Herefordshire Housing

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Team Members

Ruth Cooke – Chair

Ruth is CEO of Midland Heart, one of the largest housing and care organisations in the country. Prior to this she was Finance Director at Midland Heart and is a qualified accountant and corporate treasurer. Ruth is passionate about the delivery of quality housing and care services, and has a particular interest in the challenges of providing affordable housing in rural communities. She is a regular speaker and commentator on housing and care issues and sits on a number of sector-wide bodies.

Richard Johnston – Vice Chair

As well as being our Vice-Chair, Richard is also the chair of Newton Farm Community Association and Wyes Buys recycle shop. He has been heavily involved in community affairs in the South Wye area, and Newton Farm in particular, for the past 15 years and decided to get involved with Herefordshire Housing as a resident inspector to improve the relationship between residents and contractors during the refurbishment of its housing stock.  He applied for board membership to be a voice for the community and to help Herefordshire Housing plan and deliver its strategy over the coming years.

Paul Rone

Paul joined the Board in September 2010.  He is a County Councillor for the St. Martins and Hinton ward in the City of Hereford, the largest ward in the County both in terms of population and number of Herefordshire Housing homes.  Paul believes that permanent quality housing is an absolute necessity to living a fulfilled life. In short – everyone wants and deserves a decent home, and whilst he holds the positions entrusted to him, he will champion housing at every opportunity.

Jon Land

Jon has lived and worked in Herefordshire since 1998 when he joined the Hereford Times as a junior reporter. He has been writing about housing for nearly 10 years and was appointed editor of 24housing magazine in August 2010. This year he wrote the Parliamentary Review for housing, which was sent to all MPs and peers. Becoming a board member for Herefordshire Housing gives him the chance to do housing ‘for real’ and to make a difference to people and communities in the county he loves.

David Lincoln

David has previously worked in the gas and electricity industries, in roles ranging from operational to business and systems development and change management.  Joining Herefordshire Housing enabled him to bring this experience to an organisation that is looking to grow its services and make a positive contribution to the local community.  He is also a volunteer adviser with Herefordshire Citizens Advice Bureau.

Michael Parkes

Michael has almost 40 years’ experience in Environmental Health, where he developed interests in public protection and the development of partnership working to improve health and well-being.  He has held a variety of roles with many related regional, national and professional groups. After retiring as Head of Service in 2007, he has undertaken consultancy work including, most recently, developing learning opportunities to improve joint public health competences. His contributions as a Board Member and Chair of Audit and Resources are informed by his Environmental Health, regulatory and senior management experience.  

Dr Michael McCarthy

Michael has a background in social policy, later life housing and services and in local economic regeneration.  He has led two national assisted living businesses and has been a pioneer of ‘smart housing’.  In 2001, he became MD of a rural regeneration consultancy and since 2008 has run his own strategy and development consultancy, Work House. He champions the vision of supported housing acting as a ‘hub’ and ‘outreach’ for wider community benefit. A trustee of the Nationwide Foundation, he is also a Visiting Fellow in the School of Health and Social Care at Bournemouth University. An author of books on the welfare state, child poverty and on unemployment.

Allison Taylor

Allison has many years’ experience at a senior level with a particular emphasis on people management and helping organisations create a climate to enable people to work at their best.  She has worked across the private public and not for profit sectors and runs her own consultancy offering leadership development and executive coaching for example.  She is passionate about the impact housing has on families and people’s lives and considers it a vital service that should always help to make a positive difference.

Rebecca McGuirk

Rebecca is a partner in Trowers & Hamlins’ Employment department in the Birmingham office. She has specialised in employment law throughout her career, advising employers in both the public and private sectors, for example: Abbey National; HMV; Tesco; Waterstones; the Accord Group; Bromford Housing Group and Derwent Living. She also has extensive experience in advising on all aspects of employment law be it contentious or non-contentious matters. Rebecca speaks and writes regularly on a wide range of employment issues, and is acknowledged as a Legal Expert in the field of social housing and employment law in the Legal 500, Chambers UK – The Client’s Guide to the UK Legal Profession 2014, where she is “renowned for her expertise in the social housing space” and is praised for her flexibility, negotiation skills and business-focused advice.