Our Chair, Georgie Bigg

Georgie Bigg retired from a successful career in banking where, following local, regional and national roles she specialised in identifying and investing in high growth small businesses and leadership coaching. Her volunteering started at this time, supporting an educational charity as a Business Adviser to help young people develop their business skills before leaving education.
Following ‘retirement’, Georgie has furthered her interest in health and social care working for Voluntary Action North Somerset representing and developing the voluntary sector. She has a wide knowledge of support networks in North Somerset, designed to assist the most vulnerable. Georgie wants to make sure all sectors of the community have the chance to have their say on health and social care.
Her interests include the environment which she believes can have a significant impact on our health and wellbeing. She is currently Chair of CPRE (Campaign to Protect Rural England) Avonside, Director of the West of England Rural Network and a Parish Councillor.

Our Board

Dick Whittington

Dick’s main career, spanning nearly 35 years, was with The Post Office, latterly with responsibility for Post Offices across the South West giving him a very clear appreciation of the impact of large public services on the lives of people, especially in isolated communities. For the last nine years Dick has worked in the Voluntary Sector, mainly working with rural communities to address issues such as poor access to essential services. Working with Community Action (the Community Council for the former Avon area) Dick did a lot of work with Community Transport groups, who continue to do an indispensable job helping vulnerable people, get to the Doctors or Hospital. Dick's personal ambition is for Healthwatch to get some positive action on this issue. 

Lance Allen

Lance is a retired ICT consultant who was the global knowledge management director of a major ICT organisation. Since retirement, he has also worked in voluntary roles both as a business mentor and as a director of a community charity.
Lance is directly aware of both health and social care issues, as he personally has long term cardiac condition, which led to an early retirement. He has a special needs grandson with a rare genetic condition, and has also been a carer for a partner with a terminal cancer diagnosis.

Peninah Achieng-Kindberg  

Originally from Kenya, Peninah Achieng-Kindberg is an accountant who has worked in various roles in UK public sector organisations. She is also a financial consultant with international experience. Peninah has fulfilled her passion for community activism and empowerment over the past 2 decades in a Board capacity with Nilaari Agency, African Voices Forum, Bristol Link with Beira, Glenside Hospital Museum and the Princes Trust. Peninah was nominated for the top 100 inspirational women in the West region and is in the top 100 Bristol Black and Minority Ethnic Powerlist in 2019. 

Raquel Benzal

Raquel was born in Spain and graduated with a BSc (Hons) Economics from the University of Madrid. She came to the UK with her family 12 years ago, and has lived in North Somerset ever since. She says that being from a minority ethnic group gives her an insight into equality and diversity issues for minorities groups. Her role on the Board will gives her the opportunity to ensure that Diversity and Inclusion are at the heart of everything Healthwatch does - a way of encouraging those from various minority groups (e.g. LGBT, disabled, ethnic minorities) to share their views on local healthcare.

Tim Evans 

Tim has worked as a driver for elderly and disabled people in North Somerset which started his commitment to ensuring everybody, whatever their needs, is able to get around their local community to lead an active life. He remembers taking a paraplegic lady to events every day of the week but then due to cuts, her transport for trips was reduced to half an hour twice a week, which prompted him to push for improvements. After a serious car accident in 2009, in which he suffered progressive and degenerative nerve damage his focus turned to health and he became involved in LINks the predecessor to Healthwatch. Tim has used his experiences in transport to influence a new transport plan with Healthier Together which emerged as an issue during Healthwatch's engagement work over Healthy Weston & the NHS Long Term Plan. Improving transport provides better access to health and social care and which reduces health inequalities.

Sue Geary

Sue was initially trained as a librarian and worked in academic and public libraries during the 1980s before spending the majority of her career within adult social care.  She recently retired from her role of Head of Commissioning with a large local authority. Since then, her interest in evidence-based practice for health and care led her to become involved as a public/patient representative on academic research projects and she also works with the National Institute of Health Research as a public member on one of their funding committees. Sue has previously undertaken a variety of hands-on volunteering roles, including adult literacy tutoring, Age UK befriending and, more recently, assisting with COVID vaccine clinics. She is currently also a board member for Care Home Volunteers.

Sato Black

Sato has a long-standing interest in, and is passionate about, social justice and healthy communities. She has over 10 years of experience working in community based projects in the voluntary community sector, is an experienced community development practitioner, and has been trained in Asset Based Community Development and Community Organising. She wants to help people make a difference, increasing their wellbeing and the wellbeing of their communities. Sato believes that people can bring their gifts and passions, and build assets in their own communities. This ultimately helps them shape their health and social care services.

Kenneth Abraham

Ken is a systems engineer who started his career in the defence industry, working on defence platforms, before moving into ICT systems. He has been involved in delivery through to consulting from private organisations through to the public sector. Originally from Singapore, Ken has lived in the UK and US, studying in Bath and having worked in the South West for the last 15 years. Ken hopes to be able to use his expertise and diverse background to help build a richer interface between his local community and the services on offer.

Past Board papers

We make the papers for our public Board meetings available online. We also publish a summary of what was discussed. Check out our past meetings to read more.

Find out more