Orb is a mental health and wellbeing focused community arts charity in Knaresborough supporting people from across the Harrogate District and North Yorkshire. We aim to provide a service that is accessible and consistent in its support to those affected by poor mental health – this means working not just with those currently most unwell, but also supporting people at risk to stay well, and those in recovery to continue that journey.

Established in 2004, we have many years’ experience working independently and with a range of statutory and third sector partners including North Yorkshire County Council, Tees Esk & Wear Valley NHS Trust and Harrogate Rural District Clinical Commissioning Group. We take referrals from local GPs, Community Mental Health Teams and many other support agencies and are always happy to discuss how people can access our services.

Orb offers a non-clinical service based around engagement in creative and learning activity within a supportive, accessible, community focused space. Our work targets improvements in wellbeing through promoting personal expression, combatting isolation, empowering choice, building confidence and self-esteem, developing life and work skills, providing opportunities to volunteer and involving people in community activity. We also promote and support a range of creative local events, both internally and externally, that contribute to creating a more vibrant, inclusive and stigma free place to live, in which those experiencing poor mental health can play a valuable and valued part.

Orb Community Arts For Positive Mental Health


Featuring a 16 track studio, rehearsal room and DJ Booth, the Studio Space is jammed full of real instruments and music tech to play with, learn and explore.

Orb's Recording Studio Facility

A large multi-purpose space that serves as both our art room and a performance venue, with its own stage, sound system and lighting rig.

Orb's Art Facilities

A suite of computers with both PC and Mac based hardware and software in which to learn the basics, stretch the boundaries of creativity or stay digitally included.

Orb's IT Facilities

An oasis of tranquility at the back of Orb with beds for growing fresh, healthy fruit and veg, a meeting space and a wildlife area with its own pond. A place to relax and find some peace.

Orb's Garden Facilities


Leon Fijalkowski – Project Manager

Leon Fijalkowski

Strategic Director

Working across both Orb Community Arts and Pioneer Projects in Bentham, Leon is responsible for developing creative, well-being focused contracts and partnerships across an increasing area of North Yorkshire and beyond.

David Littler

Creative & Wellbeing Projects Manager

David is a sound artist and musician with a keen interest in the creative arts. He has worked with a wide variety of charities and community groups across the UK. David now manages Orb’s programme of creative activities.

Andy Fretwell – Project Assistant & Studio Manager

Andy Fretwell

Creative & Wellbeing Facilitator

A graduate in Music Technology from Leeds Beckett University, Andy supports Orb users to access the studio space and music facilities at Orb and participate in a wealth of creative musical activity, writing and mindfulness.

Barbara Grant

ATI Keyworker

An OU graduate and postgraduate student, mother and carer, Barbara works with Orb service users helping them improve their lives by moving into education, training or employment.

Jon Galey – Project Assistant & Garden Manager

Jon Galley

Creative & Wellbeing Facilitator

A professional gardener and former Chair of Knaresborough Allotment Society, Jon supports users in accessing Orb’s Garden, where they grow a variety of produce and create an oasis of calm.

Elizabeth at Orb Community Arts

Elizabeth Marshall

Operations Manager

With many years’ experience as a Director level PA, Elizabeth has gone from Orb admin volunteer to full time Operations Manager! She is now responsible for keeping Orb running day-to-day.

Gemma O’Connell

ATI Keyworker

An experienced primary teacher who has worked in the heritage sector supporting those with mental health needs, Gemma is one of Orb’s ATI keyworkers, helping people to secure pathways into education, training or employment.

Rachel Batchelor

Route One (Social Prescribing) Co-ordinator

Rachel manages the Route One Project – a partnership project with Orb Community Arts, Claro Enterprises, Mind in Harrogate and Wellspring Therapy & Training. Rachel spends a day a week at each project, you will generally see her at Orb on a Tuesday.

Rebecca Lawson

Creative Wellbeing Assistant

Rebecca joined Orb through the Kickstart Programme in 2021 which she completed successfully and we are pleased to confirm she has decided to continue as a member of the Orb Staff Team. Rebecca has a degree in Visual Communication and runs the Art and Textile Groups.

The regular staff team is helped out by a range of volunteers and sessional staff ensuring Orb continues to offer as wide a range of inspiring activities as possible.