Tuesday, April 03, 2018

New era for New Charter - building the Northern Powerhouses

Tim, Gill, Bridget, Fay, Ian, me and Mark. 
We held the last ever New Charter Group board at the end of March. It's been a real privilege to serve alongside such a smart and energetic board of directors, giving support and scrutiny to a really capable and talented executive team.

I've known the chair, Fay Selvan, for a while longer than we've worked together. She's one of those people who fizzes with ideas and just exudes passion and concern to make a difference.

It's been an incredibly challenging period for social housing. When I joined the board the government capped rent increases, which drove a coach and horses through the business plan, and a bond issue. It necessitated a cost reduction programme across the organisaton, yet we still hit all our targets and metrics. It was clear too that well-run, socially focused social housing organisations had a real role to play in mitigating austerity and meeting the challenges of the lack of new homes being built. Slowly, surely, the tide has turned and government ministers have grasped who has the capacity and structure to deliver. Yes, we're still here, Sajid.

When I was interviewed to join the board I made it clear I wanted to join an organisation that could be part of the change. The endgame has been a merger with Adactus to form Jigsaw Homes Group, with homes stretching across the North West, but still with a vitally important root in Tameside.

I'm still going to be a director of the New Charter Building Company and a trustee of some of the charitable projects, and while things might take a while to settle down, I'm confident that we can continue to play a really important part in building our Northern Powerhouse.

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