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BMENational elects new Chair

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Published by Dawn Prentice for Dawn Prentice Communications in Communities and also in Care and Support, Environment, Health, Housing

Cym D'Souza, Chair Cym D'Souza, Chair

BMENational, the representative body for more than 60 black and minority ethnic housing organisations managing over 60,000 social homes, has appointed Cym D’Souza as its new Chair.  Cym D’Souza, who is Chief Executive of Arawak Walton, a Manchester-based 1,000 home, £50m housing association took up the Chair for a 2 year period following a BMENational meeting on 8th May 2014. She will preside over a busy year for BMENational as the collective undertakes major research to inform its forward strategy and plans a campaign to advocate a vibrant future for the UK’s independent, BME housing sector on the lead-up to the General Election in May 2015.

Cym D’Souza said: “I am immensely proud to have been elected Chair at such a pivotal moment for social housing and community-based organisations. As the housing association sector debates its future and we are on the run-in to the next General Election, BMENational needs to speak with a strong and united voice on behalf of BME communities and the housing organisations answerable to them. After all, collectively, BMENational is one of the country’s largest social landlords overseeing £3bn of assets, and the collective will make its voice heard. We are one of the major success stories in Europe for black and minority ethnic communities controlling local housing, managing community assets and being in touch with people at the neighbourhood level.”

“We will be unveiling our plans for the year ahead shortly. But as part of developing a new strategy for BMENational we have already joined forces with Birmingham-based research think-tank the Human City Institute which will be undertaking research for us. This research will be extensive and covers a review of the BME sector’s legacy, a ‘shape of the sector’ study, a major survey of BME tenants, consultation with key stakeholders and collection of human success stories arising from the work of BME housing organisations.”

“We are confident that with our deep roots, our longstanding support for diverse communities, deployment of our collective assets and our dedicated service delivery, we have much to offer social housing in the UK. This is the message we will be taking to the country, supported by a comprehensive evidence base, in the year ahead.”

In other BMENational elections, Jackie Adusei, Chief Executive of Ekaya Housing Association becomes Vice-Chair and Ali Akbor, Chief Executive of Unity Housing takes up the position of Secretary and Treasurer. Two Regional Reps - Llewellyn Graham, Chief Executive of Nehemiah-UCHA and Richard Renwick, Chief Executive of Tuntum Housing Association – have also been appointed to provide a strong regional focus.

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