We are delighted to announce the appointment of Joanne Oak as our new Chief Executive. We will welcome Jo to the team in early May replacing interim Chief Executive; Duncan Forbes, who has been leading the organisation over the last 6 months.
Providing and managing nearly 6,000 homes across Bridgend, our vision is to help build a better Wales. This new recruitment will certainly support us to do this.
Jo is a qualified accountant with over two decades of senior leadership roles across the public and third sectors. She is experienced in leadership, change management, strategic planning, financial management and governance.
She moves from Social Care Wales where she is Director of Strategy and Corporate Services. She has the pivotal role of driving the organisation through growth and transformation working with Welsh Government, sector partners and colleagues. Jo is also currently a Board member of Bron Afon Community Housing and a Trustee for Buildings Communities Trust.
Jo has passion and commitment to make a difference for better outcomes for people of Wales and is delighted to be working for an organisation with strong values and a commitment to raise quality and standards in housing and the wider community.
Commenting on her new role, Jo said, “I’m delighted to be appointed to lead Valleys to Coast at an exciting time, to drive forward the ambition to build new quality homes and deliver excellent services for our customers. I am passionate about making a difference, ensuring everyone has access to a decent home and that we build vibrant communities. I am really looking forward to joining the fantastic Valleys to Coast team, working with customers and partners to ensure we continue to build more homes and support the local community.”
Anthony Whittaker, Chair of the Board of Valleys to Coast said, “We are delighted that Jo will be joining us as our new Chief Executive. We are looking forward to working with her and the rest of the team to deliver our exciting and ambitious plans to support our customers and provide much needed new homes in Bridgend.”
The redevelopment of 15 modern flats in Bridgend town centre has now been completed and ready to be made into homes.
Theses contemporary flats are located just seconds away from the train station and a minute walk from the shops. They are also at a unique pivot point between Cardiff and Swansea and ideal for those working in Bridgend or travelling for work benefitting from short commute times.
These were made possible through the Homes In Town Grant which is designed to encourage town centre living, tackle vacant space in the town centre and increase the supply of affordable accommodation in key hubs to assist regeneration in the town centre.
We are renting these on an intermediate basis meaning rent will be set below the average market rents.
Darrin Davies, our Director of Development says, “We are always looking for opportunities to work with partners, private landlords and any other interested parties to provide desirable homes for our customers. This is just a start to the regeneration project and support the town centre and businesses to generate wealth, provide jobs, attract investment, improve skills and encourage visitors”.
Huw David, Leader at Bridgend Council commented, “These flats are a great addition to the town centre, I’m positive they will be snapped up in no time. I look forward to seeing the next proposal to help regenerate the heart of Bridgend town centre.”
We have appointed Lisa Griffiths, Jason Evans, Caroline Jones and Sophie Taylor to join us as Board members this week.
The recruitment of these roles was required as Board members; Sarah Hay, Cheryl Tracey and Liam Bevan stepped down from their roles due to other commitments at our Annual General Meeting in September 2019.
Lisa Griffiths is a Fellow of both the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants and the Chartered Institute of Internal Auditors and currently works in corporate governance and acts as Company Secretary for a number companies within the steel sector.
Jason Evans is a partner at Gambit Corporate Finance, an award winning corporate finance advisory firm based in Cardiff and leads on debt advisory services and the social housing sector for Gambit. He also sits on the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) Council for Wales.
Caroline Jones is an Associate Director at Savills as well as a chartered surveyor and RICS registered valuer. She works in the development department advising on property development and regeneration. Caroline has worked closely with the affordable housing sector in Wales, providing valuation and consultancy advice on assets and new build programmes.
Sophie Taylor is a ICAEW qualified chartered accountant who is currently the head of finance at Cardiff and Vale college and is responsible for the day to day management of the finance team, as well as ensuring a strong financial control environment and supporting the organisation through a period of rapid growth and change.
Duncan Forbes, our Chief Executive said: “I am thrilled to be welcoming all four of our new Board members to the team. They all bring a wealth of relevant experience and strong skills to help us continue being a successful organisation. They have strong empathy with our values and are committed to helping our customers live safely and happily in their own homes. I am looking forward to working closely with them all.”
“On behalf of the Board, I would also like to thank Sarah Hay, Cheryl Tracey and Liam Bevan for their significant contribution to Valleys to Coast and invaluable support over the years - we wish them well for the future.”