Who we arewe're a group of motivated citizens...
We’re motivated citizens who just want to do our part and do some good. In fact, it was just that sort of conversation around a little table at a community event in Paignton in 2017 that inspired us to start up Local Spark Torbay. There’s lots to do and plenty of ways to get involved. We invite you to get in touch or come to one of our events.
co-founder and director
Chris has set up and run various successful social enterprises over her career. She set up a Local Exchange Trading Scheme (LETS) in Bracknell, Berkshire; co-owned and ran an organic food retail shop for 6 years; and helped establish community-owned Co-op including village shop and Post Office. Chris has also served as a Business Support Adviser helping women in remote rural areas develop small businesses. She’s alos a mentor to the Manager of Hele’s Angels project in Torquay and has been a Prince’s Trust Business Mentor, 2014-2018. Before that, she spent 15 years as a human resources professional in high tech companies. And she has worked with Local Authorities on Local Agenda 21.
co-founder and director
Jay brings a wealth of experience in entrepreneurship, sustainability, and local economic development. He’s also a co-founding member of the Totnes REconomy Project
and sssociate lecturer in economics at Plymouth University. He also co-developed the REconomy Project’s Local Economic Blueprint course and handbook.
Has led workshops and given talks in Europe, USA and Japan, spent 10 years as entrepreneur and consultant in the ‘green business movement’ in San Francisco, and before that 12 years in Silicon Valley.
Andrew specialises in local economic regeneration through community wealth-building, creating local social enterprises and developing climate emergency action plans. A former solicitor, he advises on legal forms for social enterprises, as well as strategic and business planning. He is a licensed community shares practitioner, allowing him to award the Community Shares Standard Mark. He is also a Hive co-operative support provider.
Andrew is committed to helping communities and councils achieve net zero carbon emissions rapidly. He is an active member of ACTion on Climate in Teignbridge, a community-led CIC which supports Teignbridge District Council, town and parish councils, community groups and residents to make the district carbon neutral, sustainable, resilient and healthy. He co-develops procurement initiatives which support local and net zero carbon purchasing.
A highly experienced Finance Director, Board member and NED, Andrew works with start-ups, SMEs and third sector organisations, building resilience into their operations and helping them make the most of the twin resources of time and
money, so they can better realise their aspirations.
With an international corporate career spanning 30 years, he specialises in business strategy and planning, finance/fundraising, cash flow management, designing and helping implement effective operational systems and processes, stakeholder communications and exit planning.
Andrew’s approach focuses on building great relationships that ensure finance and management integrate fully with, and enhance all other areas of, an organisation.
Funders & Partners
“I believe that Torbay’s greatest undervalued resource is its people.
Younger people have energy, creativity and enthusiasm but very few outlets for them.
older people have a wealth of skills and experience but are often undervalued and sometimes isolated.
My role is to be a catalyst, so that Local Spark can provide solutions for both age groups by bringing them together to thrive and succeed.
This will, in turn, bring new products and services to the communities around Torbay, enabling local investors to commit to the success of our local economy in these uncertain times.”
“One of the key ways to address the lack of economic opportunities for young people in Torbay is to be a catalyst – a spark – for a new kind of entrepreneurial culture, involving members of the community in the process of supporting young entrepreneurs who will be the engine for change.”
“ To me Local Spark is all about communication. It brings people together who otherwise might never cross paths, and gets them talking, learning and exchanging ideas to create something amazing. ”
“ is essential for local communities to grow and to thrive. I also believe that everybody has a talent or a skill and can bring value to their community.”