I’ve run my own business in Todmorden since 1989, initially a women’s roofing and building business (Amazon Nails) then Straw Works (now Wellspring Architecture) and since 2014 also the School of Natural Building. Designed & helped build 2-300 affordable & healthy buildings. Author of ‘Building with Straw Bales’ Through an Interreg funded project - UpStraw, wrote the Technical Guide to Straw Construction and produced the UK EPD for straw.
I’m also a Technical Consultant for EcoCocon pre-fabricated straw panels bringing affordable healthy housing to a wider audience, and helped set up the Climate Challenge @Tod College course, teaching the Natural Building module. Founder member of the Alliance of Sustainable Building Products, member of the Building Limes Forum and the Association of Environment Conscious Builders and Women & Manual Trades. Woman of Outstanding Achievement Award (UKRC), Lifetime Achievement Award (Women in Construction). Founding member (Acting Chair) of Todmorden Learning Centre & Community Hub. Worked with the Sisterhood & After project with British Library on my work in the Women’s Liberation Movement.
I’m an entrepreneur, carpenter & joiner, designer, teacher, consultant, member of the local lesbian community and have starred in Dragon’s Den, Country File, with my work featuring on Grand Designs.
Catherine Bann was appointed Secretary to the Board in December 2018. She grew up in neighbouring Rossendale, was educated at Cambridge University, and started her career in qualitative market research.
She has spent many years community organising, being Chair of a local Tenants Association in Manchester during some major projects. She worked for Yorkshire Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and is now a COVID 19 Community Response Coordinator for Calderdale, as well as being the Clerk to Blackshaw Parish Council.
Originally from Berkhamsted in Hertfordshire, I moved northwards in 2016 with my 2 children to Skelmanthorpe, Huddersfield. Before children I had a successful career ranging from bookkeeping, to sales administration and finally as Quality Assurance Manager for a firm in Basingstoke. I returned to bookkeeping in 2015 by re-training with the Open University, and gained ICB Membership in 2017. After working within a few accountancy firms, I set up my own bookkeeping business in 2018.
I also have a Diploma in European Humanities, studied purely for pleasure.
In 2022 I moved to Todmorden and I now work primarily from home for a number of long term clients, plus some new clients from the local area.
Both my parents played a large part in the restoration of Berkhamsted Town Hall and The Rex Cinema in Berkhamsted, bringing these wonderful buildings back to life for the community. Their community spirit has rubbed off on me and so I was very happy to be given the opportunity of being Treasurer for Tod College, and to be able to be part of such a great community hub.
I have a PhD in biochemistry from Imperial College, London awarded in 1982. I have run a small solvent business since 1984 which has morphed through several forms and continues to generate enough income for me to volunteer full time at Incredible Farm. I am a polymath, with a career spanning science (post-doctoral researcher at Dyson Perrins Organic chemistry dept Oxford), sculpture (Fielden Wharf fish commission), building renovation (12 thousand sq ft derelict mill turned into an arts centre), support work, mail order classic car parts, invented, developed and marketed a line of unique products for the classic car market (several still available under the “Grumpy’s” Brand) small scale manufacture of metal components, teaching science. I was treasurer and fundraiser for IET for the first 4 years, organising planting of 800 fruit trees round Todmorden and 90 new growing beds and author of the bulk of the early website material that continues to top the ratings. Chair of Harley Bank Community association during a multi £million housing regeneration project.
Sian has been a part of the Todmorden community for a decade and strongly believes Todmorden Learning Centre is a great asset that will help our community develop strengths and skills which will contribute to Todmorden's burgeoning sustainable economy. Sian comes from a background of teaching in higher education and also ran a stall on Todmorden Market Hall for a few years.
I have worked in the voluntary sector for the last 20 years, most of that time as founder, chair, and currently trustee, for Healthy Minds, local mental health charity. Now retired I was very keen to be involved with Tod college and to help to support its aims and its progress.