Staff Members

English Rural’s success is the result of our hard working and highly skilled team of staff.

Chief Executive’s Office

Martin Collett

Martin Collett, Chief Executive

Martin Collett, Chief Executive of English Rural, has been working in the rural housing sector for around 20 years. He is a Corporate Member of the Chartered Institute of Housing, graduate of the University of London and former Chair of the Rural Housing Alliance. Martin is also a Trustee for the rural community business charity the Plunkett Foundation, a Director of the Rural Services Network, and a Trustee of the LGBT+ youth homelessness charity the Albert Kennedy Trust.

Karen Eagles, Governance & Executive Support Manager

Karen joined English Rural in March 2008 as the Governance and Executive Support Manager, bringing with her a wealth of experience from various professional backgrounds. In her role, Karen offers invaluable support to the Senior Management Team, contributing to the organisation’s development and handling essential business administration tasks. In addition to her managerial responsibilities, Karen also serves as English Rural’s Company Secretary. Prior to joining English Rural, Karen built a successful career in the financial sector, working with a prominent high street bank. She also gained valuable experience as a Personal Assistant at an international company, where she honed her skills in executive support and organisational management. More recently, Karen worked in the Political Offices at the London Borough of Brent, further expanding her expertise in governance and administration. With her diverse professional background and commitment to excellence, Karen Eagles plays a crucial role in ensuring the smooth operation of English Rural’s governance and executive support functions.

David Barrowcliff, Communications Manager, English Rural

David Barrowcliff, Communications Manager

David joined English Rural in April 2019 and now serves as their Communications Manager. David has over 20 years’ experience in the media sector, the majority of which has been spent at media and advertising giant WPP within Millward Brown and Kantar Media. David brings his experience in communications measurement and social media to his role at English Rural.

Farren Wall, Communications & Administrative Officer

Appointed as the Communications & Administrative Officer at English Rural in June 2023, Farren brings a blend of diverse professional experiences to her role. Prior to this position, she honed her skills in the housing sector during a three-year tenure at L&Q. As part of the disrepair team there, Farren gained valuable knowledge and insights, further developing her aptitude for detail-oriented work. Before delving into the housing sector, Farren showcased her organisational acumen in a completely different arena: the events industry. She was responsible for organising engaging boat parties on the River Thames, an experience that significantly honed her project management and people coordination skills.

Rory Weal, Strategic Policy Lead - Rural Homelessness

A public affairs professional with over seven years of experience working in the social impact sector. As well as his role as Strategic Policy Lead on Rural Homelessness at English Rural, he is also a Senior Policy and Public Affairs Manager at The Trussell Trust leading on campaigns to end poverty. Rory previously held roles at St Mungo’s, Rethink Mental Illness and completed a 3-month policy internship in the House of Commons. Rory was awarded a Churchill Fellowship in 2019 to research food insecurity and is passionate about creating systemic change through evidence-based policy, advocacy and partnerships.

Development Team

Richard DeVille, Development Director

Richard joined English Rural in March 2022 as Development Director. He will play a critical role in delivering English Rural’s growth and environmental ambitions. Richard brings a wealth of experience to the role and will be instrumental in driving forward our plans to deliver even more affordable rural homes that the country desperately needs. Prior to his appointment at English Rural, Richard worked as Head of Development for Hightown Housing Association and with Enfield Council as Housing Zone Programme Manager.

Nick Hughes, Regional Development Manager

Nick is the Regional Development Manager for the Surrey, Sussex, and Hampshire. He joined English Rural in 2008 from Guildford Borough Council where he worked as the Housing Development Manager. Having worked in rural Surrey for many years Nick knows the area and the affordable housing issues affecting it extremely well. His knowledge and experiences ensure that he is superbly placed to continue English Rural’s achievements. Nick is a Member of the Chartered Institute of Housing.

Graham Mann

Graham Mann, Development Design Manager

Graham joined English Rural in January 2020 as Development Project Manager, working in the Kent and Essex areas, and is now English Rural’s Development Design Manager. Graham has an architectural background and for the past 24 years has specialised in residential design, with rural exception sites being a key focus of his work.  He has been actively involved in several English Rural’s schemes over the years.  Graham is an Associate member of the Chartered Association of Building Engineers.

Wendy Farrell, Development Project Manager

Wendy joined English Rural in April 2023 as a Development Project Manager, taking on schemes across the region. Wendy has extensive project delivery and design experience, having previously worked as a Design Coordinator with a Hertfordshire based Main Works Contractor for seven years. Prior to that, she successfully delivered affordable housing schemes for Fairhive Homes, Buckinghamshire and appreciates the unique opportunities and challenges that delivering Rural Exception Schemes brings.

Resident Services Team

Kathryn Harrison, Resident Services Director

Kathryn joined English Rural in 2006 and is our Resident Services Director. Her role leads all aspects of our resident service offer including repairs and maintenance, compliance, asset management and sales and lettings. Kathryn has around 20 years’ experience in the social housing sector and is a Corporate Member of the Chartered Institute of Housing.

Charlotte Priebe, Customer Services Manager

Charlotte joined English Rural in November 2022 as Customer Services Manager. Prior to this Charlotte worked for a large Housing Association as Customer Service Team Manager, where she managed the busy Customer Services team and worked within their resolution team managing complex cases. Previously, Charlotte spent 8 years working in the leisure industry managing sales and memberships as well as being a swimming teacher and coach. Many years of experience working within customer service roles within the retail, leisure and the housing sector has led to a real passion to provide a great service.

Janette Spence, Asset & Compliance Manager

Janette joined English Rural in 2012 as a Repairs and Maintenance Manager and has now been appointed as Asset and Compliance Manager. In this new role, Janette will oversee English Rural’s planned investment in our homes and all compliance-related issues. Previously Janette worked as a Contract Administrator for a heating and installation company and gained a great deal of experience within this industry.

Tom Sandy, Senior Repairs & Maintenance Surveyor

Tom has been working with a large regional Local Authority as a Trainee, Assistant and then Building Surveyor for the last 7 years across a wide variety of differing projects. Tom has a Btec Level 3 in Civil Engineering and a First-class degree in Building Surveying, together with a background in renewable technology implementation and design.

Andy Farrar, Repairs & Maintenance Surveyor

Andy joined English Rural in 2021 as Repairs & Maintenance Surveyor. He brings a wealth of experience in Repairs & Maintenance, Asset Management and Property Investment from his roles working for Local Authorities and a Housing Association for the last 12 years. He is also a member of the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB). Andy has experience in delivering year-on-year improvements in customer satisfaction with the delivery of an effective repairs & maintenance service and planned maintenance programme of improvement works to the property and estate assets.

Steve Fusco, Repairs & Maintenance Surveyor

Steve has recently joined English Rural having spent six years with Bromford Housing association managing a large voids team, prior to this Steve spent seven years as a Project Manager for a preferred contractor, on residential insurance claims, primarily dealing with subsidence. He has also gained valuable experience over the past 20 years working with a local authority, other housing associations and a facilities management company.

Jade Clark, Senior Regional Housing Manager

Jade joined English Rural in March 2015 as a temporary staff member. In February 2016, her position was made permanent when she was appointed to the role of Housing Services Administrator.  Jade was appointed Regional Housing Manager in June 2017 and Senior Regional Housing Manager in August 2023. She joined English Rural from a retail background where she worked for six years.

Steven Bland, Regional Housing Manager

Steven joined English Rural in 2008, having previously worked for a legal firm where he dealt with shared ownership sales. Steven was initially the Housing Services Administrator, responsible for ensuring the successful and satisfactory management of English Rural’s housing stock and supporting the external Housing Management. He became Regional Housing Manager for Essex and the Eastern region in September 2012 and is responsible for the day-to-day neighbourhood and tenancy management. Steven recently completed an MSc qualification through the Chartered Institute of Housing.

Kelly Vanderson, Regional Housing Manager

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Luke Versteeg, Regional Housing Manager

Luke joined English Rural in 2012 as Housing Services Administrator and is currently one of the Regional Housing Managers at English Rural, covering Kent, Sussex, and parts of Surrey. Luke graduated from the University of Canterbury, New Zealand with a master’s degree in Geography and is pursuing qualifications in housing through the Chartered Institute of Housing.

John Saunders, Regional Housing Manager

John has over 10 years’ experience in the housing sector in a variety of roles. He has worked in general needs housing, supported housing, and shared ownership, and has a diverse background in the field. As a Regional Housing Manager, John is responsible for overseeing operations in the Southwest area of England. In addition to his practical experience, John is committed to professional development and is actively working towards becoming a chartered member of the Chartered Institute of Housing. Before entering the Housing sector, John spent two years as a police officer, giving him a unique perspective and a well-rounded skill set that he brings to his work.

Terri Browning, Sales & Lettings Manager

Terri joined English Rural in May 2017 working part time as our Services Assistant. In August 2017, she became a full-time member of our team and has recently been appointed the role of Sales & Lettings Manager. Terri joined English Rural from a Childcare and teaching background where she worked for 8 years.

Michelle Groom, Sales & Lettings Administrator

Michelle joined English Rural in February 2022 after taking a career break to raise her family. Prior to working with English Rural, Michelle worked in several HR roles in the UK and Asia. Michelle works part-time as the Sales and Lettings Administrator and is responsible for the day-to-day administration on all sales and lettings.

Alena Morris, Senior Customer Services Advisor

Alena joined the English rural team in May 2023, assuming the role of Senior Customer Services Advisor. Prior to this, she amassed a wealth of experience as part of the customer service team at a prominent Housing Association. Recognised for her expertise, Alena undertook the additional responsibility of training new staff members and providing guidance to her colleagues in their respective roles. Preceding her tenure in customer service, she dedicated five years to the care sector, where she excelled as a team leader, emphasizing a person-centred approach to service delivery.

Dawn Cridland, Customer Services Advisor

Dawn joined English Rural in 2014 as a Repairs and Maintenance Officer. Her role is to provide a service for reactive repairs and maintenance. Before coming to work for English Rural Dawn worked as a Contract Administrator for a local central heating company. She worked there for over 7 years and has gained a vast amount of knowledge and experience in dealing with repairs and maintenance within the heating industry.

Dee Charles, Customer Services Advisor

Dee joined English Rural in May 2021 following a career in real estate customer relations and private lettings within the UK and USA. Following graduation in Business Studies, Dee began a long-term career with The Royal National Institute for the Blind providing frontline services for parents, clinicians, and educational staff in addition to managing their international publication service. Dee is a keen trail runner, avid nutrition enthusiast and devotee to good health and wellbeing.

Erika Francis, Customer Services Advisor

Erika joined the English Rural team as a Part-Time Customer Service Advisor in August 2023, bringing with her a 9-year background in kitchen and joinery design. Leveraging a keen eye for detail and a deep understanding of superior customer service garnered from her time as a Kitchen Designer, Erika is an asset to the team, adept at crafting exceptional customer experiences grounded in empathy and expertise.

Finance Team

Eddie Smy, Finance Director

Eddie comes to English Rural with a distinguished background in finance, having held high-level roles in both the housing and banking sectors at Cross Keys Homes and Santander. As Finance Director, Eddie will be instrumental in advancing the finance function at English Rural, utilising his expertise in treasury, risk management, budgeting, and financial planning. His leadership will be crucial in supporting English Rural’s growth ambitions and maintaining the strong financial stewardship the organisation is known for. Eddie is excited to join an organisation with such a strong social purpose and solid financial track-record. His primary focus will be to ensure that English Rural continues on a sound financial footing, sustaining its financial resilience and laying the groundwork to achieve its strategic ambitions.

Ferdi Lachica, Finance Manager

Ferdi joined English Rural in September 2002 as an Accounts Assistant. Over the years his responsibilities have increased, and he was promoted to Finance Manager in 2014. His main responsibilities involve the preparation of management accounts, cash management, maintaining the fixed asset register and year-end financial schedules for the Group. He also manages the day-to-day running of the Finance Team.

Lorna Murdoch, Accounts Supervisor

Lorna joined English Rural in 2008 as a temporary staff member and in April 2009 she became a permanent and took up the post of Accounts Officer. She has recently been promoted to the new position of Accounts Supervisor and now has responsibility for over-seeing the Associations transactional accounting, including rents, purchase ledger, sales ledger, and cashbooks. Before joining English Rural, Lorna worked for Stonham Housing Association as Finance Assistant.

Chyna Edwards-Bryce, Management Accountant

Chyna joined English Rural as a Finance Apprentice in 2015 and was employed permanently in 2019 as Finance Assistant. Chyna is actively developing her experience and skills within the housing and finance sector, including studying for accountancy qualifications, securing some crucial finance support for the organisation. Before working for English Rural Chyna was a club treasurer for her local football club and football coach and referee, an interest she still pursues in her spare time.

Jumon Ahmed, Finance Assistant

Jumon joined English Rural in January 2020 as Accounts Administrator. He is currently on a training contract which will allow him to sit ACCA exams, aspiring to becoming a qualified accountant. He has just recently graduated from the University of Greenwich in 2019, studying Accounting and Finance. His main responsibilities include management of rents, purchase and invoice accounts and supporting the team where possible.

Hawazen Hamzeh, Accounts Assistant

Hawazen is an accomplished finance professional who brings a wealth of experience to her role as Accounts Assistant at English Rural. Having joined the team as a temporary staff member in 2022, Hawazen quickly established herself as a valuable member of the team. Her primary responsibilities include managing purchase and invoice accounts, as well as providing support to the wider team wherever possible. In recognition of her contributions, Hawazen was offered a permanent position in April 2023. Before joining English Rural, Hawazen honed her skills as a Finance Administrator Assistant at the Nursing and Midwifery Council. During her time there, she gained valuable experience in financial management and accounting, which has served her well in her current role.

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