History - How We Started

IDEALS was born out of the ravages of the Bosnian war in the 1990’s when the founding chairman John Beavis, an orthopaedic and trauma surgeon, frequently visited the country to assist with treatment of the wounded in civilian hospitals. After the war John continued to assist with the reconstruction of medical services, and while travelling had a chance meeting on a plane with business man, Mr Simon Oliver, which radically changed everything. Simon made a massive donation to the work with the advice, "Start a charity"! The fund set up with this spontaneous gift was initially designated "The Bosnian Fund", but in 2000 the charity IDEALS was registered.

About Us

IDEALS was established to help relieve poverty, distress and suffering in any part of the world affected by conflict and/or natural disaster. Since 2000 we have worked extensively in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and, more recently, in Lebanon and the occupied Palestinian territory, with the aim of providing humanitarian aid on a sustainable basis, forging links between emergency relief and long-term development. With the technical expertise available to us we have channelled our resources into the health sector: the provision of primary and secondary health care services in emergencies; the rehabilitation of health infrastructure (both buildings and equipment); the training of health workers (both hospital and community based); public health interventions; and the improvement of rehabilitation services for those with disabilities. We have also supported the delivery of other emergency relief (distribution of essential food and non-food items), construction and livelihood projects, to aid recovery in affected communities.

We are committed to the strengthening of technical and administrative capacity within local organisations. Our nine year partnership with a local organisation Community Appraisal & Motivation Programme (CAMP) in Pakistan proved particularly fruitful. This collaboration resulted in the successful delivery of a series of emergency and developmental health projects in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan Provinces and the Federally Administered Tribal Area, regions devastated by earthquake, floods and ongoing conflict in recent years. Our partnership with Blue Mission in Lebanon has developed over the past five years and continues to provide essential health services for extremely vulnerable Syrian refugee communities in the south of the country. We have no office or administrative costs, and the hugely experienced team of trustees and supporters provide their time and skills on a voluntary basis. Thus all private donations or grants received are used exclusively to plan, deliver, monitor and evaluate projects alongside our local partners. Have a look at our past and present programmes, or contact us for any further information you may need.

Who We Are


Mr Simon Oliver – Business entrepreneur, former Chairman of Dairy Crest Plc, Chairman of Pi Capital and director of other companies

Simon is a founding trustee of IDEALS having materially encouraged its formation as a charity. Simon brings the experience of a very successful, entrepreneurial, businessman to advising the charity. After developing his own dairy company he became Chairman of Dairy Crest as well as an investor in and Director of other successful businesses. He is the practical advisor with the layman’s careful questioning of the ideas for aiding the patients.

Dr Eamon McCoy MD FRCA – Anaesthetist with special interest in trauma, Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast

Eamon helped found IDEALS. He is a well-recognised Academic Anaesthetist who has made research contributions to his field. Eamon is a Consultant at The Royal Victoria Hospital Belfast and has combined this work with numerous visits to Bosnia, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, West Bank and Gaza where he works in a teaching and clinical capacity. His special, and popular, role of teaching “difficult airway techniques” is very valuable and welcomed by his post graduate students.

Mr Graeme Groom - MA FRCS - Consultant Trauma and Orthopaedic Surgeon, King’s College Hospital, London

Graeme is Co-Chair of IDEALS. He is one of the originators of the Limb Reconstruction Unit at King’s College Hospital. He has combined his extensive NHS work as the Senior Consultant in Trauma and Orthopaedic Surgery with numerous visits to Gaza and West Bank as visiting Consultant. Since the last hostilities he has worked each month in Gaza in essential surgical care of war injured patients which he combines with teaching.

Ms Sarah Phillips BSc MB FRCS (Eng) FRCS (T&O) - Consultant Trauma and Orthopaedic Surgeon, King’s College Hospital, London

Sarah is a Consultant Orthopaedic & Trauma Surgeon at King’s College Hospital and is one of the Consultants in charge of the Limb Reconstruction Unit at Kings. She has a considerable volunteer experience in Sudan as well as in Gaza and West Bank with IDEALS. Sarah has made many visits to Gaza since the last hostilities as part of the Limb Reconstruction Team.

Mr Oliver McTernan

Oliver has an established background in conflict resolution and interfaith relationships as Founder and Chairman of “Forward Thinking” and is very active in maintaining dialogue between Israel and Palestinians. Oliver was responsible for initiating the first post-conflict talks between NATO and the former Yugoslav Government. He has made a large numbers of visits to the Middle East, and especially Gaza, assisting in the cause of peace and reconciliation.

Mr Jerome Curran MA (Oxon); Post Grad Dip Law

Jerome is a long-term supporter of the work of IDEALS and he brings a very long and varied experience of law in many fields while practicing as a Solicitor in Kent and London. His association with IDEALS, even before becoming a Trustee, has been marked by a great concern for individuals and communities caught in conflict and disasters without regard to the religious or political allegiances of the victims.

Dr Andrew Ferguson MRCGP MFPHM MPH – GP and public health specialist

Andy is Co-Chair of IDEALS. He has worked as a front-line clinician and project/programme manager in communities affected by conflict or natural disaster in Bosnia, Kosova, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Palestine and Lebanon. Andy has helped plan, implement, monitor and evaluate many different IDEALS programmes.

Professor Nigel Silman BSc FIBMS PhD

Nigel is a specialist adviser on public health/infection control to UK & international government bodies, and is a visiting Chair of Infectious Diseases at University of the West of England, Bristol. Whilst a director of Public Health England he developed and delivered a hugely successful water quality improvement project in Gaza for IDEALS.