Do you want to get #boardready?

David Levenson, 21 August 2019

The programme for future housing leaders is helping to bring new talent with fresh ideas into the boardroom.

David Levenson is co-founder of Raising Roofs

If you work for a housing association, here’s a question. How many members of your organisation’s board can you name? Maybe the Chair because they have made a speech at the annual staff conference. You might need to visit the company website to find out who the others are.

So why does this matter? 

According to the National Housing Federation’s Chief Executive, Kate Henderson,


"The sector needs boards to be open, accountable and transparent and to really understand the experiences of people and the homes we serve"

- Kate Henderson, Chief Executive, National Housing Federation

But if staff don’t know who their board members are, then what are the chances that residents know? And if not, how can board members be held to account for the vital work they do?

Kate was speaking in June to the second Raising Roofs cohort on the final day of its programme. She talked about how we need fresh ideas from new talent who are board ready and equipped with the knowledge, skills and confidence to take a role on a board.

What Kate was saying is that governance really matters. If residents and staff are to have confidence in how their organisations are governed, boards need to be more visible and engaged.

What do we do at Raising Roofs?

We prepare future housing leaders to take their place in the boardroom – we call this being “board ready”. This gives them the confidence to speak up, ask important questions and to realise that their opinions are valid and valuable.

The programme aims to make governance bodies more accessible to talented, future leaders working in housing and to improve diversity in the boardroom of social landlords. 

It includes six workshop days with outstanding facilitators from within and outside the housing sector. Participants also attend and observe a board meeting at a social landlord where they don’t work, and they receive mentoring and support throughout and beyond the programme.  

The skills and knowledge they acquire on Raising Roofs help them perform their day jobs more effectively. In addition, they become part of a peer alumni group to support each other on their journeys to governance committees and onwards to the boardroom.

And here is what the participants said:


"I have applied for a board role since starting Raising Roofs, it’s not something I ever thought I would do but I am confident that I would be able to fulfil the role"

- Rachel Bilham, Broadacres


"It has been the best experience"

- Ijay Onyechi, Peabody


"Raising Roofs is a programme where you don’t realise until afterwards just how much you have learned from it"

- Natalie Treadwell, WM Housing

Now running its third programme, Raising Roofs is open to applications for the next cohort. The new programme will begin on Wednesday 30 October and concludes in March 2020.

Further details, including the programme costs and how to apply, can be found on the Raising Roofs website. The online application form is very straight forward and quick to complete. For any further information, please email us.

We look forward to welcoming future leaders on Raising Roofs in October.

Raising Roofs is endorsed by the National Housing Federation and sponsored by Winckworth Sherwood and JLL.