Our Trustees

Meet the Trustees of Sight Support West of England

Heather Armstrong

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Heather is a retired Chartered Physiotherapist, her Clinical specialty being Pain Management. She has been a Senior Manager in both Professional and General Management in Provider and Commissioning Organisations within the NHS.  She has considerable experience in change management in both professional practice and in NHS service delivery.

Heather has been visually impaired since the age of 21. Prior to this, she had trained and practiced as a Psychiatric Nurse.  She is also a Trustee of Pain Concern, a charity for people with long term pain, and is a volunteer speaker for Guide Dogs.

Heather is interested in promoting and ensuring the involvement of visually impaired people in decision-making and delivery of relevant services as well as the attainment of equal partnership with sighted people in general.

Heather’s other interests include dancing, travel and reading.

Amar Shah

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Amar Shah is an Optometrist with his own practice as a Boots Opticians franchise in Keynsham, Bristol. He has worked with visually impaired clients for all of his professional career.  Amar also works one day a week in the eye department at Royal United Hospital in Bath.

Amar is chair of the Avon Local Optical Committee, and works nationally with the Local Optical Committee Support Unit as an Optical lead. He has been a trustee of two children’s charities and has always had an active volunteering role.

Outside of work Amar enjoys spending time with his young family and when not with them getting out on his bike or running.

Lauren Williams

Lauren Williams head and shoulders pictureLauren is CEO of neighbouring sight loss charity Vision North Somerset. She most recently managed a nationwide service supporting people with arthritis for the charity Versus Arthritis. Previous experience includes nearly 10 years with vision impairment charities in roles ranging from fundraising and service marketing to programme management.

Lauren’s prior role as England Vision Strategy Regional Manager gave her a working understanding of the NHS, Public Health, social services and the wider charity sector. As well as being a trustee for Sight Support, Lauren also volunteers as a mentor with the Small Charities Coalition.

Lauren lives in Bristol with her young family and loves gardening and reading.

Simon Russell

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Simon is a specialist in communication and engagement. Both in-house and running a consultancy he has supported the communication needs of different organisations.  This includes media relations, public affairs, stakeholder engagement and social media management.

For several years Simon has worked with Goalball UK, the national governing body for the sport specifically developed for people that are blind or that have a visual impairment.

Simon is keenly interested in current affairs and is also an enthusiastic sports fan. An unremarkable playing career is now largely replaced by coaching football as he is convinced of the great value that can follow from participation in sport (as a participant, volunteer, or coach). Simon is married with two adult sons.

Nick Grinham –  Chair of Trustees

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Nick is a retired business leader who has lived in North Wiltshire for most of his life. He has extensive experience in leading large and diverse teams across the world. He has worked in the retail, publishing and oil and gas sectors, holding senior leadership positions in Human Resources, business strategy and transformation and Information Technology.

Throughout his career Nick has promoted and passionately advocated for inclusion in all forms in the workplace.  Nick’s hobbies include travel, walking and sports (especially football and cricket).  He is married with two adult daughters.

Roger Bonner

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Roger is retired after more than forty years of working in international development, specialising in the development of education and health infrastructure delivery systems.

In 2003 whilst working in Egypt, Roger had the misfortune to lose most of his sight. Thanks to advances in technology, he was able to continue operating at the highest professional levels, highlighting that an impairment does not stop a person from contributing to society. In 1996 Roger was awarded the OBE for services to international development.

Since retirement Roger has been a volunteer with Sight Support, assisting clients to better understand how technology can assist them to lead full and interesting lives.

Roger enjoys reading, photography, walking, and genealogy.

Carl Hall

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Operational Director at Gloucestershire Newmedica & Trustee of Wiltshire Sight and Sight Support West of England

“I’ve significant experience in operational roles having worked in the military and as a partnership manager for a group of ophthalmic surgeons. At Newmedica, I enjoy watching new colleagues grow and develop in their roles supporting patients delivering fantastic care.”

Ioan McAvoy

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Ioan is a Bristol-based chartered accountant with a wealth of experience in charity finance. Having trained at a charity-specialist accountancy firm, Ioan has worked with organisations ranging from small local charities to high-profile international non-profits. Ioan worked closely with Sight Support West of England as our Audit Manager before agreeing to jump on board as Treasurer when he left that role in early 2024.

Ioan is passionate about the charity sector, and has specialised in disability charities, particularly those involving sightand hearing loss. He currently works as Financial Accountant at the Royal National Institute for Deaf People.

Outside of work, Ioan enjoys cycling, reading, football, and plays bass guitar in a Ceilidh band.