Friendship Cohousing at Maningham – Current Members

Penelope Benians

Penelope has lived and travelled all over the world. She is passionate about nature and finding a way to live holistically. She’s a Mum and Grandmother. She’s been a school teacher, riding teacher, TEFL teacher, counsellor and massage therapist…a gardener, a Whole Foods shop assistant, a Carer for the elderly… Now she thinks Community is the way forward…

Jackie Carpenter

Jackie was a founder member of Trelay Cohousing Community in Cornwall where she lived for 12 years. She built a tiny house there and wrote a book, “Hope on the Slope”. She has been a Director of the UK Cohousing Network for several years. Jackie has had considerable experience with the legal, financial and planning aspects of rural cohousing, and her on-line course in September 2020 “Cohousing in Country Buildings” was well-received. She is a Quaker, a chartered engineer used to managing large projects, a sustainability and renewable energy consultant, a granny, and a winner of cups for vegetables in the local show. She loves wildlife and the sea.

Mike Carpenter

Mike (no relation to Jackie) was born in Mount Hawke which is about 6 miles from Maningham. He was brought up a Quaker and went to Friends School, Saffron Walden. He has spent most of his life teaching workshop and technology subjects: woodwork, metalwork, technical drawing and some electronics, and became head of the Design Department at Stowe public school. As well as teaching, for four years he was a carriage builder making show horse-drawn vehicles and for ten years he manufactured polo mallets, having learnt to do it in Argentina. When he worked in Zambia, first as a teacher and then a chief technician at the University School of Engineering, Mike farmed vegetables and chickens in addition to his full-time job. Later in life, he competed in carriage driving. With his very talented horse, he came third in a class at the National Championships one year. He was put in charge of polo at Stowe School and found playing polo very exhilarating. Mike is extremely concerned with climate change and the reluctance of governments to bring C02 emissions under control. Now 80, he hopes to spend the rest of his days living peaceably at Maningham, helping people and making things.

Michael Dyer

Michael is husband to Catharine and a father, grandfather, civil engineer and cabinet maker: these are some of the elements that inevitably shape him. He has lived and worked in a variety of countries and has a love for many things from the natural world and in particular gardening, wild flowers, butterflies, birds and fungi and a deep concern about the climate and ecological emergencies. Michael likes to keep fit and enjoys hiking, outdoor swimming, mountain biking, yoga and generally being active and moving. He is willing to give most things a try. A bit of a Greek-o-file. At 69, he is still on a journey, still developing and wanting to grow. Community, friendship, honesty and integrity are important for how he wants to live and he believes these provide a basis for a more sustainable and sharing lifestyle.

Niki Green

Niki Green grew up in the south east and studied Anthropology and Social Science at the University of Lancaster. She has always been interested in intentional communities and wrote her degree dissertation on this topic. After graduation and assorted jobs – as a research assistant, gardener and TEFL teacher amongst others- she trained as a medical herbalist. This was the first full-time, degree-level training course in the UK, focussing on European and North American traditions and leading to membership of the National Institute of Medical Herbalists. She practised as a consulting  medical herbalist for many years. More recently Niki studied for a post graduate teaching qualification and worked as an adult education teacher alongside a small business making silver jewellery cast from natural objects. She is a member of a local artist’s co-operative gallery. Niki is excited by the opportunity afforded in the cohousing community to grow a medicinal plant garden and teach others how to take control of their own health by growing and using a range of indigenous plants.

Catharine Gunningham

Catharine is 69 and married to Michael Dyer. She is an Alexander Teacher and loves working one to one and hands-on, a complete contrast to her previous work for publishers and voluntary organisations. She was born and brought up in London but has always had a strong affinity with nature.  She loves being outdoors, growing vegetables organically, and walking and swimming. She is passionate about the environment and the Climate Emergency and wants to live with others equally concerned.

Richard Hall

Richard Lannowe Hall is 69, a father and grandfather with family in Cornwall and lives in his campervan in Cornwall. He’s a Quaker and an active member of Extinction Rebellion. He has an MA from the Royal Academy of arts, and was CEO of Lannowe Oriental Textiles, an international business restoring, conserving and consulting on rare textiles and Islamic art. He has a BA psychotherapist degree and is an RYA professional skipper. Richard founded SailadayOK  and for the last 15 years he has been skipper and psychotherapist of this charity for which he given a Queen’s award for services to marine adventure therapy and addiction services in the South West of England. Today Richard still has an art studio in Cornwall and is writing two books. He is passionate about the benefits of nature and our relationship to the environment.

John Hickman

John Hickman began life in the English Midlands before moving to Yorkshire, and later to Scotland. Now retired, he has previously worked in the electronics field, and in hospitals for the NHS, but has always had a fascination for the ways of nature and enjoys natural gardening and growing edible and herbal plants. John was an early member of the WWOOF organisation and has enjoyed many experiences of working with small communities, and living amongst a few over the years, and more recently helping at a bio-dynamic garden. He also enjoys working with wood and has helped with making yurts. He believes that living in a co-housing community which is a blend of living amongst other like-minded people, whilst having one’s own private space, is a rewarding life-style.

Paul Jennings

Paul is a leading airtightness consultant, specialising in Passivhaus newbuild and sustainable refurbishment. He is a trainer and frequently speaks at conferences. He was a founder member of the Trelay Cohousing Community, where he lived for 5 years until child-care commitments required his departure. His airtightness and Passivhaus skills and experience have been utilised by several other cohousing communities during construction, including Lancaster Cohousing and most recently Colchester Cohousing. His current workload includes the Agar Grove area refurbishment project in North London, which will ultimately contain over 500 Passivhaus dwellings, the St Sidwell’s Point Passivhaus Swimming Pool and Leisure Complex development in Exeter, and the refurbishment of a former Telephone Exchange to provide premises for the Cambridge University Institute for Sustainable Learning. He is a keen hedgelayer and tree planter, and relaxes by reading, by large-scale cooking, and by struggling with Sudoku and jigsaw puzzles, of which he has too large a collection.

Kelsang Sonam

Kelsang Sonam is a 71-year-old Buddhist monk who has followed Buddhism for 53 years and has been ordained for over 20 years. He started his working life down the coal mines; and then became a cabinet maker. He has lived in communities for over 30 years from eco villages to Buddhist. He loves trees and woodland and is at one with nature, into loving and respecting the earth. He has worked in care, and with people who have special needs, and has done a lot of work with the homeless and rough sleepers.

Felicity Sylvester

Felicity (Fliss) was born in Derby but has lived in the West Country most of her life – in Bristol and in North Devon mostly in Appledore. Felicity is a trained town planner, adult education tutor and ex fishwife and has been selling fish and educating all ages about local fish and fish cookery for the past 40 years. After college she worked as the Bristol Adventure Playground organiser and was the National Playing Fields Association Regional Officer for the West Country and then the North Devon Community Health Council Administrator before marrying and becoming a partner in Sylvester Seafoods: trawler owners and fish sales. From 2000 she worked in Cornwall and Devon as a community town planner. Felicity is now retired but still runs a Sustainable Fish Education project in North Devon, Plymouth and Cornwall. She has been involved with community projects and local seasonal food promotion all her life. Felicity is a Quaker. She likes all types of live music, arts and crafts, animals and plants and all things marine: being on a boat and swimming. She is interested in cooking for the community but also wishes to help establish the forest garden, and with preserving all the food we forage, grow, keep and catch.