Trust Chair stands down after 10 years

25th May, 2021
by Julian | 3 Min Read
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We have a new Chair of The Sharpham Trust. 

Daniel Stokes has taken over from William Lana, who has stepped down after 10 years, but who will remain a Trustee.

Said Daniel: "It's a privilege to be involved with The Trust and its wonderful work. Its values have never been more relevant."

Daniel has been a Trustee at Sharpham since 2012, bringing his prior business & charity experience and his mindfulness practice to the Trust's table.

As he steps up to the chair, he'll be overseeing the development of a new retreat venue and the 550-acre Sharpham Estate, and the consolidation of the Trust's existing work within mindfulness, meditation, nature connection and organic land management.

"Over the next few years, whilst our existing programme continues to evolve, we will broadening our mindfulness activities outdoors and widening the overall demographic of the people who use Sharpham," he said.

He has taken over from William, whose tenure was a time of growth and definition for The Trust. He became a Trustee in 2009, then Chair in 2011. During his time as Chair, a new Trust Director - Julian Carnell - was employed, a programme of regular mindfulness retreats at Sharpham House was established alongside the longstanding Barn Retreat Centre, a woodland campsite was created offering nature-connection retreats, online sales via a new website were introduced and the charity's staff numbers augmented.

During William's time at the helm, The Trust has been awarded significant funding to create and operate Mindful-in-Nature - a nature connection course for people with mental health challenges, as well as monies for rewilding on Sharpham's farmland and parkland in project Wild for People.

The Trust's mindfulness retreats & courses are reaching over 1500 people each year, a number set to rise with the opening of new retreat venue The Coach House in 2022.

Said William: "I have held the space while Sharpham has found its voice, developed its competencies, discovered its vision."

"Together with Julian Carnell becoming Director fairly early on in my chairmanship, we've been able to make the unique place of Sharpham and nurture people as they go through their own lives."

"Sharpham has been able to grow with those people, who've come on retreats and courses, who've come to our Open Days, who've participated in our projects. What we've achieved in the last 10 years is to reach more people."

"If we want to bring about change in the way in which our societies and civilisation relate to the natural world, we have to start with ourselves - and our soil. We have been enriching the soil of the Estate and sparking the growth of all the people who've been touched by Sharpham."

William said it was the right time to hand over the chair to Daniel. "Daniel has a deep meditation practice and a better sense of being able to ease into the changes of the last 5-10 years," said William. "Sharpham House is now shared with thousands of people. This period of growth and change needs to consolidate and Daniel is the person to do that."

Daniel said he would be strongly guided in his leadership of The Trust by the charity's principles of an understanding of the interconnection of life, a deep respect for the natural world and an acknowledgement of the value of stillness and awareness.

"I can't think of a time when these values have been more appropriate - particularly the principle about the interconnectedness of all things," he said.