our board | believe housing

Monday, 20 June

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our board

Learn more about the board of directors at believe housing.

judith common

Board Chair

Judith is Board Chair and has been involved with the organisation since its inception. She also spent eight years as an independent member on Your Homes Newcastle (YHN) and Leazes Homes’ Boards, including time as Vice Chair at YHN. She strongly believes that social housing is not simply providing a house; its aim is to develop services that turn an individual’s or family’s house into a home. Judith works as a Learning and Development Consultant and previously held senior roles at Northumbria Police.

doug ross

Board Vice Chair

Doug is Vice Chair of the Board. As a qualified accountant with significant housing experience, Doug was involved in the arrangements to put in place the organisation’s initial funding. He devotes a lot of his time representing believe housing and acting as a mentor to help and support other board members. Doug retired from his role as Managing Director of Tees Valley Housing in April 2014, having previously been Group Director of Finance and Corporate Services. Doug is also independent Chair of Audit and Standards Committee at North of Tyne Combined Authority.


David Clouston MBE

David spent his career, from 1989, with the British Army where he was responsible for planning and delivering numerous significant operational activities. He is a Trustee with the Royal Logistic Corps Association since 2014 and acts as President of the Royal Pioneer Corps Association.

In the past David has been a School Governor, a Company Director, and a Trustee with the Army Sports Control Board. He brings a wealth of experience in managing operational changes as well as holding several professional qualifications including a MSc National Security Strategy, MSc Defence Technology, an MBA, and a Professional Certificate in Executive Coaching. He is also a member of the Institute of Directors and holds their Certificate in Company Direction.

gurpreet singh jagpal

Gurpreet is a Chartered Accountant and studied Business Economics at Durham University. He is the current Chief Executive of Durham Group. Gurpreet is able to use his skills and knowledge to ensure that financial decision-making is realistic and well managed. He is passionate about providing better opportunities for future generations and believes that the communities we live in are a vital part of that.

hazel dale

As a retired Director of Finance, Hazel brings wide and varied knowledge and experience of housing management. Hazel also acted as treasurer to the Cleveland-based young carers’ charity, The Junction.

John Marshall

Alongside his role of Board member at believe housing, John is also Chair and Non-Executive Director of Newcastle Gateshead Initiative. He is Non-Executive Director for North East Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust and North East Ambulance Service Unified Solutions Limited. And John holds a number of other roles at Board, senior and non-executive level for a variety of organisations across our region. John was a previously a board member, senior partner and practicing solicitor at Bond Dickinson LLP, spending a total of 28 years with the firm.

Kelly Henderson

Kelly has held a number of roles in the housing sector and has more recently been Project Manager (National Domestic Abuse Lead) with Morgan Sindall Property Services since April 2021, providing advice, training and support on domestic abuse and social value initiatives. She is also Managing Director of community interest company, Addressing Domestic Abuse. Kelly has several professional qualifications including a BA (Hons) Social Science, a Masters in Housing Policy and Management and a PhD Criminology. She is also a Chartered Member of the Chartered Institute of Housing and is a trustee for the Alice Ruggles Trust as well sitting on the Women In Social Housing (North East) Board.

kevan wales

After working in the United Arab Emirates as a mechanical engineer in the oil and gas industry, Kevan worked for the Home Office and Ministry of Justice as a civil servant for more than 25 years. He took a leading role in the development, implementation and regular reviews of business plans. He also developed and regularly reviewed risk registers. Kevan is passionate and proud of the diverse community he lives in and, as a current tenant, is committed to actively contributing to decision-making to ensure that the group delivers the best possible services to its customers.

Monica Burns

Monica is a board member at believe housing, and the Tyne Housing and the English Rural Housing Association, starting her career as an Estates Officer in 1981. After gaining substantial experience in different organisations within the housing sector she joined the National Housing Federation in 2005. Monica then became Head of Member Relations in 2018 until 2021 where she was a member of the Senior Management Team. Monica has a BSc (Hons) Geography and has a professional qualification from the Institute of Housing.

rob auty

Rob is a Chartered Accountant, who spent 13 years working for PwC across a wide variety of specialisms. He is currently Director of Internal Audit at Railpen. Rob has extensive experience of the housing sector, having worked with a wide range of organisations in the sector, and spending two years as non-executive trustee with a charity working to tackle homelessness. Rob has a strong financial, risk management and governance background. He is also Vice-Chair of the Governing Body and Chair of the Finance & Audit Committee for an Academy Trust.

alan smith

Alan has worked with housing associations for a decade, although he has more than 35 years of experience in organisations that provide social housing. He has been with the organisation since its earliest days in 2015 and has been involved with setting up three housing associations. He is also a board member of Prosper, a north-east based public sector procurement organisation. Alan said: “I think we’ve made great strides in our first few years and the door is open to lots more opportunities that will improve services for customers, now and into the future.”

bill fullen

Chief Executive and Board

Bill started his housing career in 1979. He led the transfer of Durham County Council’s housing stock to County Durham Housing Group. He was appointed Group Chief Executive in 2015 and has since led on the transformation of the organisation. Bill said “My overall vision for believe housing is simple. I want people to say that they are proud to call their house a home, and that doesn’t just come from bricks and mortar. It’s about improving lives beyond the garden gate and I’m confident that working together we can achieve this.”

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