1625 Independent People

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Meet the Board

Independent People Board Members

Chair of the Board - Nick Hooper



Karen Ross

Karen is (acting) Head of Housing Strategy at South Gloucestershire Council with responsibility for monitoring and enabling delivery of the Council’s Housing Strategy. Her substantive role is Enabling Manager, responsible for the affordable housing programme – this includes negotiating with private developers to provide affordable housing on large strategic sites under planning policy, as well as working with RSLs on traditional affordable housing projects. She has been in the affordable housing sector since 1982 and has worked for 3 local authorities, 4 RSLs and the Housing Corporation, and also in a consultancy role.

 Karen came onto the Board of Priority Youth Housing in 2001.  


Craig Wilson

Craig is currently MD of OC Robotics – a high tech Bristol based engineering company.  
Previously Craig was CEO of Bristol Care & Repair leading the transition of this significant regional charity into West of England Care & Repair. Significant growth was delivered by winning local authority and commercial contracts. In 2012 the entire service was retendered which, after over a year of work, the team won.  
Craig is currently the Chair of the Foundations Advisory Board, the national body for Care & Repairs, and also a trustee of WE Care & Repair.
After graduating with a degree in chemistry Craig trained with Ernst and Young, qualifying as a chartered accountant in 1992. Craig worked in the Corporate Advisory team providing business process advice and transaction work. 
He has commercial experience in retail, distribution and manufacturing. Roles include, Financial Controller, group Financial Director and for eight years Managing Director.

Julia Clarke

Julia Clarke joined Bristol Community Health as Chief Executive in July 2011. Bristol Community Health is an employee-owned Social Enterprise spin out from the NHS delivering community health services in Bristol and neighbouring areas. The organisation began trading independently in October 2011 and Julia was involved in the final stages of set up and launch between May and September 2011 including establishing the Senior Management Team and Governance Framework.

Before joining Bristol Community Health Julia worked with the Oxford Radcliffe Hospitals NHS Trust as a Management Consultant and was also Chair of the Oxfordshire Learning Disability NHS Trust from 2007 to 2011. Julia is an accredited executive coach and has delivered leadership and strategy development for a number of organisations within the Health Sector. Her earlier career involved a number of senior positions in the Transport Sector. Julia has degrees in Geography and Economics from Oxford University and is an Institute of Directors Chartered Director.


Phil Bowley

Phil graduated for from the University of Central England with a Masters degree in Architecture and he is a member of the RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects). Phil joined GreenSquare, a housing group, in 2002 as an architect in the Design Team. He later went on to become the Asset Manager before he took on his current role as the Head of Regeneration.

The key driver of the Phil’s Regeneration role involves bringing together the ‘Hard’ (physical elements of regeneration), the ‘Soft’ (social and cultural elements of regeneration) and the economic elements to create places where people really want to, and are able to, live.

In early 2013 Phil was co opted onto the Board of Gloucestershire Land for People (GLP) an umbrella body that develops and supports Community Land Trusts (CLT’s).

Phil is responsible for the development and implementation of GreenSquare’s internal Training and Local Labour Initiative (4ward2work) and dovetailing this in with the Government Work Programme.

Kane Kirkbride

Kane is an experienced housing lawyer who works for TLT's Social Housing practice. TLT is a commercial law firm with offices across the UK and is one of the top 50 biggest law firms in the country.

Kane has worked for Housing Associations and Local Authorities, and other bodies that have worked with them, for more than 15 years and has particular experience of housing management and commercial issues facing the Sector.


Jane Keenan

Jane is a fundraising professional, and has worked for charities supporting young people and in the higher education sector for the past 17 years. Her experience is in developing philanthropic partnerships with individuals, charitable trusts and companies to further the work of the organisation she represents. Jane joined the Board of 1625 Independent People in 2015 to support the development of a new fundraising strategy.
When not working, Jane spends much of her time with her young family and keeping active by getting out on her bike and playing netball.



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