Colin McDonald – Community Housing Adviser
Colin is the first port of call for any groups setting up a housing project, and he is well placed to do so, having worked in the development of new housing for the past 20 years, and in the social housing sector generally for over 30 years. He began his journey almost 40 years ago as a tenant of a Housing Co-operative!
He is very familiar with the Wessex region, having worked for Local Housing Authorities in Somerset, and also for a local Housing Association. He has worked on the front line in homelessness and in housing management, and more strategically as Head of Housing and Welfare at South Somerset District Council. After retiring from Local Government he joined his local Community Land Trust.
Colin is a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Housing, has served on the national governing body, has a Masters degree in housing, and is a founder member of a ‘specialist support’ Housing Association.
Dominic Acland – Chair
Dominic is an experienced professional in the charity and public sector with a long-term commitment to stronger local communities, economies and environments. He has special interests and experience in heritage, countryside management, local and organic food, community farms and social enterprises.
He has previously worked in local government countryside management, established and led a conservation charity in Torbay, helped found Exeter Local Food Ltd (a community benefit society) and is now a consultant project development manager and fundraiser.
Elizabeth Maunder – Secretary
Liz has enjoyed volunteering all her adult life, ranging from establishing and managing a children’s training orchestra giving them experience of ensemble playing; being the first ever lady secretary of a rugby club; to being a Trustee of Hamdon Youth Group supporting young people in her rural area.
She is passionate about encouraging communities towards greater sustainability through housing and enterprise projects and as Director and Secretary of Norton sub Hamdon Community Land Trust she has helped provide ten affordable homes, run the Village Shop and Post Office as community enterprises and work towards a renewable energy project.
Tim Crabtree helps to co-ordinate Wessex Community Assets’ focus on research and innovation – in particular exploring new approaches in the field of community led housing. This links with an action research PhD he is undertaking with the Plymouth University- Schumacher College Research Node.
Tim has been involved in “new economics” for 30 years, after studying economics at Oxford University and then working for the New Economics Foundation. He is the co-founder of a number of a successful social enterprises including the Wessex Reinvestment Trust group and Dorset-based Local Food Links Ltd – where he was responsible for developing farmers’ markets, food festivals, community gardening projects, a specialist workspace (the Centre for Local Food), a vocational training programme for young people and a school meals catering service, which now supplies 50 schools with a turnover in excess of £1 million every year.
Tim recently set up Dorset Community Energy, a community renewables enterprise, established in partnership with Dorset County Council and WCA. It has recently undertaken two successful share issues, raising £0.5 million to install PV solar panels on 10 schools and 4 community halls – they will save around £600,000 in electricity costs over the next 20 years, while share-holding members benefit from the feed-in tariff and tax incentives. Other voluntary posts include being a trustee of Bridport Area Development Trust, which recently completed a £2.6 million refurbishment of a community owned workspace.
Fiona is a CIMA accountant in practice and has over 30 year’s business experience working with and for a large number of companies of all sizes.
She is passionate about helping business owners to master their finances and make robust strategic decisions. As a non-executive director of Wessex she contributes to the governance of the organisation.
Kim has run a project management consultancy for the past 20 years, after escaping the rat race as an Associate Partner in the financial services and change management divisions of an international consulting firm. Prior to that, she worked in the marketing departments of the The Economist and The Economist Intelligence Unit.
She is a director of Somerset Local Food, a trustee of Somerset Community Food and is on the board of Mendip Community Credit Union as its treasurer. She is also a PromiseWorks mentor and young person’s advocate.
Kim is a keen cook and gardener and a less keen chicken wrangler.
Paul is currently a Director of Wessex Community Assets and a Trustee of Wessex Reinvestment Trust. He re-joined Wessex in August 2008 as Executive Director, having previously served on the Board of Wessex Reinvestment Trust from its start until 2006.
Prior to this, he worked at the New Economics Foundation as the Thriving Communities Director, with responsibility for an action research programme of work in local economic development and regeneration. Paul’s previous work has included development of an urban farm and a co-operative garden centre in Bristol as well as providing support for a wide range of community led projects in both urban and rural settings.
From 1999 to 2006 Paul led development work for the local food sector in Somerset and was co-founder and first Chair of Food Links UK. He was until recently a Trustee of Sustain, the alliance for better food and farming, and has been a Trustee of the playing field trust in Godney, the village in central Somerset where he formerly lived. Paul is a founding member and Director of the Red Brick Building in Glastonbury. .
Alison advises Community Land Trusts and other community groups and social enterprises on how to set up and successfully run their organisations.
Alison has been a community led housing adviser for the Wessex CLT Project since 2010. Alison was a trustee of the National Community Land Trust Network between 2014 and 2019 and has also worked for the social finance intermediary Resonance to carry out research into the funding needs of community led housing groups and to develop new finance products for community led housing projects. Alison holds an Institute of Leadership and Management Level 5 qualification in Social Enterprise Support, and Open University Certificate in Management for not for profit organisations and an honours degree in English Literature. In 2003 Alison worked as a VSO volunteer for an NGO in Pakistan, an experience which shaped her views on providing support to community leaders at the most local level.
Alison is a Partner with Middlemarch Associates LLP which delivers the Wessex CLT Project under contract with Wessex.
Steve worked in the housing association sector between 1987 and 2007 when he led the development of projects across the East Midlands before joining Executive Management teams as Development Director at East Northamptonshire Housing (now Spire Homes) and Gloucestershire Housing Association (now part of the Guinness Partnership), and then Managing Director and Group Chief Executive at Somer Housing Group (now Curo).
His work for housing associations included leadership of the first Care and Repair Home Improvement Agency in Lincolnshire, support for a formative community housing project in Crich Derbyshire (in 1997), a sabbatical to Nicaragua to study micro-lending for housing, a stock transfer in Northamptonshire, a dispersed Foyer facility for homeless people in Derbyshire, and the leadership of a strategic partnership to receive affordable housing through urban extensions in Gloucestershire.
Steve has been leading the Wessex CLT Project since 2010 and his background in housing enables him to give in-depth technical advice for communities, local authorities and housing associations that work with them. Steve holds a Masters in Business Administration and is a Community-Led Homes Accredited Adviser.
Steve is a Partner with Middlemarch Associates LLP which delivers the Wessex CLT Project under contract with Wessex.
Jay qualified as a chartered surveyor and registered valuer and has worked at senior management level within both the private and public sector. She has an extensive and diverse range of experience across these sectors to include residential, regeneration, mixed use development, infrastructure delivery and commercial enterprise. Jay has worked for the Homes and Communities Agency (now Homes England), national developers, Local Authorities, and Registered Providers/Housing Associations.
Since 2017 Jay has focused on working with and supporting groups/CLT’s from project inception through to delivery via Service Level Agreements between Wessex and various local authorities in Devon, Dorset and Somerset. Her background in housing and development enables her to provide practical and technical support and advice.
Jay is an Associate with Middlemarch Associates LLP which delivers the Wessex CLT Project under contract with Wessex.