Our Staff

2019 was a year of growth for RCF, now supported by ten dedicated staff. We are currently in the process of welcoming four new staff members: a Senior Executive Assistant to the Founding Director, Monitoring and Evaluation Volunteer, Executive Director, and Programme Coordinator.

Sarah Snyder (square)
Sarah Snyder (square)

Sarah Snyder

Director and Founder

I was once asked the question: “What would you do with a vacant castle down the road from you?” Aware of the significance of Rose Castle to the local community and passionate about Cumbria, having moved here with my husband and 4 children over 10 years ago, it seemed clear that a castle once built to keep the enemy out could be transformed into a place where the stranger is welcomed.

The fact that the castle had remained home to the Bishops of Carlisle and a place of prayer for 800 years despite the many eras of conflict was also deeply significant. A vision emerged for Rose Castle to become a landmark of peace and reconciliation, welcoming groups from across divides and faith differences to reimagine reconciliation.

My journey into reconciliation started in the context of growing up on the island of Bermuda amidst deep racial division, which grew a passion for seeking out the story of ‘the other’ that later in life inspired me as a documentary producer to spend a year with the Tuareg in the Sahara Desert.

I was completely dependent on their hospitality to me, a Western Christian entering into their nomadic Muslim lifestyle. I was embraced wholeheartedly and it was from there that I devoted my life and career to helping groups discover the power of hospitality, especially across faith divides. I continue to work with leaders and communities across the globe as the Special Advisor to the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Founding Director of Rose Castle Foundation.

Fady Nassar (square)
Fady Nassar (square)

Fady Nassar

Partnerships Manager

My personal and professional experience have shown me that regardless of the environment, there is always the possibility for a beneficial, resilient relationship.

I was born into a context marked by conflict, and moved to the UK as a young child. Before joining RCF, I worked at PwC in audit and business development, and the Scottish Parliament as a parliamentary assistant to a party leader, tackling gender-based violence, and helping bring politicians together across divides.

As Partnerships Manager, I help solidify partner relationships into tailored programmes. I spend a lot of time creating, delivering, and following up on programmes, and contribute to the partnership strategy, amongst all that it takes to help support a fast-growing organisation.

My favourite thing about this role is the people I get to encounter every day. I am very grateful for the mutual commitment we all share to both one another and the vision of our beautifully diverse international community - to equip leaders to transform conflict in their contexts.

Contact: fady.nassar@rosecastle.foundation

Nadiya Takolia (square)
Nadiya Takolia (square)

Nadiya Takolia

Scriptural Reasoning Manager

I manage all things Scriptural Reasoning, a practice at the core of RCF's approach to reconciliation.

Before I joined RCF I was doing a Masters in Islamic Studies at SOAS, and the opportunity to deepen my understanding of my own religion has really helped me in my work at RCF.

The intention behind my work is very important to me as a Muslim, and so being reminded that God is at the centre of everything we do makes it all fall into place.

If you haven’t heard about SR or would like to learn more about it, take a look at www.scripturalreasoning.org

Contact: nadiya.takolia@rosecastle.foundation

Owen May (square)
Owen May (square)

Owen May

Operational Director

During my undergraduate degree I spent two summers interning for the Cambridge Inter-faith Programme (CIP) alongside those of diverse and divergent faith backgrounds.

This was the first time that I was exposed to the possibility of genuine and deep friendships characterised by mutuality, trust, respect and learning, all within the context of deep difference and disagreement. This was a transformational and inspirational experience that challenged some my own deeply held assumptions about reconciliation and working with those of other faiths.

So, when Rose Castle was miraculously purchased in August 2016, I was the first in the door (quite literally!) to help launch the project. I am truly grateful to be a part of such an inspiring vision as well as a team who are passionately committed to our aim of creating a global network of reconciling leaders.

Over the course of my time at Rose Castle I've worn many hats, but I'm now primarily responsible for operational management and developing programme content. I feel passionate about engaging and training the Church to live out its potential as a reconciling presence locally, nationally and internationally.

Contact: owen.may@rosecastle.foundation

Cressida Thompson (square)
Cressida Thompson (square)

Cressida Thompson

Office Manager & Administrator

Georgia May (square)
Georgia May (square)

Georgia May

Programme Director

Having grown up 20 minutes down the road from Rose Castle, it is amazing to now serve the place I call home in such a fulfilling way, working with communities locally and globally to transform conflict in their own contexts.

My passion for reconciliation really sparked when I started to understand how significant hospitality was, having been raised in a home where friends and strangers were equally welcomed around the meal table.

Through the raw times and the good times, I learned how fragile and risky hospitality can be yet how necessary it is for building resilient communities and servant hearted leaders.

My role is about designing and delivering programmes that create impactful environments for human connection, especially when people are encountering one another across divides in fragile circumstances. I love seeking out opportunities for new collaborations and journeying with partners to design programmes that offer creative and contextualised spaces for reimagining a reconciled future.

Contact: georgia.may@rosecastle.foundation

Cameron Howes
Cameron Howes

Cameron Howes

Scriptural Reasoning Coordinator

My first encounter with the Rose Castle Foundation was as a participant on a programme that they ran in the summer of 2018.
Since graduating, I have occupied a jointly funded role with the Rose Castle Foundation and the LSE Faith Centre based in London. This collaboration between these two organisations is part of a wider vision for developing a robust dialogue and reconciliation toolkit amongst the emerging generation.
My work involves: promoting the practice of Scriptural Reasoning on the LSE campus, contributing more widely to the strategy and propagation of the practice of SR in conjunction with the Scriptural Reasoning Manager and linking up the innovative work that both organisations are developing in the sector. I am particularly excited by the bold steps that both organisations are taking in this space. 
I am currently undertaking a part-time MSc in Social and Cultural Psychology, so when I'm not working my head is probably buried in a journal trying to understand mind, culture and everywhere in between. I also enjoy going to the theatre and comedy clubs.
RCF Mani Towler Team Photo
RCF Mani Towler Team Photo

Mani Towler

Digital Development Manager

I’m currently working part-time for Rose Castle Foundation whilst completing my degree in Business Management at the University of Edinburgh. My main responsibilities are to develop and maintain the CRM system and website.

I love working within an organisation whose mission is to make clear and impactful social change, to bring groups together and to bridge deep divides. It is also a privilege to work with such a wonderful and inspiring team. 

In my free time I'm a bit of a water baby, so love kayaking, coasteering, and open water swimming.

Contact: mani.towler@rosecastle.foundation

Joe Banfield (square)
Joe Banfield (square)

Joe Banfield

Marketing and Communications Manager

I studied History and Theology at Durham University, where I also became involved in student journalism. By the time I graduated, my writing had been published in national newspapers.

Yet in my brief time in the industry I saw and was part of newspapers preferring to exploit and amplify situations of conflict and tension rather than resolve them. After receiving a piece of good advice to "be wise in who you choose to bless", I quit the paper I was working for, evacuated journalism altogether, and am now working full time in reconciliation.

As an RCF alum myself, I was welcomed and inspired by this fantastic organisation on its flagship programme and now have the enormous privilege of helping share that hospitality and empowerment with leaders all over the world.

As Marketing and Communications Manager, I am able to use my skills and experience in journalism to promote peace by growing our online media presence and working closely with local communities and our global alumni network to share and connect over stories of reconciliation.

Contact: joe.banfield@rosecastle.foundation

Isabel Berry (square)
Isabel Berry (square)

Isabel Berry

Development Director

Having worked in the charity sector for 13 years, I joined the Rose Castle Foundation team in autumn 2019 to head up their fundraising income stream.

I am implementing a fundraising strategy which enables the Foundation to grow proactively and sustainably, so that our programmes are affordable to all, regardless of their social or economic backgrounds. Funding currently comes from a mix of dedicated, generous individuals and charitable trusts and foundations.

Over the next 24 months we will expand our supporter base, bring on board corporate supporters and hold high quality, exclusive events to raise additional funds to support and grow our programme delivery, core costs and capital requirements. No matter what your giving aspirations are, we’d be absolutely delighted to welcome you to our family of Rose Castle Foundation supporters.

Outside work I like to be, well… outside!  I am a keen runner, orienteer and walker, competing for my orienteering club and in mountain marathons.  I enjoy cycling too and when I do want to batten down inside, a good book keeps me happily entertained.

Contact: isabel.berry@rosecastle.foundation

Learn more about our staff
RCF Team

Our Volunteers

Our dedicated volunteers are enthusiastic about providing excellent hospitality, as well as patient in their attention to detail.
We are proud of our volunteering team, who enable the smooth running of residential programmes and offer caring support to participants, many of whom are visiting Cumbria, or even the UK, for the first time.
We are currently hiring a volunteer to help us monitor and evaluate our programmes. Keep an eye on this page for any future openings.
Apply to volunteer

Our Trustees

Our trustees come from many walks of life. They include Cumbrian residents, a Cambridge University theologian, investors, serial entrepreneurs, and a former UK ambassador.
The trustees are enormously passionate, committed, and active in shaping and supporting RCF’s reconciling mission. Responsible for accountability and governance, the breadth and diversity of their experience also helps deliver the highest quality of guidance, inspiration, and mentorship to our organisation.
Read our charitable objectives