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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 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.