managing the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Network, setting up her own local organic vegan cafe Moose’s Kitchen, coordinating a national Food Co-ops programme, the Good Food on the Public Plate project at Sustain, and also working as a Five a Day Coordinator and Food and Health specialist for Hastings Primary Care Trust. She has also worked in fundraising and marketing for national animal charities. Maresa studied Environmental Science at University and Environment, Development and Policy. Maersa is a single mum and so spends the rest of her time looking after her 5 year old daughter and trying to get her to eat some vegetables!
Having worked and volunteered in the field of social inclusion within the VCSE sector for the past 15 years, Ella has spent the last 3.5 years Co-ordinating Wellbeing Exeter, a city-wide partnership that provides social prescribing and asset-based community development to improve health and wellbeing and build healthy, resilient communities.
With a background in social anthropology and a passion for inclusion and equality, Ella is committed to responding to the needs of excluded communities, and building more integrated and healthier communities.
Working at Colab has been fantastic (if a little hectic some days!) for the Wellbeing Exeter Project, enabling partnership building, joint problem solving, and keeping up to date on all things public and voluntary sector.
John joined CoLab Exeter in 2002, initially collaborating on youth engagement projects before focusing on the part that volunteering and positive activity can play in improving people’s mental health and wellbeing.
John is passionate about personal development, and is convinced that giving people the opportunity and encouragement to take part in meaningful and interesting activities, helps them to recover and develop their sense of identity and belonging, reconnecting them with their communities, their environment, and themselves.
Kate joined CoLab in December 2018, she has worked in mental health and the women’s sector for several years, she is passionate about working with those who have experienced gender-based violence and those living with a mental health diagnosis, her approach is relational, person-centered and trauma-informed.
Kate works for the Resilient Women Programme and holds a caseload supporting women who have had contact with the Criminal Justice System to ensure they have access to as many opportunities as possible that will help build quality, joy and resilience into their lives, this is achieved through bespoke and relational working with the individual and contributing to a team around the woman working well together for her.
Debbie has been working with Colab Exeter and previously Exeter CVS for 13 years. Debbie works 3 days a week looking after venue hire and the daily admin involved with running the hub.
Debbie enjoys supporting the team and having the opportunity to meet and talk to all the people and organisations that visit the hub for venue hire, meetings and training courses.
"Working at the Colab Hub is very positive in so many ways and it is amazing to work alongside all the other organisations and projects based here, seeing and hearing what they do for the community is amazing".
Kye joined the team in July 2019. Prior to this, he had worked as a member of the Homeless Outreach Team for over 12 years and brings his passion and experience of supporting complex and vulnerable people to ensure that all visitors to Colab feel welcome & safe.
In these challenging & unprecedented times, Kye is once again supporting the homeless community with the Outreach Team.
Kye lives in his caravan & enjoys panoramic views of Exeter with his games console, laptop & guitars.
Cassie joined Colab in July 2019. She has a background working in Mental Health in the community and in hospitals. Cassie assists with supervising the Welcome Team in supporting and signposting visitors of CoLab and also supporting our team of volunteers with their development and training.
Cassie’s passion is in wellbeing and mental well health, having studied Psychology at University and volunteered in hospitals and refuges in Sri Lanka.
Cassie feels that being a part of the CoLab team not only enables her to do meaningful work that she loves but also connect with brilliant people and learn more about our community, promoting a healthy and inclusive place for everyone. Outside of work Cassie loves being outdoors, on a bike or roller skates – or a plane to somewhere nice and hot!
Flora joined the team in 2020, shortly after first coming to CoLab Exeter as a Social Work MSc student on a practice learning placement. She works together with Jeanie and Kate of the Resilient Women programme to support group sessions. Flora loves helping women learn about their own strengths and live full, empowered lives.
Flora lives in Exeter with her two cuddly cats, and is continuing to study towards her Social Work MSc with a special interest in social work with adults.