What we do

Our Group Board

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

Chris Cheshire - Chair

Chris Cheshire - Chair

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 involved with the Group since 2016, initially as a Board Co-optee and Chair of Clarendon Living, our commercial subsidiary.

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.

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 is Chair of our Operations Committee and aims to utilise both her skills and life experience to help Watford Community Housing meet its objectives.

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 over 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. As well as being a member of our Group Board, he is Chair of Clarendon Living, our commercial arm, and a member of our Investment Committee.

Kennedy Rodrigues

Kennedy Rodrigues

Kennedy has 30 years of business experience, working mainly in senior Commercial Finance roles. His Board level experience has been in retail, telecoms and recruitment, with his last role being Commercial Finance Director for an international recruitment company. Kennedy’s family first came to Watford in 1973, so he has a close affinity to the local area and its residents. He plays an active part in the community through his voluntary work as the treasurer and caseworker for the SVP charity in Watford. Kennedy aims to use his experience to assist Watford Community Housing in meeting its strategic objectives.

Michael Suarez

Michael Suarez

Michael works as a Consultant Director with one of the UK’s top four consultancy and audit firms, which has offices in Watford. His area of expertise covers the not-for-profit sector including housing associations and other registered social landlords, as well as local and regional government and health industries. Michael has had a range of experience as a non-executive director, including with one of the public sector’s leading financial management accountancy bodies. He joined our Group Board in 2021 and is also Chair of our Audit & Risk Committee.

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.

Tim Willcocks

Tim Willcocks

Tim is a Chartered Planning and Development surveyor with over 25 years’ experience in the property world, including sales and marketing, development, consultancy and housing policy. He joined the affordable housing sector in 2007, leading successful sales and development teams, and working on national housing policy at the Homes and Communities Agency (now Homes England). Tim is currently Director of Public Sector Engagement at Heylo Housing.