Team Cospa

Oli Barrett - Director and co-founder

Oli is passionate about creating compelling connections between organisations and people in support of enterprise and social action.

His past achievements include starting Make Your Mark with a Tenner (now known as Tenner Tycoon), the scheme which challenges students to see what they can achieve in just a month, starting with £10. Supporters include Peter Jones and the Big Lottery Fund and, to date, more than 50,000 young people across the UK have taken part.

Described by Wired Magazine as “the most connected man in Britain”, Oli brought Speednetworking to the UK and has hosted events in 12 countries. He came up with Speednetwork The Globe, a signature activity of Global Entrepreneurship Week, which has resulted in events in over 40 countries. He also leads regular trade missions overseas, helping British companies to pitch for funding and explore business links and opportunities.

Oli’s earlier entrepreneurial career included a student headhunting business, an international language practice website (sold in 2008) and a sock subscription website, which now exports to more than 15 countries. He spent two years on the Prime Minister’s Council on Social Action, exploring ways in which public, private and third sectors can work better together. He has written for various publications and blogs on his own site,

Tim Reading – Director and co-founder

Tim has a track record in connecting brands, charities, causes and public sector organisations through partnership projects.

His past credits include the BOOM! film-making project that brought together Adobe, Apple, MTV, youth club network Clubs for Young People and v, the youth volunteering charity, to help redefine what volunteering could mean to young people. BOOM! has twice won the Best Charity & Community Sponsorship category at the Hollis National Sponsorship Awards, in 2006 and 2010.

Prior to setting up Cospa, Tim spent five years as a Director of experiential agency TomTom nation, an agency he co-founded in 2005. His past experience also includes three years with Hill & Knowlton in Sydney, Australia, as Head of Sponsorship & Sports Marketing, and three years with grassroots marketing agency Activate UK as Creative Planning Director.

He has also worked in the UK and overseas for youth development charities Skillshare Africa and Raleigh International.

Tim’s other achievements include performing in the opening ceremonies at both the 2000 Sydney and 2012 London Olympics, achieving the joint record for climbing the BT Tower the most times in 24 hours, and spending three years hitch-hiking around the world.

Ed Sellwood – Head of Programmes and co-founder

Ed has a wealth of experience running and managing grassroots and community projects.

Before joining Cospa, Ed worked at experiential marketing agency TomTom nation, where his ‘project delivery achievements’ included: MCC Spirit of Cricket Challenge, the BOOM! film-making and volunteering project in schools and youth clubs, the Big Truck Club road safety initiative (voted Best Education Project at the 2007 Hollis Sponsorship Awards), and The Tests 4 Tickets ‘sexual health’ campaign on behalf of NHS Camden.

Prior to his time with TomTom nation, Ed spent five years with grassroots sports marketing agency Activate UK, where he worked on accounts across a number of different sports for Channel 4, The Daily Telegraph, EA SPORTS, Ford and Nike.

Ed’s other achievements include once having bowled Sir Viv Richards first ball in a beach cricket match, hitting a six at Lords, and having a degree in earth science and anthropology.

Line Algoed – VIY Account Manager

Line holds a double masters in urban anthropology and sociology, and has over ten years of experience in combining urban planning, housing and community development.

As an urban anthropologist she seeks to understand and highlight regeneration models developed by citizens and communities and integrate these with urban policy.

Prior to joining Cospa, Line worked for HACT, the Housing Association Charity Trust, where she was in charge of the Self-Help Housing programme which brings together diverse grassroots organisations who are developing local housing solutions through refurbishing empty homes by and for people in housing need. Line was part of HACT’s Capacity Building Programme supporting community organisations in receipt of a DCLG Empty Homes Community Grant.

Before HACT, Line worked in The Netherlands as Director for Development at INTA, the International Urban Development Association, a global membership association providing a forum for exchange between practitioners from government, public and private corporations and academia to share knowledge on sustainable urban development in cities around the world.

Line is also a board member of Inspiring Cities, a Rotterdam-based international network promoting grassroots urbanism.

She is fascinated by cities, people, the spoken word, and the HBO series The Wire.

Ben Whitehead – Account Director

Ben’s role with Cospa is currently focused on developing and managing cross-sector partnerships for the Build-it project.

His 12 years of cross-sector experience started when elected editor of his university’s newspaper. This led to a stint at BBC Nottingham and later, five years at MTV International in London. During his time at MTV, Ben worked across a variety of international creative initiatives, major music events and pro-social campaigns.

Increasingly hooked by the world of social action, Ben joined communications charity and social enterprise Media Trust. Over the next four and a half years, Ben led on marketing and creative partnership development across the Trust’s youth media team, developing and delivering successful youth initiatives with the likes of the BBC, Channel 4, Time Out and The Guardian.

Ben’s thirst for developing innovative creative partnerships goes beyond the media landscape however, and led to him joining Cospa.

When not scheming about new ideas and partnerships, Ben can usually be found eating, talking about food or wondering around Soho looking for his next meal. He also once wrote a sitcom that was shortlisted in an international writing competition. Funny that. Not really.

Livia Whyte – Mentors Manager, Build-it

Livia applied to join Cospa after watching, and being inspired by, The Secret Millions series on Channel 4 which featured the Build-it project, co-created and delivered by Cospa.

She is now helping to enable the expansion of Build-it by recruiting and supporting 400 volunteer tradespeople to share their skills and experience working as skills mentors alongside young people.

Livia has worked extensively as a public sector consultant on community engagement and regeneration activities and brings a wealth of knowledge to her role with Cospa and Build-it, along with a passion for the project. 

Her past achievements include being invited to Downing Street for her work in education, and designing and implementing a successful coaching strategy for NHS organisations across London. She is also an active member of her local community and was recently elected as a board member with Brixton Green, an initiative supporting local people bringing a cooperative approach to urban planning in their community.

Outside of work, Livia can usually be found weaving across London on her pink vespa or rollerskating through the park.