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Gillian Durden

Board member, HTC Chair and member of ARC

Gillian Durden

Board member, HTC Chair and member of ARC

Gillian Durden joined the Board in September 2022, and has been Chair of the new Homes and Treasury Committe since September 2023.  She is a qualified housing professional having worked in social housing for over 35 years, from London Borough of Barnet, to Bath City Council and Bristol City Council.  Gillian has held roles such as housing officer, housing and housing services manager; leading organisational change for better repairs services.  Her last role was head of planned maintenance leading on asset strategies for compliance, property and estate improvements and carbon retrofit projects.  In her retirement she remains committed to social housing, bringing experience and insight from other board roles, she is keen to ensure our residents have good quality services and homes.

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Ben Cook

Board member, member of PGC and HTC

Ben Cook

Board member, member of PGC and HTC

Ben has broad house building experience, including managing and, planning, technical and commercial teams for several leading housebuilders and property companies in the South West over the last two and a half decades.

He project managed the award-winning Zero Carbon project at Hanham Hall, Bristol for Barratt Homes, in partnership with Homes England (HE). Ben also led the development relationship with HE at Locking Parklands, Weston Super Mare for St. Modwen Developments. Ben was instrumental in driving the quality of development and sense of place delivered at Locking, as well as pioneering the Community Interest Company (CIC) with stakeholders.

Ben is now the Development Director (South) for The Guinness Partnerships an organisation that shares his passion for creating great places to live, work and play.

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Mark Simmonds

Board member, Chair of ARC and member of HTC

Mark Simmonds

Board member, Chair of ARC and member of HTC

Mark joined the board in September 2022 as non-executive director and chair of the audit & risk committee. Mark is a chartered accountant with over 30 years of experience working at board level in executive and non-executive roles in both the private and public sectors.  Between 2010 and 2021 he worked in a public sector leadership role in the Bristol area as chief financial officer and then as chief executive officer in the Office of the Police & Crime Commissioner for Avon and Somerset.

Mark is a graduate of Bristol University and Cranfield Business School.  His experience includes strategic leadership, mentoring, strategic financial planning, treasury management, raising investment funding, risk management and governance.

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Harry Partington

Chair

Harry Partington

Chair

Harry joined the board as a non-executive director in September 2022 and was appointed chair in November 2022.  He is an independent management consultant who, for over 30 years, has helped organisations to understand customer needs, get clear about long-term strategy and deliver change through people.  He is also a board trustee of Southern Brooks, a charity which helps communities to connect, support each other and thrive.  For nine years, Harry was a non-executive director of Bristol Credit Union and chair of the board for seven of those years.

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Martyn Lewis

panel member

Martyn Lewis

panel member

Hello, I’m Martyn.  I was born in Bristol, although I have worked in parts of Europe and in the Far East.

I retired from being a freelance Architect/Electrical Engineer in 2019 and now have plenty of time on my hands after spending over fifty years designing numerous types of buildings for a variety of clients. It is very nice to see most of the buildings are still standing and in daily use.

During my forties I had a change of direction for about five years and became a professional fashion and glamour photographer.  Although I returned to my first love of designing beautiful buildings some of the people I met in the fashion industry are still some of my best friends and I’ve kept my connection with photography.  I’m a member of the Professional Photographers Association and take photographs of things that interest me.

One of my greatest pleasures is my painting in oils and watercolour and I give my artwork to my many friends as Christmas gifts or birthday presents.

My main reason for joining the engagement panel is because of my interest in buildings and social housing projects and how some occupants mistreat their house or flats as they are not their property taking the attitude that the landlord will rectify all defects and damage purely because they pay the rent for their housing. I will help Brighter Places educate some tenants on looking after their house or flat, how to get more  satisfaction from living in a Brighter Place property, and how to make their building more efficient during the increasing costs of energy.

Using my career experience I can also help with reviewing sub contactors tender returns for prospective work with Brighter Places, advise on running contracts  and final inspections upon project completion  to ensure all works have been carried out as requested by Brighter Places.

I am prepared to speak with other residents in my immediate vicinity with any problems they may have either with Brighter Places or their neighbours.

 

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Dan Seabrook

People director

Dan Seabrook

People director

Dan has 15 years’ experience working in the private and housing sector in senior positions in both human resources and health and safety. Dan is degree and CIPD qualified, and holds qualifications in safety and education.

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Anna Klimczak

Executive director

Anna Klimczak

Executive director

Anna joined the board in 2022.  She joined United Communities as finance director in 2015 and became interim chief executive in 2019.  Anna successfully led United Communities and Solon South West through their merger in 2021 and is now chief executive of Brighter Places.  Anna graduated from Birmingham University with a degree in history before becoming ACA qualified.  She worked at Deloitte for four years to 2010.

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Peter Bartlett

Tecnnical manager

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Caroline Massey

Development manager

Caroline Massey

Development manager

Caroline has worked in housing for 19 years at both local authorities and Registered Providers.  Caroline’s role is to deliver new affordable housing from initial concept through the planning process and the construction of new homes.

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Niamh Branaghan

Sales and marketing manager

Niamh Branaghan

Sales and marketing manager

Niamh has in-depth experience in sales of new homes in social housing, having worked across open market and shared ownership homes for a number of housing associations in the south west.

Niamh works closely with the wider development team and, as schemes reach handover, is responsible for all marketing and sales, including staircasing, Right to Buy and Right to Acquire applications.

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Sophia Smith

panel member

Sophia Smith

panel member

Hello, I’m Sophia and I live in south Bristol

I am a mother of four children who keep me busy! But when I do get some time to myself, I enjoy walking and helping others where I can.

I joined the panel because having been a Solon resident (now Brighter Places) since 2004, I have been lucky to experience when things worked well, but also when things didn’t work so well. I have seen and felt the changes over the years, and hope that the joining together of housing associations bring positive, and productive change.  I believe some of the old systems worked well and should never have changed. Perhaps these need revisiting.

I currently work in the emergency services so can offer knowledge around topics, concerns that others may not have an insight into. Working with the other panel members and the skills they bring, we hope to be a voice for those of you who feel unheard, to assist with decisions that impact on us all.

As fellow residents, your input is important to help shape Brighter Places to be a housing association you trust to get things right first time, and one where you feel safe.

Please get in touch and let us be the impartial help you may have been missing.

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Jon Kent

panel member

Jon Kent

panel member

Hello, I’m Jon and I live in Totterdown, Bristol.

I worked in local journalism as a photographer for many years but now I work as a visitor assistant at Bristol Museum and Art Gallery.

I’m involved in art and music, and I am currently working on a photography project about Totterdown.

I joined the panel because I believe we should all have a voice, and we should all be involved in the changes we’d like to see.

I think there are several areas of our housing association that need looking at that and that could be done better.  In particular, maintenance/repairs and general communication.

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Mike Sheppard

panel member

Mike Sheppard

panel member

Hello, I’m Mike and I live in Southville, Bristol.

I’ve been a (Solon) now Brighter Places resident for over 30 years, living in Southville for 30 years.

I have done a lot of personal growth over the years, graduating university to having worked in factories and on building sites.

I have worked in various areas of operation including computer programming, gaining lots of experience and qualifications. In my later years, I have suffered with ill health which has meant I have had to slow down.

I joined the panel because I felt it was a good opportunity to be involved to improve things that have not worked well over the years, but also to ensure that things that have worked well are held onto.

I am impressed by the intention of Brighter Places, to make it as user-friendly as possible by letting resident get involved and be at the heart of all it does. I believe Brighter Places does want to give the best service it can to its residents.

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Marie Luigi

community engagement officer

Marie Luigi

community engagement officer

Marie helps to create links among local people, including older people, ethnic communities, residents living with a disability, young people, LGBQT+, faith groups and more.

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