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Our Board - South Lakes Housing

Our Board

The organisation is run by a 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).

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    Ian Munro (Chair)

    Until recently Ian had been the Chief Executive of New Charter, a highly successful and respected Housing Association in the Manchester area. Ian has served as a non-executive director on the Board of SLH since September 2017 and as well as his significant housing pedigree he has set up and chaired a multi-academy education trust and a local media company

    Ian was appointed to the SLH Chair role from 1st May 2018. Ian has been a former board member of the National Housing Federation and was awarded an OBE for services to housing in the 2017 New Years Honours list

    Key skills: Strategy, Governance, Housing, Property Management.

    Keith Bevan (Chair of Audit and Risk Committee)

    Keith is Chair of SLH Audit & Risk Committee. 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.

    In 2017 he took up the position of Chief Risk Officer at Furness Building Society.

    Key skills: Strategy, Risk, Finance, Governance and Regulation.

    George Taylor (Chair of Remuneration and Governance Committee)

    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 an 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.

    Key skills: Housing, Development/Regeneration, Governance, Finance, Pensions.

    Brian McDonough

    Brians career was in further 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.

    Key skills: Human Resources, IT, Finance, Performance and Risk Management.

    Kerry Byrne

    Kerry is a Chartered Certified Accountant, having qualified with Deloitte where she spent almost 12 years specialising in internal audit and risk management in both the public and private sectors. She spent three years in the industry as the Head of Internal Audit for the Universities Superannuation Scheme Ltd before moving back into practice for three years with Ernst & Young where she specialised in Banking.

    Kerry is a Governor of Liverpool John Moores University, where she is Chair of the Finance Committee. She is also a Non-Executive Director of Alder Hey Childrens NHS Foundation Trust where she is Chair of the Audit Committee.

    Kerry now runs a property business, letting properties to tenants and developing properties for sale.

    Key skills: Finance and Treasury, Audit, Risk, Governance.


    Loraine Birchall

    Loraine Birchall lives in Great Urswick and has been a Board member since 2014. Loraine is a self-employed web developer and consultant.

    Loraine previously worked in defence, financial services, ICT support/system admin, retail and hospitality. In her current business shes 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 better life possible.

    Key skills: Technology, Partnerships, Community Engagement and Social media.

    Stephen Bolton

    Stephen became a Board Member in November 2018 and has been engaged with SLH for a number of years including Chairing the Tenants Committee and involvement in Tenant Scrutiny Reviews and the Tenant Complaints Panel. He has over 25 years experience of community/sports boards and committees including holding the positions of Chair, Secretary and Treasurer.

    Stephen served for 7 years in the Armed Forces in various locations and was a taxi driver for over 15 years, including a period of self-employment.

    Stephen possesses a number of accountancy, IT and health & safety related qualifications. For the last 5 years, Stephen has been a volunteer adviser at Barrow Citizens Advice providing welfare advice.

    Stephens main interest is the development of more social housing and improving services for disabled people.

    Key skills: Partnerships, Tenant Engagement, Financial Inclusion

    John Burt

    John has worked in social housing most of his working life and is passionate about social purpose. Having worked previously in a large housing association he is interested in helping with the challenges faced by SLH. His vast experience with developing new homes and regenerating estates is coupled with his governance experience as a Deputy Chief Executive. Having served a number of boards for the past 30 years he has good knowledge and experience of what makes a board effective and able to fulfil their responsibilities.

    Key skills: Strategy, Development, Governance, Risk, Property Management

    Steve Bentley

    Steve has over 35 years of experience in corporate banking, having qualified with the institute of bankers and was the former Relationship Director for Barclays specialised in supporting Social Housing providers in the North West before retiring in 2019. He brings considerable corporate governance, finance and treasury management experience to South Lakes Housing. Steve lives just outside of Kirkby Lonsdale and is also the senior independent director at the ForViva Group a social housing provider with wide-reaching commercial activities based in Salford.

    Key Skills: Finance, strategy, performance and treasury management


    Silas is a qualified solicitor who specialises in property law.  He moved to Kendal in 2017 after working for international law firms in Manchester and Liverpool, where he acted for pension funds, retailers and large charitable and educational institutions on their property transactions and portfolio management.  Silas is currently in-house Legal Counsel at Cumberland Building Society, where he advises the Society on all aspects of property, banking and finance and commercial law, as well as on corporate governance.

    A geography graduate and fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, Silas has a keen interest in sustainability and the environment.

    Key Skills: Property law, management and development; Commercial Contracts; Risk; Governance and Regulation



    Susanne has lived in Kendal since 2012, moving up from the south coast where she worked for IBM UK Ltd.

    Susanne is a Councillor for both South Lakeland District Council (elected in 2019) and for Kendal Town Council (elected 2018).  Susanne is especially interested in the areas of Planning and Housing and is also a Board member for Kendal Futures.

    Susanne’s previous career was within the IT sector, working in various sales and sales enablement roles all of which were focused on Client Relationship Management (CRM). In her role as Business Transformation Consultant, Susanne worked with Clients to re-design & simplify processes, deliver the infrastructure to support their evolving business needs and to prepare them for the change required to ensure their successful adoption.

    Key skills: Organisational Change Management (Business Transformation), Consulting: change & adoption, project & program management, Community engagement, CR