The Living Vital team brings together a vast array of skill sets and experiences covering most bases giving us great foundations to build on.
Meet everyone below.
Alexandra Cotter – Co-founder and Director
A qualified permaculturist and horticulturalist Alex has a real passion for gardening and food growing. Her first foray into food growing was working in London on Urban Agriculture projects and supporting the delivery of global food growing initiatives through her work at an international research and development centre. She spent her free time teaching food growing and environmental awareness to kids in primary schools. Moving back to her hometown of Brighton she set up Project Green with the YMCA before founding Living Vital. The heart and hearth of the project she will often be found talking and laughing with the plants, animals and humans at the garden.
Nick Grist – Co-founder and Trustee
Nick formerly ran a successful international education research and development charity working on projects across 6 continents. The projects have ranged from improving the yields of women smallholder farmers in Africa to improving literacy amongst the English prison population. A qualified nutritionist, trainer and keen woodworker he brings a variety of skills and expertise to Living Vital. A love of food, travel and different cultures mean he will always be hovering around the fire pit when the refugee and migrant cooking sessions are taking place, and he is just as happy when the food has been eaten sharing stories round the fire.
Melissa Amoridge – Trustee
Melissa has lived in Colombia, Japan and Germany as an English teacher, before moving to Sussex to study anthropology and make a career in the charity sector. She has led several successful tenders as Business Development Manager at Barnardo’s, and has now followed her heart to their Equality, Diversity and inclusion team, where she endeavours to help the organisation better serve the UK’s diverse communities. Having wandered down to the garden as a student one afternoon in 2019, she hasn’t been able to keep away since. She has learned a lot about food growing, land management and construction projects, and feels privileged to have watched the project grow from taking on its first few volunteers, to obtaining charitable status and boldly planting kiwis.
Roxana Khan-Williams – Trustee
Roxy, originally from the rolling hills of North Yorkshire, moved down to Brighton in 2014 to study International Relations and Development and an MA in Conflict, Security and Development at Sussex University. She has long been involved in activism, with a focus on refugee rights and anti-racism. She has been a campaigner in various charity and start-ups, including the anti-fascist organisation HOPE not hate and the worker-led online community, Organise. She helped birth the Common Ground project while working for Alex and Nick at their Brighton cafe and is absolutely delighted that it has been able to grow into the perfect concoction of her love for food growing (and eating!) and passion for refugee rights. She may still not be blessed with the green fingers, but she is a dab hand at jewellery making, and has her own little business, Bombie Bling (and a % of the takings go to help fund the project).
Rachel Limage – Trustee
Rachel is a Brighton local, having lived in the area for most of her life, and a recent Masters graduate in Social Anthropology from Sussex University. She is deeply passionate about community empowerment and have an interest in all things outdoors! Alongside Living Vital, she is currently setting up a Bushcraft and Forest School that aims to reconnect people with nature and the environment, through the sharing of traditional skills and knowledges. Rachel is looking forward to seeing how the land at Living Vital becomes used as a site for rekindling relationships with the earth and each other.
Adam Weston – Trustee
Adam has spent his working career in the digital learning industry mixing his wide range of creative skills with his love of education. Alongside this, he has spent time living in Peru working for an NGO with adults and children within a small community. It is this sense of community that most excites Adam about Living Vital. He is excited to bring people together to create something incredible, make people feel a part of something, in our separated and individualised society, while developing something more than the sum of its parts. He is always keen to learn while always being ready for a conversation whether that be about the latest cricket scores or the world around us.
Sailesh Beejadhur – Refugee and Migrant Co-ordinator
Sailesh comes from a farming background and has a love of good food and working on the land. He is an excellent cook showcased by his signature biryani dish which dazzled the group on its first appearance. He joined the Living Vital team through his role as assistant volunteer co-ordinator with Voices in Exile where he helps facilitates the sessions with us, looks after the participants and brings his humour and positivity to proceedings. He also volunteers for the Cornerstone food bank and is always looking for opportunities to get involved in his community and help others. There is always laughter involved when Sailesh is around and loves to look after others as the project’s official king of the tea break.