Bernie has worked in housing related roles in both the local authority and housing association sectors for more than 30 years. He believes that everyone has the right to good quality, well managed housing. He also believes that housing associations have a duty to do all they can to help meet the massive unmet need for new housing in the UK. Bernie has worked for Progress Housing Group since 1999. He is proud of its record in delivering new homes and in taking on the difficult and challenging tasks which it would be easy to shy away from. Most of all he is proud to be part of a uniquely talented team that has created an organisation that is just a little bit different from the rest.
Les is a Chartered Accountant having qualified with a Big Four accounting practice in Dublin. In his early career he worked in the Property and IT sectors in the UK, Ireland and South Africa. For the last 10 years he has held Director-level roles with various types and sizes of organisations in the social housing sector. As well as Finance, his functional responsibilities over that period have included IT, Procurement, Human Resources and Customer Services. Les is an enthusiastic advocate of the role that lean thinking and systems thinking approaches can play to improve business performance and unlock the potential of team of individuals and teams. He also holds an MBA from the Graduate School of Business of the University of Cape Town. Outside of work Les has an interest in the arts and is a keen (but very average) skier.
Philomena has worked in social housing for 35 years. The majority of her career has been developing and managing supported living accommodation. Philomena is proud of her role in increasing the housing options available to people with a learning disability or autism, but knows there is a long way to go before we can truly say that they have the same housing choices. Her role is to project manage the integration of Reside and Progress, making sure that the best is taken from each to create an even better service for our tenants.
After beginning his working life at the Ministry of Defence, Steve realised he needed a more fulfilling career path. Voluntary work with people with learning disabilities led to employment in a care and support role in a Local Authority children’s respite service. He then took up managerial roles in various residential care and supported living services in the Local Authority and voluntary sectors.
An understanding that housing was a vital element in ensuring good quality social care led to housing and support development roles co-coordinating policy and improving joint working between local authority commissioning and housing association provision. He was then involved in developing and implementing the Supporting People programme for Leeds City Council before taking a role in social care commissioning. Steve worked with Housing Options, a charitable national membership organisation providing housing and social care advice to families’ local authorities and professionals, developing innovative housing solutions, taking on consultancy projects and working with Government Departments on national policy development. He was involved in developing Housing Options into the Housing and Support Alliance and then Learning Disability England.
Gavin began his career in housing as a homeless persons officer at Kingston Council, with a conviction that providing good quality accommodation makes an enormous difference to peoples’ lives. This led on to Gavin working in various local authorities and housing associations to gain wide-ranging experience at a senior level of managing general needs and supported housing. Gavin led a major project to merge four support organisations to form Metropolitan Support Trust, which became part of the Metropolitan Housing Group. Later, whilst working a Hanover Housing Association, Gavin undertook a review of the future of the Association’s 18,000 properties and was responsible for the stock investment programme and health and safety. He is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Housing. In his spare time Gavin helps lead his local church and is a keen photographer.