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Lawyer joins board of housing association his father helped set up 47 years ago

ByPeter Barron

Sep 6, 2021

AN EXPERIENCED lawyer has joined the board of an award-winning North-East housing association – nearly 50 years after his father became one of its founders.

Simon Wake brings a wealth of experience to the North Star Housing Group, having spent more than 30 years working in the commercial property sector.

His father, Brian, was one of the original driving forces behind the organisation in 1974, when it was known as Endeavour Housing. He served as chair from 1981 to 1986 before stepping down from the board in 2009.

“North Star Housing is an extremely well-run organisation, carrying out an absolutely vital role, and I’m very proud to have the opportunity to join the team in building on the solid foundations that my father helped to establish,” said Simon.

“I’m passionate about this area but we have our problems and more people would be homeless or in unsuitable housing without the work of North Star. Joining the board was a great opportunity to put something back and, having worked for so long in the property sector, I feel I have a valuable contribution to make.”

Brian, originally from Redcar, worked as a partner for Teesside solicitors Punch Robson, specialising in commercial property. With a keen interest in the welfare of the local community, he remains a long-standing member of All Saints Church at Preston-on-Tees, and ran the church youth club in his younger days.

Father-of-two Simon, who has lived most of his life in Eaglescliffe, trained at Punch Robson before joining Eversheds in 1991 until its Teesside office was closed ten years later. He then joined The Endeavour Partnership as a partner, working directly next door to North Star Housing’s headquarters in Thornaby.

He was managing partner for six years and headed the commercial property department for a decade before retiring at the end of July.

David Walker was appointed to join the Board at the same time. He brings a great portfolio of experience and skills. As an experienced regeneration and property development expert, he has developed extensive knowledge of managing and delivering mixed-use development projects.

David said: “I’m delighted to be joining the Board of such a well-respected and award-winning organisation and looking forward to the challenges ahead.”

Peter Waugh, Chair of North Star, said : “The qualities that attracted Brian to become involved, are equally important to Simon, and David. We are looking forward to working with them both to help keep North Star moving forward in every sense.”

North Star Housing, which manages just under 4,000 homes across Tees Valley, County Durham and North Yorkshire, was recently named “UK Employer of the Year” at an awards event organised by the Chartered Institute of Housing. It has also been shortlisted as Landlord of The year in the UK Housing Awards

North Star’s properties range from general housing to specialist accommodation for people experiencing homelessness, people with learning or physical disabilities, mental ill health, or fleeing domestic abuse. It also provides homes for older people with support needs and young people leaving care.

  • To find out more about North Star’s services in the community, go to: www.northstarhg.co.uk