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.


Karen Whitaker

Karen Whitaker began her career as a Social Worker before moving into the voluntary sector, ending her working life as CEO of a carers' charity. She has been an active volunteer throughout her life in a wide variety of roles from leading ponies with Riding for the Disabled, registering Shropshire Geology Society as a charity and chairing Age UK Hertfordshire.

Karen is currently Chair of Hours of Human Happiness, a charity working to reduce poverty in Uganda, a support volunteer with Victim Support and a telephone befriender with Deafblind UK. She also volunteers at Portishead Open Air Pool and the Curzon Cinema in Clevedon.

Gerry Wadham

Gerry has recently moved from Taunton to Nailsea, and is looking forward to working with staff and trustees of North Somerset Healthwatch on improving local health and social care services by listening to the experiences of local people and using her vast experience from working in the voluntary sector across London and the South of England.
Gerry has worked in the voluntary sector for 40 years, for the past 12 months Gerry has been employed by Swan as their Chief Executive Officer.

Raquel Benzal

I was born was born in Spain and graduated with a BSc (Hons) Economics from the University of Madrid. I came to the UK, with my family, 12 years ago and have lived in North Somerset ever since. Moreover, being from an ethnic minority gives me an insight into equality and diversity issues for minorities groups. My role on the Board will give me 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.

Shaun Fitzpatrick

I am retired and trying to devote time into areas where I can help improve local health, care and housing services. I have worked for a number of local authorities and housing associations over the last 42 years as well as volunteering for various not for profit organisations. 

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.

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.

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