The Northern Housing Consortium (NHC) has appointed five new board members. These new additions will help us to continue to represent members as the voice of housing in the North.

The new appointments are:

Alan Smith, CEO, believe housing

Alan has been in the affordable housing sector since 2009 and prior to that worked in local government for 25 years. He is a qualified accountant and roles have included finance and resources director for two local authorities and executive director for two housing associations. He started his current role as chief executive of believe housing in April this year, where he’s also an executive board member.

Bronwen Rapley, CEO, Onward

Bronwen is the Chief Executive of Onward Homes. Onward seeks to make a difference by enabling people to be their best, in a home they love and a place they are proud of.

As one of the largest registered providers of social housing in the North West with 35,000 properties across the region, Onward is also committed to the regeneration and sustainability of the North West by reinvesting in existing homes and by building 400 new homes each year.

Prior to her appointment at Onward in 2016, Bronwen led investigation and enforcement at the Regulator of Social Housing. She is also currently Deputy Chair of the National Housing Federation.

Matt Forrest, CEO, Thirteen Group

Having lived and worked in the North East for nearly 30 years, the former teacher and chartered accountant has held several executive and senior roles. As CEO of Teesside based Thirteen Group he brings exceptional knowledge of both the sector and a wealth of experience from both social housing and the private sector.

Sharon Kemp, CEO, Rotherham MBC Co-optee

Sharon was appointed by government commissioners and the Council in 2016 to lead improvements in children and young people’s services, which saw powers return and a ‘Good’ Ofsted since 2018. Since Sharon became Chief Executive, Rotherham has made huge progress, and remains committed to a journey of continuous improvement.

Dedicated to serving people and places, Sharon has worked in the public sector for over 20 years across community safety, neighbourhood management, community cohesion, performance, and partnerships. She also has an Honours Degree in Public Administration.

Sharon started her career within the Greater Manchester Police Force and moved into Local Government with the advent of the Crime and Disorder Act. Since then,

she has worked in a number of local authorities including 6 years in Blackburn and Darwen in the Regeneration Department and two years at the London Borough of Haringey as Assistant Chief Executive. Prior to arriving in Rotherham, Sharon was the Assistant Chief Executive for People and then Strategic Director (Reform) at Manchester City Council from September 2009 to 2016.

Warren Heppolette – Chief Officer for Strategy & Innovation, NHS Greater Manchester Integrated Care – Co-optee

Warren started his public service career in local government as a neighbourhood housing officer nearly 30 years ago before moving into policy and strategy roles.

He joined the NHS in 2006 and, since then, has supported pan-Greater Manchester collaboration between the NHS, Local Government, wider public services and the VCSE. Across this period Warren has been closely involved on GM wide service transformation (supporting the development of hyper-acute stroke services, and the major trauma network); Greater Manchester’s devolution journey; and the development and establishment of today’s Integrated Care System.

Warren is also a Trustee of GM Moving (Greater Manchester’s active partnership) and a Director of fan-owned football club, FC United of Manchester.

Paul Fiddaman, the current NHC Chair and Chief Executive of Karbon Homes was re-elected to the board and will continue to serve as Chair.

Northern Housing Consortium Chief Executive Tracy Harrison said:

“I’m thrilled to welcome our five new board members; and to continue to work with our Chair Paul Fiddaman. All the new members bring different skills and experience to the table. It’s essential that NHC’s Board is representative of our member organisations and can help housing providers in the North work in partnership with other sectors, such as health, to support communities.”

“These new board members join us at a crucial time. We’re fast approaching a general election, and we want housing and communities in the north to be high up on the agenda of the new government. We’ll also be starting work on our new corporate plan fairly soon, which will shape the direction of NHC in 2025 and beyond.”

The board meets quarterly to manage and to set the strategic direction of the organisation. Directors are appointed from full member organisations. Find out more about the about our board here.