Collective Inspiration – Holly Bantleman.


I was thinking recently how bloody lucky I am to have so many inspiring and frankly wonderful people in my life. But I don’t want to keep them all to myself! That line of thinking quickly drew me to kick off our Collective Indi ‘Collective Inspiration’ initiative – a series that profiles some of the great people the CI team know – IRL or online, who we think are nailing life. That could be because of what they’ve achieved in their career or family life or how they have followed their passion. Or maybe it’s simply their general attitude and how they treat other people. Or perhaps we’ve had a girl/boy crush on them for a while and needed a reason to speak to them. Whatever the motivation for including them might be, we just want to share these fabulous folk with you.

We’ll also be asking each Collective Inspirationer we profile to nominate someone to take part, so hopefully we’ll end up with this amazing showcase of some of our favourite individuals and also meet some ace new people along the way!

We’ll also think of a catchier title than ‘Collective Inspirationer’.

So, without further ado, here is our first profile – the awesome Holly Bantleman.




Holly is one of life’s awe-inspiring plate-spinners. In addition to working full time as a TV camera operator, she founded the charity Raise The Roof Kenya in 2010. What started out as a project to raise £500 to buy tin roofing for a community living on a dumpsite in Nakuru, Kenya has developed into a highly successful (and entirely volunteer-run) charitable organisation that built the Barut Youth Development and Sports Centre, working in partnership with local communities and government in Kenya to provide vocational education, free medical health clinics and sports activities. Sustainability (and Holly) is the driving force behind the project, so the aim is for the centre to be Kenyan owned and managed by 2018.

In recognition of her incredible achievements, Holly was bestowed with a Point of Light Award from the Prime Minister this year, was a finalist in the 2015 Pride of Britain Awards and winner of the Nivea/Stylist Magazine ‘Bring it on 30’ competition. She’s also an incredibly driven, joyful, upbeat and welcoming person to be around.

This girl is basically unstoppable.

But we managed to pin her down for a couple of minutes to ask her a few questions!


How did you get to where you are in life?

I dropped out of Uni when I was 18. I was studying Classical Archaeology and Ancient History, with no real idea of how I would utilise the skills I was gaining or what career path I would choose. I chose to follow my passion for photography and began work experience in the television camera department. I got a job as a runner where I really discovered my passion for cameras and so began applying for camera assistant roles – and was fortunate to be offered a place at The London Studios, where I trained, and later went freelance. Yet even though I’d ‘made it’ in the TV industry, I realised that there was still something missing; I never felt quite satisfied that I was where I was meant to be. So, I decided to take a year out to travel. I had the best year travelling the world, and motivated to give something back, hopped on a plane to Kenya, with no real idea of what I was going to do when I got there. I began volunteering at schools, hospitals, baby homes, orphanages, and it was then that I realised what it was I was searching for all this time. Something bigger than me, something with real purpose, that made a difference to the world, and something I could do. Raise The Roof (RTR) began as a small project to raise £500 to buy tin roofing for a community living on a dumpsite in Kenya, and has not stopped growing since. We now run the highest ranking sustainable vocational training school and community centre in Kenya, with additional community workshops, HIV prevention, female empowerment, computer training and sports programmes.

Where is your focus in life at the moment?

At the moment I’m focusing on growing RTR, making our projects in Kenya fully sustainable and professionalising my own experience. Female empowerment and our ‘Raise Her Voice‘ initiative is also big on my agenda at the moment – the positive promotion of female role models through our social media platforms, and holistic female empowerment programmes in Kenya.

What are your best qualities? Passionate, driven, chatty, see the positive, use every opportunity to give back, no favour is too big.

What are your passions? Water; scuba diving wake-boarding, travelling, photography.

Who or what inspires you? Strong women, the sea, young people on our programmes in Kenya.

How do you find time for yourself, how do you relax? See friends, get in/on the water.

What’s your power song? Currently, WE ARE AMAZING, by Superfoxx DJ KRYSTAL ROXX

Your happy place? Hope Cove, Devon

You’re cooking – what’s your signature dish? Kale salad with coconut, ginger, lime and chilli fish.


What a ledge. To find out more about Raise The Roof and the Raise Her Voice programme, visit http:\\