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Minerva Arts & Wellbeing is one of the leading arts and wellbeing organisations in the North of England. Headquartered in Sunderland, our team of expert and friendly tutors are on hand to provide you with incredible creative experiences in a range of highly sought-after disciplines. Our mission is to promote the benefits of arts and creativity for mental health and wellbeing, and to support individuals and communities in accessing these resources. We offer a variety of programmes and services, including workshops, classes, and events, all designed to inspire and empower individuals to explore their artistic passions and improve their overall wellbeing.

At Minerva Arts & Wellbeing, we are committed to providing high-quality resources and support to our clients. Whether you're looking to explore a new creative hobby, develop your skills in a particular discipline, or simply connect with like-minded individuals, we have something for you. Our team is dedicated to creating a welcoming and inclusive environment, where everyone is encouraged to express themselves and engage with the arts. To learn more about our programmes and services visit our free courses page on the website or get in touch with us today.


Welcome to Minerva Arts & Wellbeing, where creativity meets community! Our dedicated team is the heartbeat of our arts charity, bringing together a diverse group of individuals who share a common passion for the arts and a deep commitment to fostering a sense of belonging within our community.

Meet our team of friendly faces, each uniquely skilled and knowledgeable in their respective areas of expertise. From seasoned artists to community outreach specialists, our collective goal is to inspire, uplift, and create positive change through the power of the arts.

What sets our team apart is not just our expertise but our genuine enthusiasm for building connections within our community. We believe that art has the incredible ability to transcend barriers and bring people together, and our team is here to ensure that everyone feels welcome and included.

At Minerva Arts & Wellbeing, we don't just work together; we collaborate, support, and celebrate each other's strengths. Our passion for the arts is matched only by our dedication to making a meaningful impact on the community we serve.

Explore our team profiles to get to know the faces behind the scenes, and feel free to reach out. We're not just colleagues; we're a family of like-minded individuals driven by a shared love for the arts and a commitment to building a vibrant, inclusive community. Welcome to the heart of creativity and community at Minerva Arts & Wellbeing!

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Chief Executive Officer 

Mark Burns Cassell

Mark left his career working in advertising in 2013 and founded MBC Arts Wellbeing, a community interest company based in Sunderland, in order to share his love of creative arts with others in the community. At the time Mark had no idea that this initial dream would see him become CEO of Minerva Arts & Wellbeing and lead one of the biggest arts and wellbeing charities in the North of England. Mark has ambitious plans for the future, and great belief in the charity’s potential to facilitate even greater transformational change within the creative economy of Sunderland and beyond. Mark has seen first hand the power of art and wellbeing to effect lasting and lifelong positive change in the lives of others.

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Chief Operations Officer 

Lesley Dixon

Lesley is responsible for managing the operational aspects within the charity to make sure everything runs smoothly and efficiently. With a wealth of experience in education and wellbeing, from a long and distinguished career as a deputy head of a primary school, Lesley is the go-to person for ensuring all activities, workshops and services are packed with fun, creative and educational tools to develop your skills.

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Marketing Manager 

Andrew Leach

Andrew is responsible for all marketing

and communications for the organisation. You can find Andrew working on social media campaigns, marketing projects, PR campaigns and dealing with internal communications. 

With a PR background, Andrew enjoys building relationships with stakeholders to ensure they are getting the most out of their time with Minerva Arts & Wellbeing.

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Arts Tutor

Kate Allen

Kate is one of our tutors. Kate has a background in adult education and creates her own beautiful jewellery. You might have even spotted her at one of the many arts and crafts markets across the North East and further afield.

In her spare time Kate likes to explore her craft by visiting museums and galleries for inspiration. She's a regular playing roller derby and this passion has taken her all over the world. 


Arts Tutor 

Sophie Henderson

Sophie is the newest member of our team and joins with a wealth of experience in teaching. Sophie specialises in textiles and is passionate about promoting creativity and wellbeing. 

Outside of work, Sophie enjoys going to music concerts, going for walks in the countryside and spending time with her family. 

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Operational Support Assistant

Sarah Loftus 

Sarah joined our organisation in early 2023 and supports our Chief Operations Officer. Prior to joining the organisation, Sarah first took part in our fused glass course in Sunderland and then became a volunteer where she supported everyone within the organisation. 


Outside of work, Sarah enjoys being creative and is particularly passionate about working with glass.  


Building Maintenance 

Lorraine Brown 

Lorraine ensures Minerva Arts & Wellbeing is spick and span so all our learners and visitors have a fun and enjoyable experience when on site. 

Outside of work Lorraine enjoys taking her children to football and dancing and she also has a passion for animals, especially for dogs. 

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Freelance Arts Tutor 

Louise Ackroyd 

Louise is a freelance tutor here at Minerva Arts & Wellbeing, specialising in floristry and ceramics. Prior to joining the team, Louise was a teaching assistant in a primary school. 

Louise enjoys spending time with her family and travelling when not at work. 

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Freelance Arts Tutor 

Deborah Davies 

Deborah specialises in ceramics and textiles, and has a particular interest in Batik. Deborah was a secondary school teacher before leaving her role to explore new creative opportunities. 

Not only does Deborah have a passion for creativity and the arts, she is passionate about animal welfare and the environment. 

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