Board of Trustees

 Paul Dunn

Paul DunnPaul started his working life as a coal miner in 1962 and obtained an NUM (National Union of Mineworkers) scholarship to Ruskin College, Oxford, in 1971. In 1973 he started work with NUPE (National Union of Public Employees) and was appointed as regional secretary of UNISON, when it was formed in 1993.

In 1999, Paul was appointed as Chief Executive of Somerset TEC (Training & Enterprise Council) and whilst there managed the handover to the Somerset LSC in 2001.

Paul then joined the South West TUC, managing the European Equal Opportunities project, helping to establish Equality South West (ESW), until it was launched in April 2005. Paul then went on to become a senior official and the national equality lead for Aspect, a trade union for senior staff in education and children’s trusts.

Paul successfully applied for the post of Chief Executive of ESW when it became vacant in 2006 and started work with them on a permanent basis in February 2007.


Dave Spurgeon, Secretary

I became interested in Mozambique through my involvement in the Anti-Apartheid Movement (AAM). I was involved with the link with Beira since its inception and have been Secretary to the Trustees for a number of years. I was fortunate to visit Beira in 2000 and keep saying I will go again!

I am a member of the National Executive Committee of ACTSA (Action for Southern Africa), the successor organisation to the AAM and Chair the local Bristol ACTSA group.

My ‘day job’ is as a Policy Development Manager for Nacro’s Mental Health Unit.



Steve Strong, Treasurer                                                                                              IMG_2482

I have been involved with SARC and The Beira Fund since it started as an attempt to introduce some practical solidarity for the countries of Southern Africa after the collapse of apartheid. As well as the damage done to South Africa itself, the apartheid regime had a very malign affect on the countries around South Africa including Mozambique. I had been a member of the Anti-Apartheid Movement for a number of years before this.

I have worked in the Health, Social Care and Voluntary Sector all of my career usually on issues to do with services for disabled people. As a Trustee of SARC this has provided the opportunity to develop various projects in support of disabled people and their families in Beira.


.Peninah Achieng, Chair

Peninah AchiengI moved to the United Kingdom 14 years ago from Kenya to undertake further studies. I studied part time at University of Gloucestershire where I emerged with BA Degree in Business, Financial and Accounting Management. I am currently a part-qualified accountant studying towards full qualification as a Chartered Accountant.

I have 10 years experience working within local government in financial services in various areas since 1997 in Bristol and Gloucester.

I moved to the NHS in 2008 in a Senior Management Accountant role – which was a fresh experience that brings about new challenges but also opens other opportunities of development. I currently head the Black Workers Forum within the Trust.

Outside of the NHS Trust I have been a union activist for the past 12 years, leading on various roles within the union, such as the South West Regional Black members committee for self organised groups, being active within the Branch etc.

I support voluntary groups in various capacities ranging from directing to taking direction that I enjoy very much. The voluntary organisations I support have varying aims – such as the African Voices Forum which seeks to empower people of African descent living in Bristol, whilst the Nilaari Agency is a community-based drug treatment provider that administers accessible high quality culturally appropriate services.

I support other voluntary organisations which include Bristol Link with Beira. I have a lot of confidence in the work that BLB does in Mozambique and their aims to improve the lives of others, thus making a difference in Africa. I work with young people within the Kenyan Association in Bristol and I am also a school governor in my daughter’s school – Brislington Enterprise College.

Previously I was the Chair for St Paul’s Carnival for four years. The organisation aims to deliver an annual carnival in Bristol every year, rejuvenating the African Caribbean Culture and providing the community with a platform to celebrate our diverse cultures.

I believe in a strong physical and spiritual nature in developing myself and others as people. I am very passionate about equal rights and as such I have been involved in this agenda and will continue to do so for the benefit of the future generation.

From a religious perspective I am a Buddhist practising Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism – I always like to finish my memoirs with a quote from my mentor “Daisaku Ikeda”:

“When one person carries out his or her human revolution, it gives others courage and hope. It gives them confidence. Inspiration gives rise to inspiration, setting off a chain reaction that generates tremendous energy for change.”

Sharon Foster

Sharon FosterI currently work full time as a PA Secretary and have also over the last three years sat as a Magistrate.

My work experience includes working with the public sector for eight years. I then ventured into local government working for Bristol City Council for over 20 years, where I became involved in the trade union and am now an active steward.

I have been involved within the local and regional branch of my union for over 18 years and enjoy the work around the different strands of equality and diversity – supporting the many important and valid issues we all face on a daily basis.

My aim is to share my overall experience gained throughout the years from the various activities supported by committees that I have sat on, either in a capacity as chair or vice-chair at a local, regional and national levels of the union.

I find the areas of work and campaigns covered by the Bristol Link with Beira Trustees to be very similar of those within the trade union.  It is of course challenging, encouraging, informative and educational to everyone, thus empowering women and children to building their confidence and to seek greater hope, but also facilitating the information of networks.

I do get a great deal of satisfaction when progress and achievements are made especially around Women and BME issues on a local, national or international level. I am committed to carrying out the role accordingly as I believe in equality and support the Aims, Objective and Values of the Bristol Link with Beira Trustee.

Last but not least, I am delighted to be one of the Trustees.

Neil Simpson

I have had a long interest in international development which started with a year’s voluntary work in a hospital in the Transkei in South Africa in 1982, just after I left school.  This year made a big impression on me in a number of ways but in particular the development of a strong belief in the need to address equity and participation around the world.

After this I was lucky to be able to spend 18 months travelling around the world during my medical training and had two other short periods working abroad in Afghanistan.  I continued to develop my understanding by doing a masters degree in international health policy, planning and financing.

Since 1998, I have been working as a consultant community paediatrician in Bath. This involves direct clinical work with children and families in the areas of disability, social paediatrics and public health including immunisation coordinator role and strong involvement in multi-agency working and development, working on improving equity and participation locally.

I became a Trustee of the Bristol link with Beira just over a year ago.