People: Your Housing Group; Freedom Fibre; Reconnections; Eureka!; Secondhand Styling UK; Bigtank

Jacque Allen

Jacque Allen has been appointed in the permanent role as group chief executive of Birchwood-based Your Housing Group (YHG), effective immediately.

Ms Allen took on the role as interim CEO in July following the retirement of Brian Cronin. In August the group board, led by chair Richard Groome, supported by Altair, carried out a thorough review and concluded that Ms Allen was the right person to lead the group.

Richard Groome said: “Jacque is an exceptional leader who is both driven and compassionate. She is highly regarded in the sector and across our organisation. I have no doubt that she is the right person to lead Your Housing Group into this next phase.”

Ms Allen said: “Your Housing Group is an exceptional organisation with an amazing team who are passionate about striving to deliver the very best for our customers. I am looking forward to building on some of the great work our team has already delivered and ensure we are best placed to meet the many economic challenges we face as a sector and beyond, to ensure customers’ needs remain our priority.”

Jacque Allen has worked within the social housing sector for more than 29 years. She joined YHG as chief operating ifficer in April 2020 at the height of lockdown, immediately taking the lead in ensuring her colleagues were supported, and customers remained at the heart of everything, even during challenging times. One year later she was appointed as deputy CEO.

Throughout the challenging circumstances in which Jacque joined, under her guidance, the business has gone from strength to strength.


Irlam-based ‘alt-net’ Freedom Fibre has announced the appointment of Lee Sutch to head up the business channel as work starts to onboard the first business customers to benefit from a B2B-enabled FTTP network.

With extensive experience in telecoms, including previous roles at Verastar and TalkTalk Business, Lee will lead the B2B strategy for sales, partners, and the onboarding of business customers – an important and integral part of the Freedom Fibre long term business plan – as well as working to support Freedom Fibre’s continued growth.

In May, Freedom Fibre secured a £100m commitment of scale-up funding, just over a year since its formation, as the first step in its roll-out to more than two million premises in the North West.

The company is already offering ultra-fast broadband to almost 20,000 homes across parts of Cheshire and Greater Manchester with minimal disruption to residents through its extensive use of BT ducts and poles.

Lee Sutch

It is is on track to reach 70,000 premises by the end of this year and expects to boost customer penetration through its wholesale agreement with TalkTalk to use its fibre optic connections.

Founder and CEO, Neil McArthur, said: “Lee is joining just at the right time. B2B is an important part of strategy to build a converged consumer and B2B enabled FTTP network. Having agreed a funding package totalling £100m in June this year, Freedom Fibre has now been able to launch the planned B2B programme alongside the scale up plans for consumer fibre products.

“Lee has extensive experience in the B2B channel and is well known to many colleagues at Freedom Fibre, having been part of the B2B team way back in our Opal Telecoms days. We welcome Lee and look forward to launching the B2B products with our wholesale partners in the near future.”

Lee Sutch said: “I’m really excited to be joining the team at Freedom Fibre and at such a crucial time. Having worked with most of the team in the early days at Opal Telecom, I know the passion, tenacity, and winning attitude that the business already has bult into its very core. As soon as you overlay the creative build and vision from Neil McArthur, along with the recent investment, I knew that this was going to be a disruptive business at the forefront of fibre delivery that I just needed to be part of.”


Keswick’s ground-breaking neuro-rehabilitation centre, Reconnections, has further strengthened its clinical team with the appointment of senior occupational therapist, Elaine Roberts.

Elaine provides detailed assessment and therapy interventions, working closely with the centre’s rehabilitation coaches and centre support workers to support participants in defining and integrating their goals into everyday life.

Elaine Roberts

She has extensive experience in the sector, having previously worked for 20 years as a specialist occupational therapist with children and young people at a leading children’s hospital on the ABI team.

Elaine said: “Reconnections represents all that I value as an occupational therapist. Participation is central to occupational therapy and here at Reconnections we have an array of centre-based, community and, of course, outdoor experiences through which we can provide person-centred rehabilitation. It is particularly great to hear how participants continue with their progress once back in their community.

“Joining Reconnections allows me to bring all I have learnt from my clinical experience and the families I worked with over the years to our unique team. The setting is therapeutic in itself . I have relocated from a large city, I feel every welcome and I am loving life in Cumbria.”

Clare Appleton, head of service at Reconnections, welcomed Elaine, saying: “ As a vastly experienced occupational therapist with a track record of success, she is ideally suited to our team.”


Eureka! has officially welcomed Jane Rice-Bowen as the new chair of its board of trustees.

Halifax-based Eureka! is currently undertaking an £11.4m project in Wirral to create a second attraction, Eureka! Science + Discovery, a fully co-created science and discovery centre located on the site adjacent to Seacombe Ferry Terminal, set to open this autumn.

Jane is a Yorkshire-based management consultant who provides bespoke consultancy services to arts and heritage organisations as well as the wider charity sector. She specialises in visioning, strategic planning, fundraising and good governance.

Jane believes in the transformative power of creativity and has spent her working life creating opportunities for people of all ages to play. From producing pantomimes to promoting rock concerts, Jane worked across art forms before joining The National Centre for Circus Arts in London where she was the CEO for more than a decade.

Jane Rice-Bowen

Jane joined the Eureka! board of trustees in June 2017, and has now been appointed chair taking over from Alison Hope, a longstanding Trustee of 13 years who was acting as interim chair.

Leigh-Anne Stradeski, Eureka! chief executive, said: “Jane brings with her an abundance of knowledge and experience. Her leadership and insight as an active, engaged board member have already proved invaluable to Eureka! as we navigated the pandemic, so I’m thrilled to welcome Jane Rice-Bowen as chair of the Eureka! board.”

Jane said: “My first encounter with Eureka! was as a mum with my then four-year-old twins and I was blown away by the sheer quality of the experience. At Eureka!, children are at the heart of everything we do and the whole place has been designed to enable discovery, learning and play. But it also sparks the wonder and joy that you can see on our visitors’ faces. Now in our 30th year we are delighted to be spreading that joy even further as we get ready to open our second visitor attraction on The Wirral. I’ve had the privilege of seeing all of the plans unfold and I know that the people of Merseyside are in for a treat when Eureka! Science + Discovery opens its doors later this year.”


With expansion very much in the pipeline for the next 12 months, Altrincham-based Secondhand Styling UK has recently made several strategic appointments.

Leah Megson-Gray has been appointed as social media and content manager. With a new website due to launch on September 5, Leah will be responsible for all copywriting, as well as creating a content schedule, regularly populating the site.

The new website will be an e-commerce platform allowing conscious consumers the opportunity to shop, swap and style secondhand. The main shopping function will give users access to a select curation of secondhand pieces that they can purchase. The swapping section encourages users to upload images of their own goods in exchange for a style credit that can then be used towards the secondhand styling online store.

Lucy Norris, left, and Leah Megson-Gray

Leah said: “It’s such an exciting time for Secondhand Styling UK so to be part of the team is amazing. The new website is going to be fantastic, and I’ve made an immediate start on the copywriting and content ideas. It will be a busy website when it launches so lots of content will be required continually and I’m looking forward to seeing it evolve and grow.”

Company founder, Lucy Norris said: “I have been managing every element of the business since it started almost 12 months ago and whilst I have loved being so involved, I am looking forward to the support Leah, particularly with the launch of the new website, which is a real turning point.”

After spending more than 15 years in the US in entertainment working as a TV presenter for fashion and beauty brands, self-styling her outfits and always opting for secondhand, Lucy moved into fashion journalism and has covered New York, Milan, Paris and London Fashion Weeks. She returned to the UK to turn her passion into a project, establishing Secondhand Styling UK.


Jenna Atherton has joined the animation and motion graphics team at video production company Bigtank as a production assistant.

Gemma’s appointment brings the team to nine at the Ramsbottom-based business, which has been providing creative video solutions to companies and organisations nationwide since 2005, with clients including Mercedes-Benz Trucks, the Department for International Trade, GA Petfood Partners, the NHS and Manchester Metropolitan University.

Jenna Atherton

Jenna said: “Whilst we are all exposed to video content these days, much of it is missable. But as a designer, I’ve always been fascinated by the content that really does grab your attention and makes you stop and think.

“Bigtank has many years of experience in creating stand alone animated visual projects as well as combining professionally filmed footage with graphic overlays and moving text to tell stories and explain concepts in a bold, impactful way.

“The need for video content that is commercially effective is booming now and set to grow even further, so it’s really exciting to be joining a company like Bigtank and I’m looking forward to working with their clients both locally and across the UK.”