It’s Trustees’ Week 2022 and we’d like to say a huge THANK YOU to our Board of Trustees who give their time, commitment and effort to help Action Foundation to thrive.

We asked some of our Board members to tell us a little about why they decided to become a Trustee of Action Foundation.

For Chairman, David Lyall, (top left), it was all about caring for people ‘on the margins’.

“In my role as Chair, I’m keen that we remain true to our initial motivation of showing unconditional care to people seeking asylum, refugees and migrants, empowering them to thrive in the UK. I’m also keen that we continue to diversify at every level of the organisation.”

David says he enjoys the experience of building friendships with people from different cultures and ‘getting to know and love their sense of humour, food, music, dancing, history and way of life.’

Board member, Gabrielle Mandell, (middle of top row), whose ‘day job’ is CEO of the Institute of Water, was born and bred in Toronto. She says:

“I grew up in a multicultural environment, shaped by immigrants and refugees from around the world.

“The shared values and commitment that brought Action Foundation into being resonate deeply for me. I have been part of numerous multi-faith advocacy and action initiatives to address key social justice issues.

“And as an ‘adoptive Geordie’ I have put down roots in Newcastle and am happy to support and empower newcomers to this wonderful community. It takes proactive and community engagement to move from diversity to inclusion and belonging.”

Meanwhile, for Mark Hall , (top row on right), who is Principal of Grace College in Gateshead, it was partly his formative years at university in post apartheid South Africa, (Mark hails from Johannesburg) that nurtured a desire to work towards a more equal society. Mark says: “I wondered what life ought to be and could be for all…especially considering the inequalities of apartheid.”

“I became a Trustee of Action Foundation in 2018 because I knew it to be an organisation that values every individual and offers unconditional support to some of the most marginalised in our society. I welcome the opportunity to use my educational and leadership skills and cross-cultural experiences to ensure we deliver on our commitments to providing services and support that enhance personal dignity and agency – good quality housing, English language learning and community building.”

The theme for this year’s Trustees’ Week is making a difference in changing times. We believe the positive impact our Trustees make is invaluable to our charity as we navigate the challenges of working to improve the lives of people seeking sanctuary here in the North East.

Action Foundation CEO Duncan McAuley says:

Our trustees are the best, though my opinion may be biased! They bring considerable skills and experience to help shape and inform the vital work we do at Action Foundation; often unseen and rarely applauded, their voluntary contribution is invaluable in making a difference to the lives of migrants, refugees and people seeking asylum across the North East.”

Photograph from top left to right:

David Lyall, Gaby Mandell, Mark Hall, Andrew Coulson, Rola Naeb, Gil Okai, Mae Mesgarnezhad

  • Our Trustee, Mark Hall, will be speaking about the work of Action Foundation at a special Carols by Candlelight event in December which will raise money for our charity. If you would like to know more about booking a ticket for the concert, then click here.