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Our Team | South Lakes Housing

Our Team

From a dedicated team of directors to a passionate board, we have an experienced team of people who shape the plans and direction of our organisations. Our Board makes major decisions about our aims and how we can achieve this. It steers our executive management team who look after the day-to-day operation of the business and the delivery of our services.

  • Our BoardRead more



    The organisation is run by a voluntary Board of Management where people are recruited based upon a criteria of skills and competencies required by the board to fulfil their business objectives. The Board makes major decisions about what the company aims to do and how it will achieve this. It steers the executive management team who look after the day-to-day operation of the business and the delivery of services.

    SLH received the highest gradings for ‘governance and viability’ from the Homes and Communities Agency (the social housing regulator) for the fourth year in a row in November 2016.

    • Directors 
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      John-HolmesJohn Holmes (Chairman)

      John has lived in Crosthwaite since 1999 having moved from Bradford/Leeds. He has spent the last 45 years Managing Director of a General Contracting Company engaged in the building of Schools, Hospitals, Churches, Housing for Local Authorities, Housing Associations and private clients as well as considerable works for Industry and Commerce. Having trained as a Quantity Surveyor he spent most of his working life in project management including design build projects.

      During his time in Crosthwaite he has become involved in several community organisations and Charitable Trusts and in 2011 he was elected as a Councillor for the Lyth Valley. He is particularly interested in being part of South Lakes Housing, where he can use his experience over 50 years in the Construction Industry to its benefit.

      Peter-KuitPeter Kuit (Vice Chairman)

      Peter’s past work includes pioneering regeneration schemes and major re-structuring initiatives. He has operated at a senior management level for more than 20 years and, prior to his retirement in September 2009, was Director of Development for Preston City Council.

      Peter brings extensive and relevant experience to the Board, ranging from multi-disciplinary project management to the challenges faced in making provisions for the homeless, to motivating staff and colleagues at all levels. He is also a volunteer business mentor for the Cumbria Rural Enterprise Agency and an Executive Director of the Cumbria Community Asset and Reinvestment Trust.

      David Richardson

      David Richardson has lived in South Lakeland for twelve years. Hailing originally from London, he moved to the NW over forty-five years ago. His career was in higher education administration and fundraising. He held a number of posts in the University of Manchester including Deputy Registrar and Secretary to the University Foundation. He is now Honorary Development Associate at the University of Cumbria.

      David is active in community engagement. He has been Chair of Cumbria Council for Voluntary Service since 2010. One cause in which he takes a particular interest is that of the needs of people living with dementia, having been a volunteer with the Alzheimer’s Society since 2002. Nationally, he was a member of the Society’s Board of Trustees from 2006 to 2013, and chaired the Board’s advisory group on fundraising; he is now a volunteer with the legacy and recognition giving team. Locally, he helps with campaigning and delivery of services; he is also the current Chair of the Community Dementia Forum for South Lakeland.

      Brian McDonough

      Brian’s career was in education and between 1990 and 2008 he was Deputy Principal at Joseph Chamberlain College, Birmingham, a city-centre Sixth form college with over 3,000 students. His main responsibilities included managing Human Resources, IT, Information, Financial and Risk Management.

      During that time he gained considerable experience with working with local community groups, bidding for national and EU funding and managing capital projects. He was also chair of a local Primary School Board of Governors.

      He is interested in helping South Lakes Housing to be a top performing organisation, providing good quality housing and services to people of the local area.

      Charles-HowarthCharles Howarth

      Charles lives in Barbon and has been a tenant Board member since 2008. His main interest is charity work with the visually impaired. Charles previously worked in mechanical engineering and road transport. Charles is a big believer in social housing as a life choice and has a particular interest in equality and diversity.

      emma-beresfordEmma Beresford

      Emma joined the Board in November 2013. Emma lives in Allithwaite and has been a tenant since 2003. She works in Kendal for a firm of accountants and is qualified to level 4 NVQ in accounting and studying towards a taxation qualification.

      Loraine-BirchallLoraine Birchall

      Loraine is a tenant board member and lives in Great Urswick near Ulverston. She is a self-employed web developer and has been a consultant for Business Link, Manufacturing Advisory Service and West Cumbria Development Agency. Loraine previously worked in the defence, financial services, ICT support/system admin, retail and hospitality sectors. Loraine has a particular interest in accessibility, social and economic exclusion. She believes technology can enhance the lives of many, but, for disabled people it makes a life possible.

      Philip-DixonPhilip Dixon

      Philip was born and raised in Kendal. He has four grown up children and lives in Windermere with his wife Janette. Phillip is the Councillor for the Kendal Highgate Ward and also works within the family business the Kendal Creperie, supporting events in the local area. Phillip’s interests include running and hill walking and he is a member of the Bob Graham Club!

      Philip believes it is a privilege to be part of South Lakes Housing and is particularly keen to promote and protect the needs of local people. Phillips believes social housing is absolutely essential in providing community well-being.

      george-taylorGeorge Taylor

      George has lived in Kendal for 16 years. During that period, he has served as a board member of the Kendal Brewery Arts Centre for 10 years and Kendal College for 12 years. His principal other activities are acting as chair of the trustees of four pension schemes, two based in Carlisle. From 2010 until the role ceased in mid-2015, he was a Public Member of Network Rail, representing the public interest as investor in the railway network.

      He has extensive board experience in housing, having served from 2004 to 2008 as chair of the board of Newlon Housing Trust in north-east London, when Newlon was the social housing partner of the Arsenal Football Club in all their development in the London Borough of Islington. George has also served as a board member of the Community Gateway Association in Preston and in 2013 as interim chair of the board of Great Places Housing Association, based in Manchester.

      George’s principal career was in human resources, with his final role being HR Director of Meyer International, owner of Jewson, the builders’ merchants. He left Meyer in 1996, following which he built up a portfolio of work principally in pensions but also in widening participation in higher education, in which he is a very strong believer. He has local authority experience, having served as a councillor in the London Borough of Islington from 1971 to 1978. George’s principal leisure interests are mountaineering and fell walking locally, in other parts of Europe and in the Himalaya, also theatre and cinema. He is married with two adult children and two grandchildren

      peter-thorntonPeter Thornton

      Peter’s parents were living with grandparents when he, and later his brother, arrived on the scene. He remembers his Father opening an envelope and telling them they had been granted the tenancy of a Council House. Their home was on Low Mead, part of the newly built Hallgarth estate in Kendal, and the Thornton family were the first tenants.

      He is very conscious that the young parents of today don’t have the same chances as he did. Sky high prices and high rents are, in Peter’s opinion, partly the result of the running down of the social housing sector by successive governments of all colours.

      Peter is pleased to be joining the board of South Lakes Housing at a time when it has an increased ambition to expand, build and to make the most of readily available capital coupled with low interest rates.

      Peter is a keen motorcyclist and enjoys “leisurely” trips along the back roads of Cumbria and North Wales.

      keith-bevanKeith Bevan (Co-Optee)

      Keith has lived in the South Lakes for five years after spending many years travelling here for walking, cycling and climbing holidays. He is a keen environmentalist and involved with a number of local charities. He is based in Ambleside.

      He has worked in the Life Insurance market for over 25 years focussing on risk management and consultancy work. He has worked in Europe with some of the largest international insurers as well as smaller scale UK mutuals. Over the last 10 years he has supported a number of senior leadership and Board teams in making financial, risk management and capital management transitions due to regulatory change.

      Keith is looking forward to supporting South Lakes Housing as it makes its transition to the new strategy and business model and coping with the inevitable regulatory changes that will emerge over the next few years.

  • EMTRead more


    • The Executive Management TeamRead more
      cath_purdy_obe_004webCath Purdy
      Chief Executive

      Cath Purdy joined South Lakes Housing in July 2015, having previously been Chief Executive of Housing Hartlepool and Group Chief Executive of Vela Housing Group, before briefly becoming Deputy Group Chief Executive of Thirteen Group in the Tees Valley.

      Having spent over 25 years as a housing professional, 15 of which have been at executive level, Cath is passionate about social housing and how the sector contributes to economic and social wellbeing. She has been very active in the sector, currently serving as Board director of the National Housing Federation and Housemark and previously serving on the CiH Council and Northern Housing Consortium Board. She has a first degree in Social policy, a diploma in Housing policy and a Masters in Business Administration. She is a fellow of the CiH and in 2011 was awarded an OBE, for her work in Local Government in the Queen’s Birthday honours.

      Having previously delivered two successful transfers Cath is committed to delivering the promises made to tenants on transfer to South Lakes. She is keen to build on the strong foundation of the first few years and with an excellent staff team improve core services, value for money and grow the business through the development of much needed new homes. By working in partnership with the Local Authorities and others she intends for South Lakes to be at the forefront of delivering the economic, social and health benefits of good quality affordable housing in the area.


      Lindsay Simons
      Director of Corporate Services

      Lindsay became the Director of Finance in June 2012 following an interim period as a consultant. She has 26 years’ experience in the social housing sector, having held senior positions in the Places for People Group and the Progress Housing Group before moving into consultancy. She has also worked as a consultant for 7 years, as Business Improvement Manager with the Tribal Group, as a Director of Pennington Consulting, as a Director of Optima Housing Consultants (part of the Trans Pennine Housing Group) and with the David Tolson Partnership. She is also experienced in establishing new housing associations and was recently Director of Corporate Services at Cartrefi Cymunedol Gwynedd (a 6300 unit recent stock transfer association).

      Lindsay has advised both local authorities and housing associations on a wide range of issues including financial management, governance and efficiency. She has undertaken comprehensive reviews of a number of service areas which have included policy review, analysis of business processes, evaluation of staffing structures, benchmarking of performance and Value for Money assessment. She has developed a particular specialism in income management reviews and has an extensive knowledge of best practice within the sector.


      Richard Hayes
      Director of Assets and Improvements

      Richard graduated in 1995 as a Quantity Surveyor and initially worked for Knowsley Design Consultancy in Liverpool. He was a member of the design team to deliver the Liverpool Football Club Academy in Kirby and new leisure centres in Halewood and Huyton, Liverpool. Through the consultancy he worked with Knowsley Housing Services during their stock transfer to Knowsley Housing Trust in 2002.

      Richard moved to Sefton MBC and then latterly to One Vision Housing in Bootle where, as Head of Investment, he managed a multi – disciplinary team of Project Managers, Quantity Surveyors and Building Surveyors to successfully deliver a £200M property improvement programme within four years. Richard was a member of the managementteam when One Vision Housing won the 2012 Sunday Times Best 100 Companies Award.

      In 2012 Richard moved to South Lakes Housing to take up the post of Assistant Director of Assets and Investment and was subsequently appointed Director of Assets & Investments in 2015. In his current post Richard is responsible for the successful delivery of SLHs’ Improvement Programme, New Development, Compliance and Aids & Adaptations.


      Alison Kinnon
      Director of Customers and Communities

      Alison was appointed to the Executive Team in August 2016.  She gained an MBA from Glasgow Caledonian University in 1998, a post graduate diploma in Housing Studies from De Montford University in 2004 and is a Member of both the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) and the Chartered Management Institute (CMI).

      Alison’s career in social housing began in 1984 with Glasgow City Council in the rent collection team in an area housing office.  During her 14 years with Glasgow she was the housing lead on the demolition of three multi-storey flats in the Roystonhill area of north Glasgow before becoming the Neighbourhood Housing Manager for the Sighthill area consisting mainly of 20 multi storey flats.  She moved on to work for Stirling Council as an Area Housing Manager before joining Manchester City Council in 1999, where she worked for five years as part of the New Deal for Communities team on the multi million pound project to regenerate East Manchester.  It was at this time Alison started coming up to the Lake District at weekends to go hill walking and fell in love with the area.  This resulted in her relocating to Kendal and started working for Lancaster City Council firstly as the Local Strategic Partnership Co-ordinator and latterly on the project to regenerate the West End of Morecambe.

      Alison joined South Lakes Housing in 2007, spending her first seven years as the Housing Manager, helping to prepare for the Audit Commission’s inspection then assisting with the preparation for the large scale voluntary transfer (LSVT).  In 2014 she became the Assistant Director of Customers & Communities with responsibility for the day-to-day front line housing services and ensuring key performance indicators were met and also led on the review of the sheltered housing service.