Meet The Board

Penny Venables – Chair of SLT Board.

Experienced retired Chief Executive Officer with a demonstrated history of working in the hospital and health care industry in the public and not for profit sectors. Skilled in Strategic Development, partnership working, performance improvement, operations management, coaching, healthcare, information technology (HIT), and board governance and risk. Strong business development professional with a MSc focussed in Public Sector Management from Aston University. Active consultancy in public sector and currently sit on two health organisation boards in a Non-Executive Director capacity.


Paul Piddock – Vice Chair of SLT Board

Retired from Local Government since 2018 after 36 years in a variety of Senior Management Roles, including Leisure Management, Education PFI Capital Projects, Strategic Asset and Facilities Management. 27 years’ experience in school governance in Primary, Secondary and Special education settings serving Governing boards and School Improvement Boards as Chair or Vice Chair. Currently Trustee of Sandwell Leisure Trust (vice chair), Director of St John Bosco Multi Academy Company incorporating 2 Secondary and 6 Primary Schools and Academy Ambassador for the Unity Multi Academy Trust.

Neil King

Founder of new start up business Longevity Network delivering physical activity aimed at slowing down and reversing ageing. Extensive experience in senior and executive positions across both private and public sectors of health & fitness industry in UK and mainland Europe. Previous MD & CEO of award winning energie Fitness, extensive expertise in marketing and branding field, leading the rebrand of 1Life Management Solutions and Commercial Director at Everyone Active growing business from 20 to 100 outlets and winner of ukactive ‘Operator of the Year’ award for 3 consecutive years.


Melanie Briggs

Melanie is currently Head of Employee Relations at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust.  A member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, Melanie is a senior HR professional, coach and mediator with extensive experience of people management, people engagement and transformation, employee relations and casework across healthcare, leisure and media organisations, both in the UK and internationally.  Melanie has a people-centric approach and is passionate about making the employee experience as rewarding as it can be.


Tracy Pearce

A Chartered Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute and Chief Executive for a Multi Academy Trust, former CEO of SIPS Education and former Service Manager for Sandwell Council with extensive public and private/not for profit sector experience linked to the education sector and extensive executive board level experience.


Steve Washbourne

Steve has been the Chief Finance Officer at the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital NHSFT for the last 7 years, having joined the NHS 28 years ago as a Financial Management Trainee. Steve grew up in Birmingham and as a child swam competitively for Orion and then City of Birmingham Swimming Club, and trained and competed at a many of the swimming pools across Birmingham,  Sandwell and the Black Country as well as nationally. Steve still coaches hockey at his local club, and is a regular if very slow runner, finishing the London Marathon in 2023, and also competed in the odd triathlon. He has been a Governor of the University of Birmingham School since 2018, and is also the Independent Member of the Audit Committee at Aston University. 


Dave Rosser 

Now retired, Dave studied Medicine in Cardiff and undertook post graduate training in South Wales and London. He was appointed as a Consultant in Intensive Care Medicine at University Hospitals Birmingham and developed his career in medical management spending 12 years as Executive Medical Director before becoming Chief Executive. Dave has a special interest in Information Technology in health care and the transformation of clinical and business processes.

Scott Thomas 

Qualified teacher who has worked across Primary, Secondary and Further Education sectors for over 20 years. Scott holds a BSc (Hons) in Sports Science and Biology. Scott right now is Assistant Principal at Sandwell College and responsible for several curriculum areas including Business and Computing, our city centre campus and partnerships across the organisation. Scott was previously Head of Sport for 8 years at Sandwell College and led development of some key partnerships with West Bromwich Albion FC, Wolverhampton Wanderers FC and Edgbaston. Currently Trustee of Sandwell Leisure Trust. 

Shahin Akhtar 

Shahin has a wealth of experience in working and representing faith groups, bringing expertise in fostering community relations, communicating with diverse audiences, and navigating certain topics.  His interpersonal skills enable him to listen actively, negotiate effectively, and maintain professionalism while respecting varied views and beliefs.  Shahin is adept at collaborating with others toward shared goals. His deep knowledge of the faith sector in Sandwell will be a valuable asset to the board.