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Key People

The CHS Group Board and Executive team is made up of experienced individuals with extensive knowledge of the different elements of housing provision, management and social enterprise.

Our Board is drawn from the local community and is supported by five key committees: Operations; Audit & Risk; New Business & Development; Governance; and HR & Remuneration Committee. There are two further groups that strengthen our commitment to draw upon our tenants’ skills and experience – the Customer Committee, which sets its own agenda and makes recommendations on service policies and standards, and a tenant-led Scrutiny Panel which has the remit to review any part of our operation and make improvement recommendations to the main Board.

 

CHS is required to meet the relevant standards published and regulated by the Regulator of Social Housing. CHS’s Board is responsible for meeting the standards and being transparent and accountable for the delivery of our social housing objectives.

Regulator of Social Housing

Regulatory Standards

All Board members sign our Board Code of Conduct, available below.

Heidi Allen CHS Group Chair

Heidi was appointed Chair of the CHS Board in September 2021 and also sits as Chair of the Governance Committee.  Formerly the Member of Parliament for South Cambridgeshire, Heidi is also a Trustee of the charity Feeding Britain and a policy committee member for the Child Poverty Action Group. She brings a range of expertise to CHS and with her strong local and national networks, is a valuable asset in supporting the organisation’s mission to provide affordable housing and community support services across Cambridgeshire.

 

 

 

Nigel HowlettChief Executive

Nigel has worked in social housing in and around Cambridge for 30 years. He became CHS Chief Executive in 2000 and since then has geared CHS up to be able to play a major role in Cambridgeshire supporting people who are vulnerable or on low incomes or with few skills.

Nigel is a member of the Cambridge sub-regional Housing Board, which co-ordinates housing strategy across the sub-region and on Homes for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, the housing association group working with the Combined Authority to help deliver affordable homes.

 

Sharon Allen – Board Member

Sharon was appointed to the Board in 2013 and also sits on the Operations Committee. She is an experienced supported housing and social care professional, having spent most of her career in the not-for-profit sector. She is currently CEO of Arthur Rank Hospice Charity and is also a Trustee of Age UK.

Sharon was previously CEO of Skills for Care and St Anne’s Community Services and a Director at Shelter. Sharon was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honour Awards 2015 for services to social care, homeless people and Housing.

 

Nick Brown – New Business and Development Committee Chair

Nick was appointed to the Board in 2016 and now chairs the New Business & Development Committee. He runs a family-owned local property investment and development company and has a background in financial services, sales, and accountancy.

 

 

 

 

Alex Colyer FCCA – Audit & Risk Committee Chair

Alex was appointed to the Board in 2019 and chairs the Audit & Risk Committee. He recently retired from his position as Deputy Chief Executive and Chief Financial Officer at South Cambridgeshire District Council and has held senior positions at a number of Local Authorities. He brings a wealth of experience in financial management and business efficiency.

 

 

 

Phil David – HR & Remuneration Committee Chair

Phil was appointed to the Board in 2018 and is chair of the HR & Remuneration Committee; he also sits on the Audit & Risk Committee. He is a solicitor and spent the majority of his career at ARM Holdings Plc, a British multinational semiconductor and software design company, latterly as General Counsel.

 

 

 

Gareth Hillier – Operations Committee Chair

Gareth joined the Board in September 2019 and chairs the Operations Committee. He is the Head of Digital Technology, Performance, Business Improvement and Modernisation at Herts County Council, Hertfordshire. Gareth is an experienced manager in the public and third sector with a passion for health and social care, housing and service accessibility and inclusivity having extensive vocational experience in transformational programme and contract management, business development, performance management, operational management and compliance.

 

 

 

Phin Hodson – Board Member

Phin joined the Board in September 2018.  Phin is a civil servant with particular interests in policy, strategy and digital transformation. With a background as a consultant and data scientist he has advised a number of governments globally on education policy and practice and is an expert advisor to a think tank on health policy.

 

 

 

 

Tendai Kariwo – Board Member

Tendai joined CHS Board in 2013 and sits on the Operations Committee and HR & Remuneration Committee. An experienced charity specialist working with corporates, charities and philanthropists in the UK as well as internationally, she has an extensive background in commercial banking and charity finance. She is the Partnerships Manager at the Cambridge Commonwealth, European & International Trust (Cambridge Trust). The Trust provides the largest number of scholarships for international students at the University of Cambridge.

She is passionate about empowering communities to sustain themselves and helping create resilient organisations that enable communities to flourish.

 

 

Gerhard Oberholzer – Board member

Gerhard joined the Board in October 2017 and sits on the Audit & Risk Committee. He is Director of GB Social Housing, a finance company to the social housing sector. He is highly experienced in treasury, finance and asset management.

 

 

 

 

 

Sam Scharf – Board Member

Sam was appointed to the Board in 2019 and also sits on the Development and Asset Committee.  Sam is currently Director at Central and Cecil Housing Trust / Centre for the New Midlands CIC.

 

 

 

 

Tony Blewitt – Group Finance Director

Tony is an FCCA qualified accountant and an experienced Finance Director/CFO. His extensive experience has been gained in a variety of sectors, including working for multi-national businesses and for over ten years for a large group within Social Housing. During his career, in addition to leading on the core finance responsibilities such as Business Planning, Funding & Treasury Management and compliance, Tony has also been responsible for leading IT and Procurement functions and contributing to overall corporate strategy.

 

 

Marie Canning – Director of HR & ICT

Marie was appointed in November 2009 and is a Chartered MCIPD qualified and experienced HR Director. She has held various senior positions and has wide ranging experience in HR across a range of organisations including Local Government, BBC and NHS.

During her career she has been responsible for developing and delivering HR strategy, large scale change management programmes some of which involved TUPE and mergers; Training and Development, Health and Safety, Communications and ICT. During her entire career she has managed large groups of professional staff.

 

Stephen Hills – Operations Director

Stephen was appointed in July 2018 and is an experienced housing professional, most recently as Director of Housing at South Cambridgeshire District Council. He has also been a housing consultant and a lecturer at Sheffield Hallam and Middlesex Universities.

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