Cotesbach Educational Trust (CET), a registered charity established in 2009, hosts and provides
learning opportunities focusing on Heritage, Environment, and the Arts. We have access to a unique
family archive dating back over 600 years, which, thanks to an extensive cataloguing process, we can
now share with the wider community. CET is managed by a Board of Trustees, a passionate team of
volunteers and supported by a small part-time executive team.
We are based in the heart of the rural Midlands, close to the meeting point of Leicestershire,
Warwickshire, and Northamptonshire.
In 2012 we were awarded £672,700 from the HLF, together with smaller match funding amounts
from a variety of funders, to restore three dilapidated buildings, create a second activity space and
re-house our unique archive.
We have a 50 year lease on the buildings and archives, from the Cotesbach Family Trust. Our site
comprises a restored Georgian Grade II listed Schoolhouse, toilets within the Victorian milking
parlour, archive storage inside the Victorian coach house and a new café/teaching space constructed
in oak and glass.
CET objectives are:
• To promote for the benefit of the public the preservation, protection and improvement of
an 18th century, listed Schoolhouse and two adjacent buildings in the grounds of the Cotesbach
Estate by creating an educational resource centre.
• To advance the education of the public, and young people in particular, in the subjects of
heritage relating to the environment, our social history and the arts and the many areas which link
• Delivering school and community group visit days and activities
• Advancing and providing learning opportunities for the wider community through access to
the family history archive
• Hosting heritage and archive open days
Louisa Beighton – Centre Manager
Louisa is Centre Manager. She manages bookings and the smooth running of the centre and will be your first point of contact when communicating with, or visiting Cotesbach Educational Trust.
Louisa has a background in design and crafts, and outside CET Louisa works as a maker, and freelance designer.
Letty Newton, Chair of Trustees
Letty is a Maths Teacher at Caludon Castle School, Coventry. Since completing Teach First in 2014, she has held various positions in schools in Knowsley, Hackney and Coventry including Head of Department and taken a lead on aspects of whole school progress, as well as having completed an MA in Educational Leadership. Prior to this she spent two years in Hong Kong establishing an extra curricular English programme. She graduated from University of Manchester in 2011 with a degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics and spent a year as General Secretary of the Students’ Union.
Amber Merrick –Potter, Vice-Chair of Trustees
Amber Merrick-Potter is an arts and heritage specialist, with over 10 years experience working in project management, event curation and creative facilitation. Amber is currently Events Manager at St Andrew’s Church Rugby, and works as a freelance consultant on public realm and greenspace development. Amber graduated with a BA from Solent and MFA from Bath Spa in Fine Arts, this led onto a successful career as an artist and curator, she has held international residencies, and has paintings in notable collections.
Ann Smith, Trustee
After more than thirty years in language teaching and educational management, Ann retired to pursue other interests including genealogy and historical research. She first came to Cotesbach to access some of its thousands of old documents but stayed on as a regular volunteer and is now also the trustee with special responsibility for the Archive.
Donna Hunt, Trustee
Donna Hunt is a Sustainability specialist, with over 20 years’ experience gained in South Africa and the UK, working across the Financial, Energy, Engineering and Construction sectors. Donna is currently Head of Sustainability at Breedon Group where she drives positive social, economic and environmental change within the organisation and engages externally with Communities, Regulators, Trade bodies, Government and NGOs. Donna has served on several cross-industry committees on sustainability-related topics and remains an active STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths) Industry Ambassador on behalf of the Mineral Products Qualifications Council (MPQC).
Jo Warmington, Trustee
Jo is currently Deputy Director at Arts Catalyst, a multi disciplinary charity that works across art, science and technology to produce ambitious new projects that critically engage with our changing world. Jo previously worked at Tate Liverpool (2014-2019) as Head of Development, where she led on the gallery’s income generation and strategic partnerships. Jo is passionate about the arts and social impact. Prior to working at Tate Liverpool she worked for a number of third sector organisations in fundraising and project management roles, and also currently manages a food poverty charity in Manchester.
Tom Hickman, Trustee
Tom is currently Orchestra Manager for Royal Northern Sinfonia. As well as having managed other orchestras including Sinfonia Cymru and Southbank Sinfonia, Tom was previously a freelance musician. He has over 7 years experience working in the orchestral sector and strives to change attitudes towards classical music and press the relevance of the arts to all.
Sophy Newton, Honorary Heritage Manager and Founder
Sophy has lived in Cotesbach since 1991 when she, husband Tom and their young family came to live ‘temporarily’ at the Hall to help her ageing grandfather, Rowley Marriott. Their combined skills and interests merged with the place, resulting in today’s thriving hub, which preserves tangible roots into the past. From the late 90s Sophy drove her vision of an educational focus for heritage, arts and environment which eventually became the CET. Her previous experience working for the Royal Collection underpinned the cataloguing of the documents at the Hall, now housed in the archive. Sophy’s sees her work as three-stranded: curating, cultivating, creating.
Andrew McKeand, Honorary Treasurer
Andrew is now retired but was formerly a senior lecturer in management at Solihull College, specialising in finance and accountancy. He has lectured and trained both in the UK and abroad and prior to his lecturing career ran an exporting company specialising in selling engineering equipment into the Middle East.