New Chair for South Yorkshire Housing Association

A leading housing academic and adviser on national housing policy has been named as the new Chair of South Yorkshire Housing Association.

Professor of Housing Studies at Sheffield Hallam University, Ian Cole, takes over from the outgoing Barbara Walsh who has stepped down after serving nine years on the Board.

Professor Cole has gained a wealth of experience over thirty years in research, writing and teaching in the field of housing policy at the Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research (CRESR) at Sheffield Hallam University.

Ian Cole

We’re delighted that Ian has joined our Board.

He has directed major research projects for the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP), the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG), the National Housing Federation and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, and he has acted as a special adviser to the DWP and three House of Commons Select Committee inquiries.

More recently Professor Cole directed the CRESR evaluation of the pilot programme for the extension of the Right to Buy to housing associations.

Professor Cole is one of five new appointments to SYHA’s Board which also includes Jon Sparkes, CEO of national homelessness charity Crisis, Sandi Carman, Assistant Chief Executive of Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Helen Ratcliffe, a leading development and land expert, and Terri Proudfoot, an SYHA customer.

Speaking about the appointment, Professor Cole said: “I am honoured and delighted to have been elected Chair of SYHA. Since I joined the Board a year ago, I have been extremely impressed with the commitment of staff and other Board members to promote the strong social values of SYHA and to ensure that the voice of customers is heard loud and clear in all that we do. SYHA is distinctive in the scale of its care and supported housing to meet a wide range of housing, social care and health needs in the region and we are all determined to maintain and strengthen this role in the future alongside our provision for wider housing needs.

“I am very excited about the prospects for SYHA to increase its provision in the future, including an innovative rented scheme in the Kelham Island area of Sheffield. In the wake of the terrible tragedy at Grenfell Tower and energetic lobbying from the housing sector, there are real signs of a government rethink on the positive role of social housing can play in the face of the severe housing crisis. I am sure SYHA will be at the forefront of developing initiatives to provide a first rate housing service and high quality homes for all its customers in the Sheffield City Region.

“I think that my academic background and interests can help to bring historical and analytical perspective to bear on contemporary housing issues. But I have always thought that the point of research was to help change the world and not just to interpret it; and never to drift too far from the day-to-day realities that confront local communities, as well as those who are working to build a more equitable, affordable and humane housing system. As the new Chair of the SYHA Board I will relish the prospect of working with others towards this goal.”

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