Councillor Neal Brookes
Councillor Neal Brookes was elected as ward councillor for the Hawes Side area of Blackpool in 2019 and became Cabinet Member for housing and welfare reform shortly after. Cabinet responsibilities included homelessness and the development of social and affordable housing for Blackpool.
The availability of reasonably priced property in Blackpool has led to a surge of outside investment in the town which provides a legacy of absentee landlords simply seeking a return on investments and not interested in the development of good quality accommodation for local residents. The structure of the benefit system has meant that the level of housing benefit has set the benchmark for rents in Blackpool and not the quality of the accommodation provided. Councillor Brookes has an ambition to disrupt this link and to ensure that good quality affordable accommodation is available for those in need rather than simply any accommodation.
Councillor Brookes currently has Cabinet responsibility for enforcement, public safety, highways and transport. He feels very fortunate to be chair of both Blackpool Coastal Housing and Blackpool Housing Company and can see the benefits that both companies are having on the local housing market. Councillor Brookes is keen to see through the initiatives made in his previous cabinet role for the provision of increasing numbers of new build, affordable social housing and also to continue to intervene in the private rented sector in Blackpool to ensure that Blackpool Housing Company through its customer facing brand ‘My Blackpool Home’ continue to be the landlord of choice for local people.
Councillor Jim Hobson
Councillor Hobson is the ward Councillor for the Bloomfield area, which covers much of Central Drive, Lytham Road and the surrounding areas. He is currently the Cabinet Member for Children’s Services and before this he served as Cabinet Member for Climate Change and the Environment. Councillor Hobson has been a Civil Servant for the last twenty years and prior to this he worked as a Surveyor and sales person for an environmental services company. Councillor Hobson has a vision for Blackpool as a modern, forward looking town with a bustling tourism industry, where both visitors and locals feel valued and safe. He is therefore delighted to be a member of the Blackpool Housing Company Board and to help shape part of this ambitious plan aiming to make available good quality housing for local residents.
Councillor Julie Sloman
Councillor Julie Sloman was first elected to serve as Ward Councillor for Norbreck in May 2021, and re-elected to serve a further 4-year term in May 2023. In this context Julie has held seats on the Planning Committee, Licensing Committee and Appeals Committee.
She has accrued over 30 years’ experience working in Health and Social Care settings within Lancashire and Blackpool. Primarily this work has involved caring for Looked after Children and End of Life Care roles. She is currently employed as a Bereavement Officer with the local NHS Trust and as a Policy & Safeguarding Lead for a local Residential Child Care Provider.
Julie was inspired to join the Board as her professional roles have brought into sharp focus the link between housing and the life-chances of residents within the town, particularly for vulnerable young people achieving independent living and those for whom health issues have impacted their ability to access safe, affordable housing. She feels her experience, knowledge and perspective in both fields of Health & Social Care will add value to the organisation.
Karl has enjoyed 40 years in housing and regeneration. A fellow of the Chartered Institute of Housing, Karl has held senior roles in local government becoming Director of Housing in Sheffield in 2005, where he led on neighbourhood regeneration and the investment and delivery strategy for achieving the Decent Homes standard in 64,000 homes.
From 2010 as Executive Director with the Homes and Communities Agency, Karl led regional teams to deliver projects and programmes across the north and midlands. He retired from Homes England in April 2023 as Director of Market Places and Partners when he led a national team to develop investment opportunities in challenging markets across the country and with a particular responsibility for levelling up places.
With experience and a passion for delivering complex projects and programmes, Karl is a Non-Executive Director with Onward Homes and will continue his active involvement with Homes England in delivering large urban regeneration projects through leadership and programme delivery roles.
Claire has worked in social housing for over 30 years, starting as a housing assistant through to an executive director in a national housing association. She has lead housing, estate and tenancy management teams as well as teams delivering development and R&M with responsibility for building and customer safety.
Claire also ran public private partnerships with the health sector in both acute and primary care, as well as leading a training and regeneration subsidiary company in Bradford. This included education and training initiatives and a major regeneration project investing in and redesigning large Victorian houses from bedsits to family homes.
Claire is currently a board member of a Leeds based housing association and chairs their Operations Committee. She has found the opportunity to be part of a community-based association very rewarding.
Claire sees her role on the Lumen board as an opportunity to bring her expertise and experience to help achieve the exciting plans for the town. She also brings a passion for working with communities to provide the affordable safe and secure homes people need to thrive and build healthy and happy lives.
Marie is a very experienced NHS leader and Registered Nurse who has served at Board, Executive, Senior Leadership & Clinical levels over the last 36 years. Marie joined the BHC Board as a Non-Executive Director recognising the significant impact the opportunity to provide high quality housing has on the improvement to the health and well-being of the local population.
Andrei is an experienced housing professional at board, executive and senior leadership level. Andrei has over 25 years’ experience within local authorities and housing associations across the North West. He is the Executive Director of Operations at Aspire Housing, and leads on all housing services encompassing repairs and maintenance services.
Tracey has worked in social housing for over 20 years; across Merseyside, Cheshire, Greater Manchester, Lancashire, and Staffordshire, as an Executive and Non-Executive Director. Tracey joined EPIC Housing as Chief Executive in July 2022, and is based in North Staffordshire where she both lives and works. In June 2021 Tracey was awarded an MBE for her services during covid and fundraising activity for local charities.
Tracey has a professional background in human resources and in-depth knowledge and experience in business transformation across private, public, and third-sector organisations. As a mentor and coach, Tracey is people centred with a drive for continual personal and organisational improvement.
In her spare time Tracey enjoys walking her dog Buddy around Trentham Lakes, spending time with family and her Grandson.