judith commonBoard 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.
bill fullenChief 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.”
doug rossBoard 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.
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.”
councillor kevin shaw
Kevin served 30 years as a firefighter, including time as Secretary of the Fire Brigades Union. He has been a County Councillor since 2013 and is a Town Councillor. As a Durham County Council Cabinet member, he is portfolio holder for strategic housing and assets, looking after fuel poverty, homelessness and liaison with travellers.
Rob has extensive experience of the housing sector, having worked with and delivered audits to a wide range of companies in the sector. Currently Head of Business Assurance at pension administrator and asset owner, RPMI, Rob has a strong financial and governance background; he previously worked as Senior Manager at PwC for more than a decade. A Chartered Accountant with significant post-qualification experience, Rob is passionate about the housing sector and ensuring the best outcomes for customers. Rob is currently a school governor and previously spent two years as a non-executive trustee to a charity working to tackle homelessness.
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.
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.
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.
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.