Give us a Chance is supported by a team of advisers, communication specialists, and digital consultants. The board is drawn from members of Give us a Chance and represents a broad range of experience and expertise.
Meet the team
Barbara is a former housing association Chief Executive and is well known in the sector. She ran West Kent, a top performing association, for 9 years, stepping down in 2010, and was awarded the OBE for services to social housing in 2008. She now runs her own business, coaching and mentoring senior people in the sector and supporting GUAC.
Lynsey has worked across housing, employment & skills services for the last three years with the National Housing Federation; developing partnerships and advocating for greater business integration between the two sectors.
Lynsey has worked across employment and skills programmes for 10 years, with roles involving business development, work based learning contracts, Apprenticeship Training Agency & Group Training Agency start-ups and Further Education management.
PR Director at See Media
Jenny Riddell, PR Director at See Media, is GUAC’s communications lead. She has been working in social housing communications for over five years, and nearly ten years in communications and lobbying. She works on a range of housing and development briefs, helping clients in the housing sector.
See Media provides public affairs, internal communications and strategic PR counsel to the housing sector.
GUAC website administrator / graphic designer
Allen is an independent digital designer providing graphic and web based consultancy services to a variety of local, national, and european clients.
He has a wide range of skills in-house, these include: brand creation and development, graphic design for print, website design and development, e-commerce solutions, online marketing, and social media management.
Chair of Give us a Chance,
Great Places Housing Group
Head of Social Investment, Jayne Entwistle, joined Great Places in 2015 from Symphony Housing Group where she had been Symphony Extra Project Manager with responsibility for leading on the employment and skills strategy across the Group.
Jayne has seen first-hand the benefits that GUAC can bring to the social investment work of Housing Associations - ‘as a GUAC partner, we benefit from working with likeminded Housing Organisations, taking advantage of the practical advice, support and expertise, national and regional intelligence, and raising the profile of the critical work of the sector’
Vice Chair of Give us a Chance,
Community Development Director of Optivo, William Miller, leads on the community development strategy and service delivery across Optivo.
William's main priority is in supporting residents into training, jobs and community enterprise activities. He recognises the contribution GUAC can make in supporting Housing Associations to develop and deliver better, more "leading edge resident employment support services", and better supporting residents into employment.
Kate Shone is Managing Director for ComMutual, the charitable arm of Liverpool Mutual Homes Group. ComMutual has been established to deliver the non housing related activity for LMH customers and communities. Their work focuses on 4 key pillars which included, employment, financial inclusion, health and wellbeing and digital inclusion. Kate joined the LMH Group in 2016 from Affinity Sutton where she was Manager for the North Region.
Kate holds an MSc in Management from the University of Chester. Kate is an active member of the Results, Opportunities and Change Group in the Liverpool City Region which brings housing colleagues together to tackle employment issues across the region.
Kate has been part of Give us a Chance since its inception and held the post of Chair until 2015. Kate is now the Treasurer for GUAC.
Yarlington Housing Group (Inspired to Achieve)
Debra Scarratt, Head of Inspired to Achieve, leads the employment support function at Yarlington Housing Group, a south west based provider of housing solutions. Inspired to Achieve is a wholly owned subsidiary of Yarlington and works to deliver a range of contracts focused on moving people into employment, education and training.
Prior to Yarlington, Debra held over 15 years’ experience working in careers and employment sector roles starting as a Careers Adviser and quickly progressing to working within senior management positions. Debra brings a unique and wide-ranging wealth of knowledge on best practice to support opportunities for social inclusion and mobility.
Debra is hugely impressed by the excellent employment support that housing associations offer on a daily basis to support a range of people. On joining the Board, Debra said:
“There’s no question that GUAC has an important part to play in influencing policy and perceptions to recognise housing associations as leaders in employment and skill support. I’m delighted to be able to join the team and support this work.”
Shepherd’s Bush Housing Group
Donna is Director of Housing at Shepherds Bush Housing Group. As part of her role, Donna oversees residents access to employment support, including via the award-winning ‘Best Chance’ service which offers support into employment, education, apprenticeships & training for residents and the wider west London community. With more than 20 years’ experience, Donna has focused on community investment as part of housing management.
Talking of the work she does to lead change for residents at SBHG, Donna said: “A job is the biggest factor which transforms and gives people control of their lives. It’s a focus at SBHG as part of our community focus. Knowing the difference this makes made me want to help others do the same and to champion the value it adds.”
Monmouthshire Housing Association
Farida Aslam has worked within the Housing sector for over 10 years, and she is currently employed by Monmouthshire Housing. She has been instrumental in leading and developing the Monmouthshire Housing Anti-Poverty approach encompassing Financial, Economical and Digital Inclusion. Farida’s role involves managing the employment and skills programmes, developing a partnership approach to employability and securing external funding, whilst also managing the delivery of Social Welfare advice encompassing Welfare Benefits and Debt, Financial Capability and Fuel poverty. Farida is currently a Board Member on Chartered Institute of Housing Wales and is a Public Appointee and a Lay Member of Social Care Wales. Farida also sits on the Welsh Government Financial Inclusion Strategy delivery group.
Farida is keen to raise the profile of the work that the housing sector is doing in Wales through working with GUAC and sharing best practice across the devolved nations.
Southern Housing Group
John Gleeson is Head of Community Investment at Southern Housing Group, where he has led on a range of activities of the Group over the past five years, including employment and skills, financial and digital inclusion and developing community partnerships.
Prior to joining Southern Housing Group, John worked in a number of organisations involved in the provision of housing with support, where he gained an understanding of the support needs of clients further from the labour market.
‘GUAC is important because I believe the social housing sector is on the cusp of developing into a major player in welfare to work provision’
Sovereign Housing Association
Board member Jon Fisher represents Sovereign Housing, where he is Head of Communities.
Jon joined Sovereign in 2013, and has worked at senior levels across the industry supporting the community investment ambitions of Wandle Housing Association and Hexagon Housing Association prior to moving to Sovereign.
Walsall Housing Group
Julie Haywood has been Director of Employment & Training at Walsall Housing Group for 10 years. She leads on whg’s employment and skills programmes - creating strategic partnerships and securing external funding to supplement whg’s education, employment and training programme.
Julie is keen to help other Housing Association’s like whg to collaborate and levy the power they have to influence the national agenda - ‘GUAC has a key role to play in supporting HAs in raising their profile around the employment and training agenda”
London & Quadrant
Matt Bayliss is Head of Independent Lives at L&Q, leading a programme which provides a wide range of personalised economic support to L&Q’s residents and communities, including employment and skills, financial and digital inclusion, and support with sustaining tenancies.
Matt sees GUAC’s value in its ability to raise the profile of the work housing associations do on employment and skills, facilitating strategic partnerships and lobbying decision makers.