Are you passionate about the communities who live, work, visit and love Soho and its neighbouring areas? If so, we hope you are excited by the prospect of chairing a housing association providing safe and affordable homes to our residents and championing our communities to secure a better future in the dynamic economic, social and political environment that is Soho.
About the role
- Time commitment: The time commitment for this role is approximately two days per month (unremunerated)
- Meeting times and location: Most meetings are currently held on Mondays and start at 6pm but dates/times can be flexed to suit the incoming Chair in consultation with the rest of the Board. At present most meetings are being held virtually or as hybrid meetings but it is anticipated that if possible, increasingly face to face meetings will be held in our office at 18 Hanway Street, London W1T 1UF
- Closing Date: 10:00am Monday 1 November 2021
Established in 1974, Soho Housing provides homes for some 1,500 people in Central London, across two Boroughs: Westminster and Camden, mostly in Soho and Covent Garden. The Association is a charity offering most homes at social rents, less than 30% of market rent levels, making them more affordable for people on lower incomes.
Soho Housing is a smaller registered housing association but with a high value, diverse portfolio. The concentration of property in a relatively small location, together with a history of innovation and success means we have a disproportionate influence for our size.
We work closely with local community groups and stakeholders such as the Soho Society to strengthen local communities. Investment income generated from our market rent and commercial property portfolio is used to support investment in new and existing homes as well as community activities. It is this aspect, together with the focus on a tight geographic area in Central London, that differentiates Soho Housing from other housing associations.
Our annual report highlighted Soho Housing’s focus on investing in its existing properties through a substantial major works programme. We are also focusing on identifying ‘hidden homes’ for development from our existing footprint through infilling or remodelling to increase the number of homes we offer for people who are unable to rent or buy in the open market.
About our new Chair
Soho Housing has an active Board with a strong sense of identity. The culture of the Board is supportive and collegiate. It is a friendly environment that provides the opportunity to grow as well as contribute. We have recently undertaken a governance review to ensure that we are maximising the contribution from our Board Members and our governance arrangements are fit for the future.
Our current Chair has served the maximum term of nine years and we are now looking for someone who is as passionate about Soho, its heritage, communities and future, as we are.
With our new Chief Executive, Barbara Brownlee, who joined us in mid-September, we are looking forward to continuing to deliver homes for low income households who live in our heartland, whilst meeting the considerable challenges of operating in our geography.
In addition to the usual broad range of experience and skills, we are looking for an experienced chair with strong leadership and ambassadorial qualities. Experience of working in a customer-focused and regulated environment is important. Knowledge of the social housing sector is preferred but is not essential as we will tailor the induction programme to your current knowledge and experience.
Equality, Inclusion and Diversity is an important consideration for us as we are keen to continue to have a Board that includes people from a range of backgrounds and different life experiences.
Ideally, we anticipate our new Chair attending the Board Meeting on Monday 24 January 2022. The Chair will also serve on at least one committee.
How to apply
• A detailed CV of no more than 2,000 words, including details of positions held and dates (including achievements relevant to a non-executive position)
• A supporting statement of no more than 2,000 words, explaining your motivation in becoming Soho Housing’s new Chair and addressing how you meet the knowledge and experience requirements listed in PART ONE of the Person Specification
• Full contact details (name, job title, organisation, phone and email) for two referees (including your current employer if applicable). Please note that we will not take up references without your prior permission
• Completed recruitment monitoring form
The closing date for applications is 10:00am Monday 1 November 2021. Your application will be acknowledged and treated with strictest confidence. The reference code is ALT306.