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Meet the team

Communities that Work is supported by a team of advisers, communication specialists, and digital consultants. The board is drawn from members of Communities that Work and represents a broad range of experience and expertise.

  • Lynsey Sweeney

    Managing Director

    Lynsey Sweeney is the Managing Director of Communities that Work. She has worked across housing, employment and skills for a decade, with Communities that Work and the National Housing Federation. Lynsey was a director at a central London Further Education College, co-founded the first Apprenticeship Training Agency in the UK and consulted for KPMG on their World Class Skills programme. Prior to this, Lynsey worked for VSO in China, Ethiopia and London.

  • Natasha Theobald

    Communications and Membership Manager

    Natasha is the Communications and Membership Manager at Communities that Work. This role will play a key part in engaging with our members, stakeholders and the media to deliver our mission and grow our impact and influence. Natasha has almost a decade’s experience as head of marketing in a housing association, where she secured funds and support for award-winning employment support initiatives. Since then, Natasha has worked with a variety of not-for-profits and headed up communications, PR and social media for two national charities.

  • Jenny Riddell

    Director at BECG

    Jenny Riddell is director at BECG and leads Communities that Work’s communications work. She has been working in social housing communications for over five years, and ten years in communications and lobbying. She works on a range of infrastructure and housing briefs, helping clients deliver strategic PR and communication needs.

    BECG is a specialist communications agency, providing public affairs, internal communications, crisis communications and strategic PR counsel across the built environment.

  • Allen Tullett

    Website administrator / graphic designer

    Allen Tullett is an independent digital designer providing graphic and web-based consultancy services to a variety of local, national, and European clients.

    He has a wide range of skills including brand creation and development, graphic design for print, website design and development, e-commerce solutions, online marketing, and social media management.

  • Barbara Thorndick

    Communities that Work, Governance

    Barbara Thorndick is a former housing association chief executive and is well known in the sector. She ran West Kent, a top performing association, for 9 years, stepping down in 2010. Barbara was also awarded the OBE for services to social housing in 2008. She now runs her own business, coaching and mentoring senior people in the sector and supporting Communities that Work.

  • John Higgins


    John has supported the finance functions of Communities that Work since October 2018. He is an accounting professional with over 40 years’ experience, both in general practice and in industry, with experience in taxation, audit and company secretarial work for a wide variety of limited companies. John is a member of The Association of Accounting Technicians and qualified as a member of The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants. In 2010 John set up his own accounting practice, supporting the finance functions of a portfolio of traders and charities, including Communities that Work.

  • Kate Shone

    Chair of Communities that Work
    Torus Foundation

    Kate Shone is managing director of Torus Foundation. Torus Foundation is the charitable arm of Torus, the largest social landlord in the North West with over 40,000 homes.

    Kate holds an MSc in Management from the University of Chester and has been part of Communities that Work since its inception.

    Kate is passionate that our communities have access to much needed services that tailor their individual needs depending on circumstances, personal skills and goals, to get people to a place in the life they wish to be.

  • Julie Haywood

    Vice Chair, Communities that Work

    Julie Haywood is director of community investment at whg, a Midlands-based housing association. Julie leads on Community Investment programme at whg which includes employment and skills, financial and digital inclusion, strategic and community partnerships as well as overseeing programmes funded through whg’s charitable subsidiary organisations.

    Julie sees Communities that Work as a key national voice in raising the profile of housing associations’ delivery in the employment and skills agenda. Sustaining tenancies is core to housing associations’ business, and a key component of this is supporting people into work. Julie is keen to showcase this work through Communities that Work and encourage other social landlords to join us.

  • Debra Scarratt

    Treasurer, Communities that Work
    Radian Group: YHG/Inspired to Achieve

    Debra Scarratt is head of Inspired to Achieve and leads the employment support function at Yarlington Housing Group, a South West-based provider of housing solutions. Inspired to Achieve is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Yarlington and works to deliver a range of contracts focused on moving people into employment, education and training.

    Debra has over 15 years’ experience working in the careers and employment sector starting as a careers adviser and quickly progressing to work in senior management positions. Debra brings a unique and wide-ranging wealth of knowledge on best practice to support opportunities for social inclusion and mobility across communities.

  • William Miller


    William Miller is community development director at Optivo, where he leads the community development strategy and service delivery across the organisation.

    William's priority is supporting residents into training, jobs and community enterprise activities. He recognises the contribution that Communities that Work makes in supporting housing associations to develop and deliver better leading-edge resident employment support services, and better support for residents into employment.

  • John Gleeson

    Southern Housing Group

    John Gleeson is head of community investment at Southern Housing Group, where he has led on a range of activities of the organisation over the past five years, including employment and skills, financial and digital inclusion and developing community partnerships.

    Prior to joining Southern Housing Group, John worked in a number of organisations involved in the provision of housing with support, where he gained an understanding of the support needs of clients further from the labour market.

  • Matt Bayliss


    Matt Bayliss is head of independent lives at L&Q, leading a programme which provides a wide range of personalised economic support to L&Q’s residents and communities, including employment and skills, financial and digital inclusion, and support with sustaining tenancies.

    Matt sees Communities that Work’s value in its ability to raise the profile of the work that housing associations do on employment and skills, facilitating strategic partnerships and lobbying decision makers.

  • Marc Molloy

    One Housing

    Marc has a breadth of knowledge in supporting individuals to achieve their full potential, having worked within health, education and housing for 15 years, specialising in promoting positive interventions and employment opportunities for economically disadvantaged groups.

    Awarded Housing Hero’s ‘Inspirational Leader of the Year’ for his work in employment support services, Marc is passionate about employment and training as core functions of housing services.

  • Sian Nicholas

    Monmouthshire Housing Association

    Sian Nicholas is head of sustainable communities at Monmouthshire Housing, where she holds the portfolio for Inclusion Services, Support and Engagement. This includes a range of grant funded and commissioned projects including ‘Dads Can’, ‘Journey to Work’ and ‘Rise to Inspire’.

    Sian has 20 years experience in the community and housing sectors including working on the Welsh Government’s flagship deprivation programme Communities First.

    Sian leads for Wales on the Board of Communities that Work and seeks to champion our organisation across the Welsh social housing sector.

  • Rob Bowley

    Metropolitan Thames Valley

    Rob Bowley has over 20 years’ experience across housing, government, welfare to work and finance. For the past five years, Rob has been at Metropolitan Thames Valley, as head of neighbourhoods with responsibility for community engagement and investment work with the association's 150,000 residents, additionally heading up the Business Development division since 2017. Rob volunteers for the Royal National Institute for the blind and is a school governor at a local comprehensive.

  • Jo Miller

    Nottingham City Homes

    Jo Miller is employability manager at Nottingham City Homes, an arms-length management organisation and the largest social housing organisation in the East Midlands. Jo has been working within social housing for over 10 years across employability, community investment, resident involvement and volunteer management. Jo currently leads on the strategic vision for employment support at NCH which also includes the delivery of commissioned projects such as Building Skills for Construction and joint partnership work with Clarion. Jo also oversees the management of their Women in Construction programme.