Symphony Housing Group becomes Onward

Symphony Housing Group, the largest registered provider of social housing based solely in the North West, today launches its new name – Onward Homes.

Onward is currently comprised of individual group member organisations with more than 41,000 homes. As a group, these organisations are united by a common purpose – to make a positive difference in the communities they serve.

Bringing them together under the Onward name positions the organisation for future growth and development. The new name and brand identity positively reflects Onward’s aspiration to contribute to the regeneration and sustainability of the North West; building on the success of its 50-year track record as a group of leading housing providers in the region.

The group is simplifying its management and governance, and has now appointed a new unitary board, which includes the CEO and three executive directors. Non-executive directors (NEDs) include four new appointments with significant experience in health, transport, finance, social care and property development.

Paul High is a chartered surveyor and recently retired executive director of the Orbit Group, the second largest housing association developer group in the country. He brings extensive property development experience having led the development of more than 1,700 homes in 2016/17.

Charlene Wallace is a NED at Lothian Buses and Edinburgh Trams, and comes with a strong history of senior managerial roles in a range of air, sea and road transport businesses. She brings extensive customer-facing operations and transformational change experience.

Michael Verrier is a chartered accountant and, until recently, was group treasurer of Wolseley plc, an international trade distribution business with a turnover of more than £13 billion. He is currently a NED of Family Mosaic, a social housing provider, where he chairs the finance and development committee.

Wyn Dignan is chair of the North West NHS Ambulance Service, having previously chaired the Manchester Health and Social Care Trust. Apart from bringing extensive health and change experience across public service networks across the North West, Wyn also brings additional experience from her commercial career in banking and finance.

These NEDs join two others appointed from the former Symphony Housing Group Board. Breda Dutton, who had a long and successful career in local government working closely with the housing and health sectors; and Brian Roebuck, a qualified mathematician, engineer and accountant who has worked primarily in social housing but has also held senior management positions in the public, voluntary and private sectors.

Dr Neil Goodwin CBE, board chair of Onward, said: “We are very proud to launch Onward, the new name for Symphony Housing Group. The new unitary board will provide clear, corporate leadership and signals our intention to increase our impact and continue to make a positive difference in the communities we serve.”