Housing Diversity Network is delighted to announce that Alison Burns and Sallie Bridgen will be joining us as Joint Chief Executives from May 2016.

Housing Diversity Network was established in 2002 and since then has gone from strength to strength – in that time we have supported hundreds of organisations and thousands of people, through our hugely successful mentoring programme and other services, to promote equality and celebrate diversity. We have grown to become a national organisation with a high profile and strong impact. With the retirement of our current Chief Executive, Clifton Robinson, at the end of April 2016 we are pleased to have been able to recruit two individuals with the skills and experience to build on these strong foundations and take HDN forward.

Sallie and Alison will be working with the Board and rest of the staff team on an interim jobshare basis to start to deliver our exciting plans for the next few years. The housing sector has seen unprecedented change in recent times. Not just in the last year, but for some time now, the nature of the work of housing organisations has changed and will continue to do so. At Housing Diversity Network we are keen to ensure our services respond to these changes and that we continue our collaboration with existing and new members to help them champion equality, diversity and inclusion and ensure organisations get the most from all of their staff. We also intend to develop our work in other sectors to ensure that learning is shared and members have access to the best knowledge and expertise available.

Both Alison and Sallie have a longstanding commitment to social justice and tackling inequality and between them draw on extensive experience of leadership  and strategic development at a senior level in housing and homelessness, equalities, health, mental health and education. They are therefore ideally placed to ensure HDN continues to thrive in the future.

If you have any questions in the meantime please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us on 01484 652606.

Arshia Bhatti
Chair, Housing Diversity Network


Alison (2)

Alison Burns

Alison’s career is based on her conviction that everyone should have the opportunity to know and fulfil their potential – she works to realise a more equal society and to remove barriers to individual and community progress.  She began her working life with the Chiswick Family Rescue (now Refuge) supporting women and children escaping domestic abuse; and in a career specialising in the not for profit sector, she has worked across the fields of housing, health, education and equalities.

Alison was responsible for service delivery and strategy with two national charities – Shelter and Teach First – where she led national programmes of growth and development.  She now concentrates on freelance contracting with clients including local authorities, the EHRC, housing associations and Mind.

A governor at a north Manchester secondary school, Alison is also a non-executive director of Together Dementia Support a Community Interest Company in south Manchester.


Sallie Bridgen

Sallie Bridgen

With over 25 years experience in social and supported housing, Sallie is committed to social justice, sustainability and the role housing can play in tackling inequality and helping people improve the quality of their lives and achieve their aspirations.

She is currently an independent Consultant working with social enterprises, housing associations, and public health on a variety of projects.

She is also a Board Member at Progress Housing Group, and Together Dementia Support a not-for-profit Community Interest Company offering support and therapeutic activities for people living with dementia, their carers and supporters in Manchester

Previously Sallie worked with the National Housing Federation in the North West, where she led the representation and lobbying on behalf of the region’s 150 housing association members and their tenants.

Prior to that Sallie led Shelter’s services in the North West, developing and delivering services to support homeless people and campaigning for an end to homelessness.


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