Chief Executive, Co-operative housing association 1979-2012.
Food and Bank
For 32 years I was the successful Chief Executive of CDS Co-operatives, the largest Co-op housing association in England. An expert member of the International Co-operative Alliance’s Principles Committee, I recently edited the ICA’s Guidance Notes to the Co-operative Principles. I am a Labour councillor in Ealing, leading on co-operative enterprise, and former president of Co-operative Housing International. Vote for me to add my real passion for Co-operatives and sound business expertise to the Board.
My passion for co-operatives began when I was a student science teacher in the 1970s. Faced with a housing crisis, we were inspired to develop housing co-operatives. I was a founder member of Sanford Housing Co-operative. With its iconic CND mural, Sanford in New Cross, still provides quality affordable housing for one hundred and thirty members.
Sanford launched my forty years of dedicated work in the co-operative movement.
I’ve been a co-operator all my professional life. For 32 years I was the successful chief executive of CDS Co-operatives, the largest co-operative housing association in England. There, I founded the Co-operative Housing Finance Society to help raise finance for new co-operative housing developments. For ten years I was a member of the Board of the Co-operative College, serving as vice chair and chair of the audit committee.
I helped Scotland establish its co-operative housing sector and recently was advisor to the Welsh Government for the establishment of its vibrant co-operative housing programme. I represented the UK on the Board of Co-operative Housing International, the global housing organisation of the International Co-operative Alliance (ICA) and was its elected President until 2013.
In 2014 I was elected as a Labour and Co-operative councillor in the London Borough of Ealing, where I chair a committee to promote co-operative enterprises. The ICA commissioned me as interpretive editor of its new Guidance Notes to the Co-operative Principles, published last year, and appointed me as a member of its Principles Committee. I’m proud that our Movement is a global one.
I have been a member of the Co-operative Group since the 1980s. There are two Co-op convenience stores, where I shop regularly, and a Co-op Funeralcare in my local high street. Our Co-op has had a difficult three years. Already I can begin to see the improvements in the value offer to members in-store. Our insurance, legal services, funeral and electrical businesses are making real progress too.
But there is much yet to do to rebuild and renew our great Co-operative enterprise and put us back where we belong. That is why I am standing for election to the Group Board.
I bring a unique combination of co-operative commercial expertise, interwoven with knowledge of and lifelong commitment to our Co-operative Values and Principles.
If elected to the Board, my priorities will be to:
- ensure that our family of businesses remain commercially successful, providing increasing value to members through first class, value for money, healthy, sustainable and Fairtrade food and other products and services;
- champion your rights to participate in the democratic control of your co-op through being a constructive voice for member participation on the Board and an accountable link between the Board and members;
- reach out to new and younger consumers, encouraging them to become members and their provider of choice for Co-operative products and services; and
- deliver additional benefits to the communities in which we trade.
Vote for me to add my passion for co-operatives and my commercial expertise to the Co-operative Group Board.