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 Sweeney

    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

    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.

  • 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

  • Jayne Entwistle

    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’

  • William Miller

    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


    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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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’

  • 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”

  • 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.