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Our Board | South Lakes Housing

Our Board

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 currently holds the highest gradings for ‘Governance’ (G1) and ‘Viability’ (V1) from the Homes and Communities Agency (the social housing regulator).

A summary of each Board meeting is published here;

  • 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.

    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.

    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

    Keith was previously a Co-optee on the Audit & Risk committee from May 2016. He is a keen environmentalist and involved with a number of local charities. He is based in Ambleside and enjoys walking cycling and climbing holidays.

    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.


    Eve MartinEve Martin

    Eve has extensive experience in delivering services to residents through her work with local authorities and charities which gives her an insight into the challenges in providing affordable housing.

    Until recently she has chaired a national charity which focussed on improving sexual health of young people. She has an exceptional governance track record and significant experience in a regulated field.

    Previous roles in Local Authority including HR and organisational development bring additional benefits to SLH. Eve is currently a volunteer adviser with South Lakes Citizens Advice and is a Director of Eden and South Lakeland Credit Union. Eve lives locally and is looking forward to using her experience to contribute to meeting the challenges that SLH faces.

    Maggi MorrisMaggi Morris

    Maggi is an independent Public Health consultant and as a resident of South Lakeland, Maggi is acutely aware of the housing issues affecting local residents, especially younger and older people regarding health and wellbeing issues.

    Maggi has worked alongside local communities and Housing Associations in North Liverpool in order to help regenerate housing and facilitate the local community development. A former Director of Public Health she has a wealth of knowledge and connections with the health service and is committed to improving health and well-being of residents.

    Her expertise in organisational development brings additional benefits to SLH.

    Ian MunroIan Munro

    In his current role as Chief Executive of New Charter Housing Association for the past 17 years, Ian can offer a significant contribution to the continuing success of SLH.

    Ian has been a former board member of the National Housing Federation and is currently Vice Chair of the Greater Manchester Planning and Housing Commission.

    Ian has transformed a transfer organisation into a successful social enterprise, supporting a building company and an educational academy group. Ian was awarded an OBE for services to housing the 2017 New Years Honours list.

    Maggi MorrisLoraine Birchall

    Loraine Birchall lives in Great Urswick and has been a Board member since 2014. Loraine is a self-employed web developer and designs knitwear patterns in her spare time.

    Loraine previously worked in the defence, financial services, ICT support/system admin, retail and hospitality. In her current business she’s acted as a consultant for Business Link, Manufacturing Advisory Service and West Cumbria Development Agency on a variety of projects. Loraine has a particular interest in accessibility, social and economic exclusion.

    She believes technology can enhance life for many, but, for disabled people it makes a life possible.