Meet the team

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.

Barbara Thorndick

GUAC Adviser

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.

077962 66994

Lynsey Boother

GUAC Adviser

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.

Jenny Riddell

Communications Director at Communican

Jenny Riddell, Communications Director at Communican, is GUAC’s communications lead. She has been working in social housing communications for over five years, and works on a range of housing and development briefs.

Communican provides public affairs, internal communications and strategic PR counsel to the social housing sector.

Allen Tullett

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.

07925 533689

Ian Simpson

Chair and Treasurer

Ian Simpson has been employed by the Guinness Partnership for over 17 years. Currently, Ian is leading Guinness’ response to welfare reform, developing apprenticeship and access to work opportunities for customers.

Ian has led on achievement of regional and national awards on behalf of Guinness including for youth engagement; supporting diversity in recruitment and excellence in education and training’.

Ian holds an MPhil in Housing from Glasgow University. He is a Project Board Member of the Unity Primary School in Manchester and a Board Member of the Global Centre for Cooperative Security UK.

Jayne Entwistle

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’

John Gleeson

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’

Jon Fisher

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.

Julie Haywood

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”

Matt Bayliss

London & Quadrant

Matt Bayliss has worked in Community Investment at L&Q for over eight years, and currently leads L&Q's employment and skills programme. Matt created and implemented L&Q’s largest ever Employment & Skills strategy, setting up their first in-house employment and skills service and delivering over £1million of employability services for L&Q’s residents and communities annually.

Matt understands the value that GUAC provides to organisations like L&Q and sees GUAC’s value in the way can it is able to lead on the lobbying around the employability work of housing associations.

Tracy O’Neill

Coast & Country Housing Group

Tracy O’Neill, Director of Customer Services, at Coast & Country Housing Group has been a leading member of management since 2007.

During her time at C&CHG, she has led on - and helped to shape - the Journey to Work programme, ensuring more people get into employment and into work.

William Miller

Vice Chair

Community Development Director of Amicus Horizon, William Miller, leads on the community development strategy and service delivery across Amicus Horizon.

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.