YMCA Heart of England is a registered charity. Ultimate responsibility for the life of the association rests with the Board of Trustees. They must ensure that the association is well run and achieving its strategic aims.

Trustees are directors of the company with all of the legal responsibilities that that holds, but they all serve in a voluntary capacity; they receive no pay and cannot receive a dividend. Trustees can serve for a maximum of nine years, after which they must step down from the board.

Trustees meet as a Board six times a year. They delegate some of their powers and responsibilities to sub committees covering YMCA Heart of England’s work in Birmingham, Solihull, Coventry and Warwickshire.

Chair - Paul Harris

Paul Harris Headshot 2021

Paul built a highly successful sales and marketing career in a variety of industries before setting up Real Success Ltd (a consulting, coaching and training business) in 2008. Real Success Ltd specialises in leadership development, team cohesion, improved communication, recruitment and managing performance and Paul is recognised as respected authority on team performance, staff alignment and retention. He speaks regularly at key events on the subject of people development. With a varied client portfolio including companies such as Dixons, L’Oreal, Vodafone alongside a wide variety of SME’s across the UK, Paul also has a large client base within the agricultural sector. He is a Director of a number of local Community Interest Companies and Charities that work with young people and is Chair of YMCA Heart of England.

Vice Chair - Dawn Ward CBE


Dawn is Chief Executive and Principal of Burton and South Derbyshire College. Dawn is a council member of the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce and a Director of Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership. She has had a successful international career, has extensive experience in senior positions at Board level (both as a member and Chair) across a number of national groups and is a published author. She has received numerous awards for her leading contribution to skills and education. She served as member of the expert panel for the Lingfield Review on Professionalism in Further Education and is now Deputy Chair of The Chartered Institution for Further Education and a trustee of the League of Mercy. Dawn has devoted her life to working with young people, raising aspirations and opportunities for all.

Trustee – Oenca Fontaine


Oenca is an experienced leadership, talent and organisational development consultant, coach-mentor, trainer, writer and social entrepreneur. Oenca set up a coaching, leadership development consultancy, inner Dimensions Ltd, in 2002. She uses a number of profiling and 360-Degree feedback instruments to support individuals and organisations focus on their inherent qualities, values and abilities. Oenca is currently the Parent Carer Workshop Project Coordinator, supporting parent carers of children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), across Birmingham on behalf of Birmingham City Council. In addition, Oenca is also the Founder & Chair of Christian Leadership Ministries (CLM), bringing a focus for leadership, talent and spiritual development into the wider Christian community.

Trustee – Arkle Bell


Arkle has been involved in Youth and Community work for most of his working life, locally nationally and internationally. His particular interests have been in training, supervision, participation and spirituality. Arkle has been involved in the YMCA, locally (as a trustee of local associations) nationally, (as a trustees of the national Council of YMCAs), and internationally for many years.

Trustee – Mike Hew


Mike Hew joined the YMCA board in May 2017 having retired in 2014 as the Chief Executive of a registered housing provider, based in the West Midlands. He has many years of housing experience at a senior level in both housing associations and local authorities in the region bringing expertise in strategic and asset management, change management, organisational development, social housing policy and governance. He is a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Housing and also serves as a Board member for a large housing association based in Walsall. Mike is also a trustee at his local Christian church where he helps with running a drop in youth club and with preaching.

Trustee – Graham Cadd


Graham brings a wealth of business experience and is currently Managing Director/Company Secretary of Hydraulic Supplies Limited a successful Specialised Steel Stockist formed in 1991. He has worked is this area since 1983, headhunted from a computer hardware and software specialist for NCR & Apple (sage, pegasus, map, global accountancy packages). At sixteen (1975) he joined the army at IJLB in Shorncliffe and progressed through training at the Guards Depot in Pirbright, before joining his Battalion (Grenadier Guards) at seventeen. He left the army in 1980 to further explore life. A serial entrepreneur with four other businesses and fund raiser for many charities including Variety The Childrens Charity (Bristol), Chief Ambassador and Ambassador (alongside his wife Tina) for Nourish the Children, feeding and educating the people of Malawi with the Force for Good Foundation (a Nu Skin initiative).

Trustee – Gabriel Imevbore


Gabriel joined YMCA Birmingham as a resident after coming out of emergency accommodation.

Gabriel has since become a Resident Representative for YMCA Birmingham, won the Young Leader of The Year at the 2017 Youth Matters Awards and is now the youngest member of the Board of Trustees in YMCA Birmingham’s history. He has future ambitions of becoming a successful entrepreneur and has started his first business – iMev Marketing Ltd, a social media marketing agency.

Trustee – Everton Burke


Everton worked in the further education (FE) sector in Birmingham for over 25 years progressing through the ranks from lecturer to vice principal at various colleges. During this time he worked on several national steering committees advising government on qualifications for the Hospitality sector, including chairmanship of a review group. Everton is now an Education Consultant and is still a great supporter of the FE sector contributing through his governership work. He was appointed to the Governing Body in July 2011 and elected Chairman of Burton and South Derbyshire College two years later.

Since 2012 Everton has been working with a police reference group that advises the West Midlands Police of strategies to positively engage with peoples of the African and Caribbean communities. He chaired the group for its first 6 years.

Everton was a founding director in an alternative education provision, a school, for students in years 10 and 11 arriving in Birmingham from abroad and needing to learn English.

Although he describes himself as semi-retired, Everton continues to have a strong community focus whereby he readily gives assistance and support where he can, to individuals and groups requiring it.

Trustee - Anne Linsey


Anne has been involved with the YMCA for almost 40 years and joined the Board of YMCA in 2015. She was a staff member at YMCA England from 1981 and the CEO of YMCA Training from 1994 to July 2014. During her YMCA career Anne participated locally, regionally and internationally to support and promote YMCA activity and developments. Anne remains involved with the YMCA in a voluntary capacity as a Trustee of YMCA Heart of England. Anne is currently a volunteer with Citizens Advice North Oxfordshire and South Northants. In the past Anne has held a number of other voluntary and public appointments including being a board member of ERSA (the Employment Related Services Association) and serving on the Northamptonshire Learning and Skills Council for six years. She has also contributed to numerous working and advisory groups in the employment and skills sectors.

Trustee - Gareth Bunn

Gareth Bunn 1

Gareth was appointed as a Trustee in April 2019. He is a Learning Manager with six years-experience in the third sector. Based in Coventry and Warwickshire, Gareth leads a team of educational specialists at Crisis UK. Gareth’s teams’ primary focus is to provide opportunity for homeless people to access education and skills which have previously seemed out of reach. This largely involves taking a person centred approach to individuals needs offering a holistic service which provides a foundation for personal change and development.

Before joining Crisis in 2013, Gareth completed his PGCE at Warwick University and worked at a school for children with Special Educational Needs (SEN). This experienced encouraged Gareth to join the third sector to use his experience of developing innovative pedagogy and accessible education to benefit adult learners who have had difficulties engaging with the education system.

Trustee – Mark Bruckshaw


Want to know more?

If you are interested in becoming a trustee of YMCA Heart of England or would like to know more, please contact Jane Healy by email jane.healy@ymcaheartofengland.org.uk