What we do

Our Group Board

The Group Board sets our strategic direction. Find out more about who they are.

John Swinney - Chair

John Swinney - Chair

John is CEO of Just Housing Group, with vast experience of working for a variety of public and private sector companies. John was previously Chief Executive of Pinnacle PSG and has significant experience in housing management and the development of community improvement strategies. John is also chair of 3SC and a board member of Red Door Ventures.

Nigel Benjamin

Nigel Benjamin

Nigel is a business consultant and coach, working with organisations in the public, private and charity sectors, having had over 35 years’ experience in human resources and organisational development. He has been a member of a number of executive teams and boards as an executive director. These include The Alzheimer’s Society, an NHS Hospital and four years as a director of ECHG, a large national housing association. Nigel is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and is a Chartered Director.

Stephen Cavinder

Stephen Cavinder

Stephen worked at a senior management level for airport group BAA for almost 35 years. He now provides an independent consultancy service to the road transport industry. He has lived in Watford and the surrounding area since 1987. In May 2016, he was elected as a local councillor for the Woodside Ward in Watford and served until 2019. Stephen has also represented Watford Borough Council on the Armed Forces Covenant Board, and served as a trustee for organisations including Citizens Advice Watford, Hertfordshire Citizens Advice Service and Herts Inclusive Theatre.

Chris Cheshire

Chris Cheshire

Chris is a Chartered Construction Manager with 37 years’ experience and he has been involved in the social housing sector for much of that time. Having been a Director of Asset Management for a large housing provider in London, as well as owning and managing his own businesses for the last 25 years, he has a broad range of public and commercial sector skills. Chris has been an active board member for different organisations for 25 years and currently sits on one other board. He has been a Group Board Member since 2019 and is Chair of Clarendon Living, our commercial subsidiary.

Raz Hussain

Raz Hussain

Raz has over 8 years’ experience working within the target-driven world of corporate business for large global companies, and has gained a wealth of experience both in banking and product development. She regularly undertakes voluntary jobs for charities and thrives on making a difference to people who need it the most. Raz aims to utilise both her skills and life experience in order to help Watford Community Housing meet its objectives.

Raj Kumar

Raj Kumar

Raj’s interest in social housing started in 1989 when he became a resident and secretary of a fully mutual cooperative. He has since been vice-chair of the Board of a stock transfer organisation, an HC statutory appointee and chair of an ALMO shadow board. He has held the position of Head of Service for housing for both a local authority and a housing association. Since 2007, he has run One Enterprise Ltd, a consultancy specialising in value for money, governance, resident scrutiny and service improvement.

John Lavers

John Lavers

John has had a long career in the private sector, specialising in Corporate Treasury and the financing of large projects. Before joining Watford Community Housing he had 17 years’ experience as a Board member of other housing associations. He is passionate about contributing to Watford Community Housing’s ability to finance its growth while continuing to improve the quality of services to residents. 

Jamie Ratcliff

Jamie Ratcliff

Jamie is Executive Director of Business Performance and Partnerships for Network Homes. He has a wide range of responsibilities including driving policy and service improvements for Network Homes customers. He has almost 15 years’ experience in housing, working at local, regional and national levels. In that time, he has successfully overseen the completion of over 50,000 affordable homes, established multi-billion pound housing investment programmes and been involved with the development, adoption and implementation of statutory housing strategies.

Marsha Thompson

Marsha Thompson

Marsha is a BA Hons Politics and Sociology graduate currently working as a careers advisor for young people. Marsha has co-ordinated and developed a Social Action Campaign targeting youth unemployment and she has independently organised and delivered educational events that encourage young people to engage in their local communities. One of Marsha’s greatest passions is helping people find solutions that meet their specific needs and goals.