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New chairpersons to take Pioneer Group into the new decade

Three new board chairpersons have been appointed for The Pioneer Group, Castle Vale Community Housing and Compass Support.

The appointments have been made as previous Group Board chair Alison Fisher, who served for nine years has retired from the Board, and Ken Sims, who has served for eight years, steps down as CVCH (Castle Vale Community Housing) Chair and will continue his tenure on the CVCH Board for 12 months serving the community.

The new chairpersons are Carole Wildman, Sue Spicer and James Walsh, who each bring a wealth of experience to support the organisations’ work in the community. In their new roles, the chairpersons will be responsible for ensuring that governance continues to remain strong across the Group and will closely monitor progress of delivery of the new five-year Corporate Plan from April 2020.

Carole Wildman will chair The Pioneer Group board and has 38 years’ experience in the social housing sector. Her last 20 years were spent as an Executive Director for Regeneration, from 1994 to 2004, at Castle Vale Housing Action Trust and, 2004 to 2016, at Walsall Housing Group. She is passionate about assisting people and communities to become empowered through; education, training, work and active citizenship.

She is also currently a Trustee for SIFA Fireside which is a homeless charity in Birmingham that provides a range of well-being and training services at its drop-in centre in Digbeth.

Sue Spicer who will chair the CVCH board has been a resident of Castle Vale for over 50 years and has been involved in the regeneration of Castle Vale since the proposal to bring the HAT to Castle Vale was first introduced.

Sue also serves on the Neighbourhood Partnership Board and is a volunteer at Upcycle on Castle Vale, Radio Lollipop at Birmingham Children’s Hospital and the Jaguar Charity Pantomime Society.

James Walsh will chair the Compass Support board. He lived on the estate for over 10 years and has over 50 relatives from three generations living in the local area.  James is currently the Head of Legacy & Engagement at Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games. Over the last 15 years he has worked in the private, public and the charity sectors, across a broad range of industries, from telecommunications to social housing and welfare to work. James also co-chairs the ERSA / NHF Housing and Employment forum.

Prior to these posts, James has worked on developing sector leading housing and employability services for Bromford Housing Group. He gained significant experience working on several other employment related support contracts including Employment Zone, Action Team for Jobs New Deal for Disabled People, and the Longbridge Rescue.

Simon Wilson, Chief Executive Officer of The Pioneer Group, commented on the new team:

Serving as a board chair can be one of the most challenging and rewarding volunteer experiences, and we are truly grateful to Alison and Ken for guiding our efforts during a time where there has been tremendous change in Castle Vale; we have created hundreds of new affordable homes, extended our reach to neighbouring areas such as Falcon Lodge and Stockland Green, and even taken management of a football stadium.

We thank Alison and Ken for their dedication, solid leadership, professionalism and commitment to the people of Castle Vale. Their help to steer the changes in Castle Vale has been invaluable and greatly appreciated by us all.

Today, we warmly welcome our new chairpersons. With the new strategic plan coming into operation next year, it’s an exciting time for the organisations and we are thrilled that they have accepted opportunity to steer the future of Castle Vale.

The Pioneer Group is currently undergoing strategic review and is working with tenants to create a new corporate plan which will run from 2020 to 2025.