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Heidi Rose

Founding Director and Facilitator

Heidi Rose is the founding director of Circlewise CIC. She has been facilitating ‘council’ listening circles for over 30 years since living, training and working at the leading centre for council training in California; The Ojai Foundation. 


Heidi is also a qualified Psychotherapeutic Counsellor, Eco Therapist, Wilderness Rites of Passage Guide, Interior Alignment practitioner and Shinrin-Yoku practitioner; she is also trained in safeguarding and suicide prevention. 


Over the years, she has brought deep listening circles to a variety of settings in person and online, from intentional community or families, to one to one, therapeutically and within her marriage. She has facilitated circles for the wider community in nature, on many subjects and for different groups—she also holds circles in schools with students, parents and teachers and hosts corporate circles and council training.
 

Heidi has a passion and devotion to the power, wisdom and simplicity held in the ancient practice of sitting in a circle, listening and sharing from our hearts.

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Sam Kouzarides

Director & Facilitator

Sam Kouzarides grew up home-educated in nature and a vibrant learning community. After studying and working in conservation and environmental education he found his vocation in nature-connection mentoring. 

 

Supported by training in nature-connection facilitation and lifestage honouring and rites of passage, Sam leads nature-based courses, events and youth mentoring programs, teaches nature studies and bushcraft and offers one-to-one mentoring.

 

Sam had been involved with introducing the Way of Council to schools in Devon and holds council circles in nature connection programs and for the land-based community in which he lives. He is continually inspired by the openness these spaces create and the support they offer within a diverse range of settings.

 

Sam is passionate about exploring our nature as humans, rediscovering a more connective culture and tending our relationship to the natural world. He brings a playful element to awaken the child in all of us and likes nothing more than a good adventure.

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Ambă Lucy Chenery

Director, Facilitator & Project Support

Ambă Lucy first experienced the Way of Council in 2021 and, since then, has been continually impacted by the connection it brings. She is passionate about council’s simple yet influential nature, the power of listening deeply and how being witnessed—exactly as we are—can create an experience of shared humanity. She particularly loves offering circles for young adults, for mixed generations and for exploring life’s thresholds. 

Alongside sitting in circle herself and taking part in the Circles in Education workshops in 2022, she has primarily held circles in secondary school and college environments—she is now beginning to offer more adult circles. From this journey, she has seen first-hand how circles can profoundly and accessibly support people from all walks of life. 

Ambă Lucy has a background in Arts, Education and Wellbeing and, whilst training to be a hairdresser, is a freelance creative copywriter, workshop facilitator, visual content curator and project administrator. She is excited by experiential learning and, when facilitating council, enjoys weaving in her interest in embodiment, movement and nervous system regulation; she also loves dancing, singing and being in nature. 

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Judy Clark

Education Advisor

Judy is a highly experienced English consultant and lecturer committed to developing a value- based culture of learning and development for children and young people of all ages.

 

Trained as a primary school teacher, Judy has worked as a senior leader, local authority school improvement consultant and, for many years, as the Primary Adviser for the National Literacy Trust. She continues to lecture in English at Plymouth Marjon University and works nationally as a freelance trainer and consultant committed to opening up the treasures and delights of reading, writing and language to pupils of all ages. 

 

Judy is passionate about bringing circle practices into school and university learning communities to support teachers and pupils in empathetic listening and communication skills to underpin a curriculum where every individual’s experiences and gifts are valued. She believes that learning communities which have empathy and relatedness at their heart give secure foundations for our pupils to support their learning and development as citizens of the world and culture makers of the future.

 

She lives on Dartmoor in the shadow of Haytor and is currently reading All Those Barbarians by Martin Shaw. 

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Kate Philbin

Copywriter

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Chukumeka Maxwell

Co-founder & Advisor

Chukumeka was the Founder CEO of Action to Prevent Suicide CIC and Founder, Adviser and acting CEO for Goodwill In Action To Prevent Suicide CIO. He is a suicide prevention trainer specialising in Livingworks Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Trainer (ASIST) and SafeTalk. He is also a Compassion Circles facilitator, overall mental health and wellbeing trainer and a previous Health and Wellbeing Coach for the NHS.

 

Following ventures in the catering business, he retrained as a holistic deep tissue massage therapist, studied esoteric philosophy and was a volunteer probationary Christian-Buddhist Monk for 4 years. Following re-training as an assistant paramedic for the ambulance service, he then resigned to read Social Work. He has also been a criminal drugs support worker and a Quaker prison chaplain.

 

He worked for the NHS as a Community Development Worker, Equality and Diversity Adviser and in health promotion as a trainer and Health Improvement Specialist. He has co-authored a chapter in a book aimed at GP’s working with mental health (Psychiatry) across different cultures.

 

He was the co-founder of Circlewise CIC and Ubuntu Counselling Services. He is a registered Independent Social Worker and a part-time lecturer at the University of

Plymouth, Exeter. He also has worked as a therapeutic mentor in mental health. He is an Associate Business Mentor and School for Social Entrepreneurs Fellow and Mentor.

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Nathalie Baker

Facilitator

Natalie is a nature connection and alternative education facilitator and rites of passage guide. She works with young people in outdoors alternative education and passionately believes that each being has a unique gift within them that is waiting to be revealed and acknowledged.
 

She knows that all who wander are not lost and that our deepest moments of difficulty can bring the most potent awakenings and transformations. Through family and personal experiences of depression and feeling voiceless, Natalie has committed herself to listening deeply and raising up the voices of young people.

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Jenna Blencowe

Facilitator

Jenna is a qualified teacher and has worked across both primary and secondary schools. She has a deep interest in helping people flourish which led her to pursue a Masters in Leadership for Wellbeing in Education and worked for three years on a care farm. What was apparent from both these experiences was the immense value to our wellbeing of creating safe spaces where one feels seen and heard. It was therefore no surprise that she fell in love with council and holding circles and decided to train in this.


Jenna is also a Nature Connection Facilitator, Mentor and Eco Therapist where she aims to cultivate the quality of deep listening that council promotes in relationship to self, others and the more-than-human world.

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Rooh Star

Facilitator 

Rooh Star is a curious soul who likes to ask big questions. She has a remembering deep in her bones of a time when humans lived in harmony with the land, her creatures and each other. She is committed to working both practically and energetically to make this remembering real once more. She has been involved in environmental activism, travelled the country for years with a hand cart and built herself a turf roofed roundhouse. She is a founding member of two off grid, low impact communities in South Devon. Alongside her choice to live a simple off-grid life she has explored many healing modalities as well as training in nursing, religious studies, Shakti Dance, permaculture, sustainable land use, nature connection and more! She has been part of the holding team for many events, including women’s initiatory journeys and Earth Activist Trainings. Rooh is also an occasional singer, songwriter and performer.

Rooh is a director of Stories for Change, who run transformational and support groups rooted in presence, embodiment and improvisation.

She was introduced to the Way of Council by Rob Dreaming in 2006 and has been sitting in and holding circles regularly ever since.

Rooh brings her earthy practicality, her songs, her sense of humour and her love of the land to the spaces she holds. She loves working with Circlewise and looks forward to meeting you around the fire.

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Davide

Facilitator 

"Over the last 50 years I have worked as a school teacher, a professional gardener and a counsellor. My hobbies are stone carving, tennis, walking and chess.

 

After decades of being involved with various forms of psychotherapy and counselling, I am so pleased to have found Circlewise. It offers a very special opportunity to sit in a circle, often in nature around a fire and share your truth with others without  fear of interruption or judgement. I love the simplicity and power of circles."

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Dan Galbraibrath

Facilitator 

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Zanna Markillie

Facilitator 

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Hebe Dennison

Fundraising Intern

This is Hebe, the Fundraising Intern at Circlewise. She studies Human Geography at the University of Exeter and has a love for the surrounding Devon countryside. She joined Circlewise because she was inspired and excited by their aim to build communication and empathy skills, which she recognises the value of in modern society. As a young person, she is particularly passionate about taking circles to schools, and allowing young people to grow up with a set of communication skills in their belt. She is looking forward to working alongside the Circlewise team to help enact this vision, which has the potential to reach and benefit a wide audience. In her spare time, she plays clarinet in her university’s concert band!

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Mahni Clear

Youth Advocate

What’s your experience of circle?
"I have been around circles my entire life; I was welcomed into circles right from when I was a baby, they have been continually present in our family life, and more recently I’ve also had the opportunity to experience circles at school. I am a huge advocate for circles. I feel that they offer a different way of communicating, one which is both spacious and contained. I believe the world would be better off if circles became a normalised way of communicating and, from my experience, here’s why:

 

• Forming deeper connections: when circles came to our school I noticed that I got to know my peers so much better, which made for much stronger and deeper friendships. I felt more connected to them through sharing similar stories and experiences. It also helped with getting to know people that I didn’t know so well.
 

• Effective problem solving & conflict resolution: through circles everyone’s voice gets to be heard. The emphasis is on both listening to others as well as feeling heard yourself.  Arguments can arise and escalate when we’re in a reactive state. But when we shift from a place of reaction to deep listening, the clashing, confrontational energy is softened."


Can you share a highlight of facilitating/sitting in circle?

"I once held council for my mum at a family gathering to celebrate her birthday. It was so moving to hear stories about her, which otherwise may have got lost in general chit chat. Stepping into this way of sharing was a very connecting experience."

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Amber Worboys-Sayers

Youth Advocate

What’s your experience of circle?

"Ever since I started, I've realised how much benefit circles have had to my mental and emotional health. Circles have taught me how to listen more openly to others without initial judgement, and to listen to myself and exactly how I'm feeling. Circle has supported me in delving deeper into emotion and connection with other people, how to be spontaneous when I communicate and how to authentically connect with people in a calm, regulated way." 

 

What inspired you to become a Youth Advocate?

"I think it's really important having circles in schools and communities. People could learn about the power of listening, that you will be heard and that people are out there who will listen and hold you safely. Being a Youth Advocate means that schools may hear me and how powerful I feel this work is—it feels right to do it because it’s helped me so much and giving it back is important."

Can you share a highlight of facilitating/sitting in circle?
"It’s amazing to open up in front of complete strangers and to feel safe to do so, I’m always in awe of this as it’s such an unusual thing in today’s society. I’m so grateful for all the beautiful people I’ve sat with, this is such a highlight for me."

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Willow Loram

Youth Advocate

What do you value about circles?

"Circles have been part of my life growing up in that I have been welcomed into the circles that my parents sit in. It’s a familiar space. But recently, after attending a circle for families and also the workshops in facilitating circles, I have begun to understand why I value them so much.

 

In circles every voice is equal. In other situations it doesn’t feel like everyone gets a fair say; the space is taken up more by those who are loud and confident. I also really value that when I’m in circle it’s a space where it’s ok to bring all of myself, to share how I’m really feeling. I notice how everyone seems to drop in and share from a deeper place rather than just sharing the superficial. Sharing in this way creates such a sense of connectedness and closeness. It amazes me how close I have felt to people who I didn’t know before we sat in circle together."

What inspired you to become a Youth Advocate?

"I wanted to be a Youth Advocate because I feel that it’s important that everyone has access to a space where they can feel safe to be vulnerable and heard, to sit in circle. Sitting in circle would have been a part of everyday life and I feel we’ve lost sight of that. It would be great to normalise these places where we can share authentically."

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Ruby Sermon

Youth Advocate

What do you value about circles?

"What I value most about sitting in circle is the sense of acceptance and community that is shared between everyone. No matter how i’m feeling when I enter the space, I always feel held by everyone there and can be myself completely—and that’s worth more than anything."

What inspired you to become a Youth Advocate?

"I think what inspired me to become a Youth Advocate was wanting to give back what the Circlewise community generously gifted me. They gave me vital life skills on building connection and strengthening my empathy for others. It’s inspired me to help people and hold the space for them to express themselves without judgment. This is what I hope to give back, as well as the amazing experience of being a part of the circles."

 

Can you share a highlight of facilitating/sitting in circle?

"Every moment of sitting in circle is a highlight. But, if I had to choose, it’s one of the many moments where you’re listening to someone tell their story, wether it’s lighthearted or heartfelt, the quiet of people listening takes over, the fire glows onto faces and the sounds of nature filters through. It feels almost tribal and ancestral, I feel completely in the moment, and i’ll carry those moments with me through my life."
 

Collaborators

We're blessed to collaborate with many local organisations including Goodwill in Action to Prevent Suicide, Theatre of AwakeningChildren's Forest, Stories for Change, The Glade, The Hearth, Oakwood and Pondfield

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