Meet the team

Staff team

Kate Ball, Chief Executive

Caroline Ash, Project Manager

Jessica Paine, Project Assistant


Kate Ball, Chief Executive

Kate BallKate is Chief Executive of Independent Arts, overseeing all aspects of the charity's management and fundraising, and liaising with the trustees.

Prior to joining Independent Arts in October 2009, Kate enjoyed a successful career in the media industry. She began her career in Brighton and then relocated to London, working in a range of media roles, leading to management roles with Mosaic Films and Jeremy Isaacs Productions.

Kate returned to the Isle of Wight in 2003, where she worked at the local college as a lecturer in Media. She has also travelled extensively, visting various countries including Poland and Cuba, and in 2005 she volunteered as a Tsunami Relief Worker for three months.


Caroline Ash, Project Manager

Caroline AshCaroline joined Independent Arts in 2011 and manages our community projects, as well as overseeing our Workshops for Wellbeing.

Caroline is an experienced Arts Manager, having delivered projects at local, regional and national levels. Previous roles include: Cultural Investment Officer in the Strategy and Innovation Business Unit at Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council; Artswork Academy Development Manager; and National Co-ordinator for the Big Lottery Funded hub4 project, delivered in partnership with BBC Blast and the Prince's Trust.

Caroline qualified with a BA (Hons) in Theatre and Television studies from King Alfred's College, Winchester in 1999, progressing to work as Tour Booking Assistant at UK Arts International, working with companies such as Red Shift, Northern Stage and Pilot Theatre Company.


Jessica Paine, Project Assistant

Jess PaineJess joined Independent Arts in December 2014 as our Project Assistant.

Jess has a strong music background and achieved a BA (hons) in Contemporary Popular Music in 2008. Following her studies, she went on to work in A&R at a music publishing company where she sourced music for media uses. In 2010 she was invited to be on the judging panel to select a local band to perform on the Main Stage at the Isle of Wight Festival. Later that year she set up Agile Studios; a commercial recording and rehearsal studio.

Jess is a grade 8 vocalist and has spent a number of years performing in a variety of bands, as well as providing session vocals and song writing services for advertising purposes and for other artists.

She also taught the Rock Choir at a local primary school and delivered Rock Band Club for children with disabilities and learning difficulties as part of the Short Breaks programme.

Before joining Independent Arts, Jess dedicated her time to writing non-fiction books and to date has written 11 books, which have been published and released in physical format internationally.


As Independent Arts is a limited company as well as a charity, trustees are also directors. Their strategic role is voluntary and unpaid. Please contact us if you are interested in supporting Independent Arts by becoming a trustee.

Jim Bodle

Jan Brookes

Dr David McMullen

Helen Osborne

Ben Rouse

Geoff Ruck

Wendy Varley (Chair)


Jim Bodle, Trustee & Director

Jim is manager of a local housing association and has been professionally involved in the management and delivery of social care to vulnerable people for some years. Jim has a personal and professional interest in memory loss, whatever the cause, and in what can be done to assist and support any person with such a condition. He became a trustee of Independent Arts in May 2011.


Jan Brookes, Trustee & Director

Jan BrookesJan has had a varied and extensive career as a nurse, including working for the United Nations in an African refugee camp and holding a short service commission as a nursing officer in the RAF. Latterly, Jan has worked as part of the senior management team in various care homes. Her professional interests include dementia, and the importance of life stories, reminiscence and activities in later life. Jan is currently working as an Independent Health and Social Care Consultant and is also an Access Auditor.

Jan joined the board of Independent Arts in June 2014. As part of the team, she is involved with local fundraising events.

Dr David McMullen, Trustee & Director

David is a GP on the island and joined the board of trustees in May 2013.


Helen Osborne, Trustee & Director

Helen joined the board in December 2013. She also chairs Older Voices, a group enabling older people on the Isle of Wight to meet regularly to talk about what concerns and interests them.

Ben Rouse, Trustee (Treasurer) & Director

Ben RouseBen has been a trustee of Independent Arts since June 2010. He runs a financial planning business in Newport, Rouse Ltd, and is currently the Chairman of the Central Southern England Branch of the Institute of Financial Planning.

Ben has had a varied career. Prior to becoming a financial planner twenty years ago, Ben worked as a dispatch rider and in security, though the closest he now gets to physical combat is in persuading his 40kg German Shepherd Tony to visit the vet. He also worked in the wine and fine food trade, culminating in opening Benedict's Fine Wines and Delicatessen with his father in 1985 and one of his life goals is to visit all the First Class growth Claret vineyards.

Outside work he is an avid sportsman, and takes part in rugby, clay pigeon shooting, sailing, walking and skiing and at some point in his busy life wishes to row across an ocean. He also loves cooking.


Geoff Ruck, Trustee & Director

Geoff RuckGeoff has worked in IT all his life, starting as an apprentice with British Hovercraft, then joining IBM and Plessey before moving to a local housing association. During this time he has followed the development of computers from valve-driven monsters requiring purpose-built rooms to the micro-processors of today. His particular interest is in contingency planning and disaster recovery.

He is the Chairman of Brading Town FC as well as a member of the Isle of Wight FA. In his spare time he can found on his boat at Shalfleet or playing golf at Freshwater.

Geoff joined Independent Arts' board of trustees in June 2014 and is pleased to be supporting the charity.


Wendy Varley, Trustee (Chair) & Director

Wendy VarleyWendy moved to the Isle of Wight with her family in 1998 after working as a features editor and journalist in London, contributing to women's magazines and national newspapers. She currently works for her family's website development business and continues to write in her spare time.

Wendy has a keen interest in the arts, education and social care, which was what motivated her to become a trustee of Independent Arts in January 2009. She is proud to support a charity whose work is so valuable to the Isle of Wight community.



David Harris, Patron

David was Chair of Trustees of Independent Arts between 1992 and 2005. He worked with the National Spar Group and is now retired. He lives in Hampshire.

Carol Martys, Patron and founder

Carol Martys

Carol was the original founder of Independent Arts, which became a registered charity in 1987. She became its first Director, and remains a patron.

After leaving the Isle of Wight, she spent a number of years abroad and now lives in Haslemere, Surrey. She is a published writer, and honorary Chairman of Operations for Opera South.

Read Carol's account of the early years of Independent Arts.



Alan Titchmarsh

Honorary legal advisor

Tony Holmes