Brigstowe is proud and thankful to have a skilled board of trustees from various disciplines and backgrounds managing the strategic direction of the organisation. Here’s a little about each of them.

Tom Sharkey (Chair)

Tom was born and raised in the Northeast and came to the West Country to study social work at Bath University in the late 80s. Back then, he was a volunteer with the Aled Richards Trust and Gay Switchboard in Bristol. He coordinated Bristol’s LGBTQ+ Youth Group for a couple of years in the early 90s. After qualifying as a social worker, he worked in Bristol with children and families and in the courts. Inspired by undertaking work in the courts, he embarked on a change of career to law, qualifying as a solicitor in 2001. As a solicitor, he has specialised in representing two vulnerable client groups: children in family law cases and those lacking mental capacity in the Court of Protection.

Since 2006, Tom has been a partner in a law firm gaining experience in management, finance and business development.

Sheila Ollis (Vice Chair)

Sheila was born and educated in Zimbabwe. She has been a qualified nurse for 24 years both in Africa and in the UK. Sheila worked for two years in HIV and AIDS awareness in Zimbabwe with a special interest in mother-to-baby transmission and the management of HIV-positive under 5s.

Sheila has volunteered at Terrence Higgins Trust (THT) for several years and helped to run the Positive Women’s Group and also the Black and Ethnic Minority Group.

She is currently in the process of setting up and establishing her own home care business.

Diane Perry

Diane has been a trustee for Brigstowe since 2002 when the project operated as a landlord and was just embarking on developing a Housing Related Floating Support Service. She previously worked in Social Housing for 20 years in roles relating to Practice and Service Development, Information Services, and Training and Development, during which time she worked in the HIV organisational lead team for Service Development and Training and Development of staff in relation to HIV and AIDS. For the last 20 years, Diane has worked in Senior Leadership roles in the third sector, and retired in December 2022.

She was a member of the Chartered Institute of Housing and gained an MSc in Management Development and Organisational Change in 2004.

Diane is interested in the visual arts and enjoys making ceramics, gardening, designing and making jewellery and has some interest in photography.

Alison Scott

Alison is originally from Manchester and studied history at Bristol University. Following university, she worked for an accountancy firm then Bristol City Council in a variety of teams, including managing benefits, homelessness, rents, repairs and now tenancy management, which includes lettings and tackling antisocial behaviour. She is also responsible for a youth project which includes refugees and care leavers. Alison brings useful knowledge of housing and commissioning. When she is not busy working, Alison enjoys watching football.

Simon Purkiss

Simon was born in Bristol and has lived in the city for most of his life. He enjoys playing football, watching Bristol Bears and spending time with his young family.

He is passionate about equity and making a positive difference in people’s lives. He’s inspired by Brigstowe’s passionate approach and enjoys being part of the team.

Simon has over 15 years of fundraising and marketing experience in the voluntary sector. His work focuses on creating, developing and implementing successful strategies for sustainable income generation.

Dominic Eastham (Treasurer)

Dominic is a not-for-profit accountant. In his own words, he is “trying to make the world a better place one spreadsheet at a time”.

David Henshaw

Having lived in Bristol for 37 years, I consider myself an adopted son of the city. I live with my partner of 32 years, Colin, and our dog Tad. We enjoy all the normal socialising activities, including good food, good company and good holidays!

My career has mainly been spent in recruitment, predominately working for specialist recruiters before moving into the third sector nine years ago to take up a position with a national employment charity whose aim is to help those furthest away from the labour market back into employment.

I am keen to support the good work that Brigstowe continues to deliver and ensure that they are able to do so for many years to come.

Jeremy Horwood

Jeremy is a Professor of Social Sciences and Applied Health Research at the University of Bristol. He is passionate about health services being designed and delivered to ensure equity of access, use and acceptability. His work aims to reverse health inequalities experienced by marginalised groups, with a focus on reducing the stigma of sexually transmitted infections (STI) and improving access to STI testing and PrEP (a pill taken by HIV-negative people before and after sex that reduces the risk of getting HIV).

Vicky Harwood

Vicky graduated in Classics from Newcastle University, and after volunteering in a homelessness hostel, has since remained working in the supported housing sector for 29 years, including 24 years as a manager/leader and in organisations ranging from national housing associations to local, grassroots charities. Currently, she is working for a Bristol-based charity providing housing and support services for young people. Vicky is passionate about the support sector, fairness, professional standards of service delivery, innovation and improvements.

Vicky has lived in Bristol for 19 years and is interested in history, quizzes, and football (Grimsby Town FC – her hometown team!).

Jonathan Downing

Jonathan is originally from Sunderland and has lived in Bristol since 2015. During that time, he has worked as a campaigns assistant, policy advisor and consultant, with specialisms in adult social care, public health, education and transport. He is passionate about health and care systems, reducing inequality and improving health outcomes across communities.

When not working, Jonathan plays for Bristol City Panthers FC, a local LGBTQ+ football club. He has in the past been persuaded to take up running (but only really enjoyed it when raising funds for charities like Brigstowe!).

Mark Hubbard

Mark Hubbard is an experienced leader, collaborator and strategic thinker. Educated first in science then in marketing and management, he brings professionalism, experience, curiosity and commitment. He works with many social enterprises and community and public organisations, creating, developing and implementing successful strategies, projects and programmes, delivering high-impact services to a wide range of clients. Mark’s work has been recognised with a Leadership award.

Key skills: partnerships/collaboration; project/programme management; strategic development; leadership; facilitation and group work; creative solutions.

Carole Johnson

Being of Afro-Caribbean descent and growing up in Easton, Bristol, I attended the local schools and always carried a deep concern and awareness of social injustices and inequalities.

This has motivated me to pursue roles which positioned me to better serve the most vulnerable and disadvantaged groups. This has included working as a primary school teacher and also a social worker. I am serving as school governor to four schools consecutively, hospital governor for University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust, as a Bristol Magistrate and Deputy Bench Chairman for all Magistrates across Avon and Somerset, and as Local elected Councillor and Deputy Lord Mayor. I am representing as Chair of the Equalities and Communities task and finish group, BME Officer and Women’s Officer for the elected Labour Group.

My ongoing vision is to lay firm foundations to sow seeds which create a climate and legacy of positive change and improvements that impact future generations, to re-address the current societal imbalances and inequalities in our city, including those living with HIV/AIDS, to raise awareness and increase equity and equal life chances across all communities.

Matthew Areskog

Matthew is passionate about the charity and our vision. Having been diagnosed as HIV-positive in 2014, Matthew knows first-hand the importance of community support for people living with HIV. Matthew started his journey with Brigstowe as a Peer Mentor, supporting newly diagnosed people locally. Matthew believes in the importance of connection and community and encouraging conversations about HIV as a way to reduce stigma and prejudice.

Matthew has worked in the health and social care sector across the South West for 17 years and is currently the Patient Experience and Voluntary Services manager at University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust. Matthew brings experience in partnership development, community engagement, strategic planning and volunteering and is really keen to ensure services are inclusive for everyone.