Jennie DennetJennie has been with Voluntary Arts since December 2013, championing voluntary arts in Cumbria through a partnership with BBC Radio Cumbria where she also works as a reporter.

“I think of myself as a bit of an arts evangelist,” says Jennie. “When people come together to do creative things it makes for happier people and places. It’s my job to find those characters whose passion for their pastime, be it dance or dry-stone walling, shines through and inspires others to get involved.”

Jennie graduated from the University of Oxford with a Geography degree in 1997 and pursued a career in journalism, starting out in a London agency distributing freelance footage from far-flung war zones before settling in Cumbria and working on local newspapers and radio. She lives in Ulverston, Cumbria’s self-styled festival capital where barely a week passes without one. Evenings are spent organising Ulverston’s Candlelit Walk, sorting sessions to make the hundreds of candles, spooky shadow-screens and pottery spike-lights that fill a local woodland for Halloween. Jennie’s also works on the town’s biggest event, the Ulverston Lantern Festival, recruiting volunteers and making lead lanterns that always turn-out bigger than anticipated, most recently a giant seagull and a 12ft fairy. She also makes textile art and is learning to hoop dance.

“It makes me happy to create as many opportunities as possible to bring different people together to do crazy things. It brings a feel-good factor to a place.”