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Our Board has four reserved places for council nominees and eight places for independents, including the Chair. To find out more about our Chair and Board Members, please click on the links below. To find out more about the role of YHN Board members, visit A day in the life of a Board Member
  • Chair

    Tony Gates Tony was appointed as Chair of the YHN Board in January 2020. A chartered town planner, Tony has over 23 years’ experience in senior executive and non-executive director roles. Previous roles have included urban and rural regeneration and landscape and heritage management in the public sector in the UK, Ireland and overseas. He currently serves as Chief Executive of Northumberland National Park Authority and is also a member of the Council of the North East Chamber of Commerce, and Deputy Chair of the North East Farming and Rural Advisory Network. Tony is a member of the Board of Northumberland Tourism Ltd and Kielder Water and Forest Park Development Trust. Tony Chairs the YHN Remuneration and Nominations Committee and is also a member of our Health and Safety Committee.
  • Council Board members

    Sylvia Copley Sylvia was appointed to the Board in November 2019. She was elected as Labour Councillor for West Fenham ward in May 2019. Throughout her career, Sylvia has worked with children, young people and their families in Newcastle, Gateshead and Northumberland. Since 2015 she has been Chief Officer of a charity based in Sunderland providing independent advice services to assist people with welfare rights, benefits, debt and housing advice.She knows how important it is that good quality housing and secure tenancies are available for residents in Newcastle and is looking forward to working with other Board members to help YHN deliver "amazing places where people are proud to live".Sylvia is a member of our Finance and Performance Committee.
    Linda Hobson  Linda was appointed to the Board by Newcastle City Council in May 2019. She was first elected to Newcastle City Council in 2011 and is the Labour Councillor for Blakelaw Ward where she grew up. Linda is a Registered Nurse, a lead activist for UNISON, and a graduate of Labour’s first Jo Cox Women in Leadership programme. She has worked within the NHS since 1997 and has lived in Newcastle all her life. Linda was previously the Cabinet Member for Adult Services and is now Cabinet member for Housing. Through her Cabinet role Linda will ensure that Newcastle delivers on the belief that “everyone should have the right to a decent home’’. Linda is a member of our Group Audit and Risk Committee.
    Joyce McCarty (Vice Chair) Joyce is a Labour councillor for Wingrove ward and is also Deputy Leader of the Council.Alongside policy co-ordination work with the Leader, her main area of responsibility is to ensure that the Council works in the interests of fairness and tackling inequalities. She leads on financial inclusion and the Council’s response to the impact of welfare reform on the residents of the city. Joyce is a Director of our Abri Trading Limited Subsidiary Company and a member of the Finance and Performance Committee.
    Gareth Kane Gareth Kane was appointed to the Board in November 2019. He was first elected to Newcastle City Council in June 2004 and represents Ouseburn Ward. Gareth is the Opposition Spokesman for Environment and Sustainability and was Deputy Cabinet Member for Environment and Sustainability 2004-2011. Since 2006 he has run his own Sustainability Consultancy and has written five books on the subject. Gareth also sits on the Finance and Budget Monitoring Scrutiny Sub-Committee and the Youth Offending Team Partnership. He is a keen cyclist and would like to see cycling made easy for all in the City. Gareth is a member of our Health and Safety Committee.
  • Independent Board members

    Lynne Blakey Lynne joined the Board in October 2019. She is an experienced policy and programme manager, specialising in regeneration initiatives, tackling inequality and developing cross sector commissioning for improved health outcomes. Lynne's roles have included Wellbeing and Health Coordinator for Newcastle and Head of Practice Based Commissioning for NHS North of Tyne. Since leaving the NHS in 2011, Lynne has undertaken a range of projects as an interim manager in health and social care settings. Now operating as a freelance consultant, she has completed multiple projects predominantly supporting third sector organisations in engaging with change and developing their business strategies and services to align with funding and commissioning priorities. She is also a longstanding Board Member and Trustee for regional charity Mental Health North East (MHNE). Lynne is a member of our Customer Services Committee.
    Ann Cuthbertson Anne joined the Board in October 2019. Her early career was in HR within the water industry.  For the last 30 years Anne has worked in a consulting capacity with a range of public, private and charity organisations including a number in the social housing sector.  She works with senior teams advising on organisation development, supports the development of business strategy and performance through facilitation as well as executive coaching. Anne was an executive director of a consulting company and, over the 13 years as a board member, she held Finance Director and Managing Director roles.  She has had her own business for seven years now.  She is Chair of Governors at a primary school in a deprived area of North Tyneside, until recently chaired the Institute of Directors Women on Board group and is a member of the North East Women’s Leaders Advisory Board whose vision is to make the North East the best place for women in work.  She has a passion for the region where she grew up and, particularly raising the aspirations of young people. Anne is a member of our Group Audit and Risk Committee.
    Malcolm Page Malcolm joined the Board in 2015. He is Chief Operating Officer at Teesside University, joining in 2013 from his position as Executive Director of Commercial and Corporate Services at Sunderland City Council. He has previously worked as Deputy Chief Executive at the Regional Development Agency, One North East and is a fully qualified accountant. Malcolm brings with him considerable strategic, corporate and resource management experience and a strong track record of operating and delivering at Board level. Malcolm is the Chair of our Finance and Performance Committee and a Director of our Abri Trading Limited Subsidiary Company
    Paul Scope Paul joined the Board in May 2015, having previously sat as Independent Vice Chair of the Audit Committee since August 2013. He is a partner in a major regional law firm, headquartered in Newcastle. Paul was previously an in-house solicitor for a FTSE 250 group of companies in London, before returning to his native North East. He has a great deal of experience in commercial and legal matters - and currently specialises in HR and employment law. He works with a diverse range of companies, including major housing organisations, and is a Governor of a Senior School in Whitley Bay. Paul is a Director of our Abri Trading Limited Subsidiary Company, Chair of Health and Safety Committee and a member of our Group Audit and Risk Committee.
    Bill Tebay Bill joined the Board in April 2020, having previously supported the Board as a Co-optee for one year. Bill is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Housing and has worked in social and affordable housing throughout a long and successful career. Most of his working life has been spent in the North East where he has occupied Director roles in housing management, development and asset management. Latterly Bill has worked in Worcester where, as Managing Director, he successfully merged two in house contracting teams to provide maintenance services to 3 housing associations comprising 22,000 units. He was also responsible for a £5M refurbishment of three high rise blocks in the centre of Worcester and developed 250 new build units before returning to the North East in 2018.
  • Co-optees

    Leisa Docherty   Leisa is a highly experienced HR Director with a strong commercial focus. With 25 years’ experience working across the HR spectrum, Leisa has held executive roles working across the UK, Ireland and internationally, from start-ups to FTSE 100 businesses. She specialises in organisational change, leadership development, executive coaching, cultural change and driving strong business performance through people, working with boards and executive teams to make sustainable and positive change. Leisa is a member of our Finance and Performance Committee.
    Dennis Hall Dennis joined the Asfaleia Board Limited in September 2017. He is a solicitor with over 35 years’ experience in local government in the North East, having latterly been Commercial Manager at Gateshead Council. His specialisms include governance, shared services and procurement. He is currently an active member of two Law Society Committees, having been National Chair of the Local Government Lawyers’ representative body; he is a Parish Councillor and a co-opted member on the Standards Committee of a large local authority in the area. He is active locally as a job coach in a job support charity and is passionate about local government services in the region.