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ABOUT

We are a group of residents who have come together to buy Otley Methodist Church to preserve this for community use as Otley COMMON.  ​

We are committed and active members of the community with the knowledge, skills, and experience to make this project a success.  ​

We are doing this in our own time and will be seeking other community volunteers to get Otley COMMON for its opening in September.​

If you would like to know more about us or find out how you could join our team, please contact us by email at hello@otleycommon.org

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OUR TEAM

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Sarah Whittle

Events/Marketing

Sarah has over ten years of marketing, events and programme management experience in the public and charity sector. She currently works as Communications and Project Lead at Leeds Business School. Passionate about supporting the region’s business ecosystem through collaboration and partnership, Sarah has specialist experience of engaging with SMEs and supporting social enterprises in her role as Board Member for Social Enterprise Yorkshire and Humber (SEYH).

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Clare Smith

Operational Development

Clare was born and bred in Otley and having moved back to Otley 10 years ago she is now Chair of Otley Players, Otley’s community theatre group.​

Clare is an Executive Director of one of the largest NHS Hospital Trusts in the country and is passionate about inclusive access to the Arts for all.

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Stefanie Stead MBE

Building Development

Stefanie is an award-winning Chartered Architect who lives and works in Otley. She is the Director of Stead and Co. Architects, specialising in community consultation, collaborative design, and delivery of community and education projects, including those of a heritage nature. She was awarded an MBE for services to architecture and construction. She specialises in community, education and heritage projects, with an emphasis on inclusive and sustainable design. She is a lecturer at York College and an Inclusive Champion for the Construction Industry Council.

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Andy Boyle

Finance

Andy is a former corporate finance and strategic planning partner in an accountancy and business advisory practice.  He is a founder of Otley 2030 and Otley Energy, a Community Benefit Society.  ​

He has extensive experience sitting on and advising third sector boards and currently advises national and local government on the transition to net zero and sustainable communities.

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Andrew Howarth

Community Development

Andrew is the Community Development Lead for Otley 2030 and a Forest School Leader. He has worked in education for almost 20 years and has been a project leader in third sector organisations for over 15 years. ​

He is chair of Friends of Gallows Hill and a founder of Otley Community Land Trust.

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Ann Forsaith

Governance

Ann is a retired Secondary Science teacher with a keen interest in the environment and the local community. Ann has served on five different school Governing Bodies over a period of 25 years. Whilst working and bringing up her family in South Yorkshire, Ann contributed much to the local community, including being Chair of Montgomery Hall, an arts and community venue in Wath upon Dearne, as well as organising Wath Community festival for 12 years. Ann has recently served as a Leeds City Councillor and she moved to Otley with her partner in 2023.

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Simon Palmer

Finance/Events

Simon is a Chartered Accountant and Partner within a top 10 firm of Chartered Accountants. He has been an Otley resident all his life and has recently been instrumental in helping set up Otley Live. Simon has worked within the music industry and brings his financial awareness and local music connections to the board.

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Stephen Taylor

Branding

Stephen is a brand designer and creative strategist with 10+ years experience working with the worlds most revered design and creative agencies. He has helped global brands both big and small — build relevance in an ever changing world, and believes that design has the power to change life for better, smarter and more relevant ways we interact with the world. Clients include: Apple, Amazon, Adidas, Audi, Colorplan Papers, Cupra, Derwent London, Design Miami / Basel, Established & Son, G.F Smith, Gill Marine, H&M, Huawai, Hunter, Naim Audio, Samsung, Stella McCartney, Tom Dixon & Vitra.
Stephen moved back to Otley 5+ years ago — he believes in the power of communities can and should work together enrich our living environments for the better.

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