People: Fletchers Solicitors; Low Wood Bay; ANS; Place Capital Group; Livv Housing Group

Siobhan Thacker

Fletchers Solicitors has expanded its serious injury team with the appointment of Siobhan Thacker as partner.

Thacker joins from CFG Law and brings more than 15 years’ experience supporting clients and their families after a catastrophic injury, specialising in brain and spinal injuries, amputations, and complex multiple fractures.

Ranked in Chambers & Partners and named as a ‘Next Generation Lawyer’ in her field by the Legal 500, Thacker will join a growing team of 75 lawyers. She will work closely with director of serious injury, Caroline Morris, and Partners Julia Eyton, Gerard Horton and Charlotte Mackulin in representing clients who have suffered the most serious and life changing injuries.

Thacker said: “This was too great an opportunity to miss, joining such a talented team and a business that is truly on the crest of a wave at the moment with a huge focus on growth and investment in its people. Fletchers ticked all the boxes for me – forward thinking, dynamic and caring with a real passion for putting the needs of its client first.”

Caroline Morris said: “I knew from first meeting Siobhan that she would be a wonderful addition to the team both professionally and personally and I am thrilled she chose to join us. Our serious injury team continues to grow from strength to strength and attracting such high calibre talent like Siobhan is testament to our reputation and market standing.”


Matt Jones

A hospitality professional from Ambleside has landed his first role as a head chef, having started his career as a kitchen assistant just five years ago.

Matt Jones, 31, is the new chef in charge of the kitchen team at Blue Smoke at Low Wood Bay in Windermere. He joined English Lakes Hotels Resorts & Venues in 2018 and rapidly worked his way up the catering team in a variety of different roles including chef de partie and junior sous chef.

Before joining the hotel group, Matt had worked in security and hospitality before deciding that it was the latter in which he wanted to forge a career.

With a combination of in-house training and mentoring from senior chefs and managers at the hotel group, Matt took on greater responsibilities and worked his way up the kitchen hierarchy.

He said: “Blue Smoke is a great place to work, especially as I have a real taste for the type of barbecue and wood smoked steak and meat dishes we serve here. It suits me right down to the ground.”

Mark Needham, from English Lakes Hotels Resorts & Venues, said: “It’s been great to follow Matt’s progress since he joined the food and beverage team at Low Wood Bay five years ago. He’s always been willing to take on new challenges and be proactive within the team and that approach naturally lends itself to leadership roles.”


Janet Robb

Digital transformation company, ANS, has appointed Janet Robb as its new director of customer enablement to support its customers through their digital transformation journeys.

At the Manchester-based technology company, Janet will be responsible for ensuring that customers have in place the right adoption metrics, vision, and strategy. She will work closely with customers to help them thrive and rapidly overcome challenges within digital transformation projects.

Janet’s appointment is part of ANS’s ongoing mission to help organisations achieve their ambitions by giving access to the best possible technology and resources. Janet, a leading figure in digital transformation, Power Platform in particular, and a keynote speaker, joins from Microsoft where she was a senior member of the business applications customer success programme.

She was one of the founding members of the Power Platform community, where she ran a programme of conferences, training, and mentoring sessions. All ANS customers will be able to access Janet’s expertise for guidance, advice, and hands on support with digital transformation projects.

As director of customer enablement, Janet will also support ANS’s senior leadership team with its wider business strategy and help to inform the best approach for customers looking to adopt Microsoft Power Platform, a set of low-code tools for building apps, workflows, AI bots, and data analytics.

Janet joins ANS at a time of rapid growth, following its recent launch of its new tech hub ‘Fusion’ in Manchester. The new campus, representing a significant multimillion-pound investment in space and infrastructure, is set to serve as a vibrant hub for collaborative working spaces, providing its employees, customers, local businesses, and communities access to innovate.

Richard Thompson, CEO of ANS, said: “Janet’s addition to our team at ANS will really help our customers accelerate their growth plans, while following best practice and governance. Janet’s extensive experience will ensure that we continue to create new, innovative ways of working with our customers.”

Janet Robb said: “I believe everyone deserves the opportunity to gain experience, thrive and be included with equality in a safe tech community. I’m passionate about helping people in tech projects on their individual change journeys.”


Gerry Hughes

Senior real estate and urban regeneration expert, Gerry Hughes, has joined the board of Place Capital Group (PCG).

Hughes is a former CEO of GVA and European chief of Avison Young and has been acting independently as a regeneration and development consultant through his own business over the past 12 months.

As a non-executive director, he will provide strategic advice and support the group’s growth in London and the South East, building on its growing success across the North.

PCG is a housing and regeneration development and development management business formed in 2020. The group is currently delivering more than £250m of housing estate regeneration projects across the North of England, including in Blackburn, Halifax and Lancaster, and is now rapidly expanding its market offer into London.

The group posted £4.5m of turnover from development management fees in 2022, its first full year of trading. It has a headcount of 42 at its offices in Manchester, Liverpool and London. Its founder, David Smith-Milne, will be leading the group’s expansion into London and the South East with the support from Gerry Hughes.

Hughes is a hugely experienced real estate professional with more than 35 years’ experience across the UK, Ireland, Continental Europe and North America. He holds an Honorary Professorship at Queen’s University Belfast.

He said: “I have watched the rapid progress made by David Smith-Milne and the team at Place Capital closely since set up, and have been impressed by both the passion of the business to directly address housing needs – especially for more and better social and affordable housing, but also the laser focus on working with and empowering local communities.”

CEO, David Smith-Milne, said: “Gerry’s experience, knowledge and contacts over a long career in urban regeneration make him a hugely valuable addition to the Place Capital Group board.”


New apprentice cohort at Livv Housing Group

As one of the largest apprenticeship providers in the borough, Knowsley-based housing association, Livv Housing Group, has welcomed a further 12 apprentices to the business.

Apprentices have been recruited in a range of office and trade-based roles including development, assets, HR and learning and development, marketing and communications, customer insight, plumbing, joinery, electrician, painting and decorating and responsive repairs.

Three of the apprentices secured their apprenticeships after completing work experience with the business earlier this year.

Ring-fenced for 16-24-year-olds living in Knowsley, Livv’s apprenticeship programme offers young people the opportunity to gain practical experience while studying towards a recognised qualification. Several of them will be working towards the Level 2 Certificate in Housing Practice from the Chartered Institute of Housing.

Sharon Marsh, executive director of resources at Livv Housing Group, said: “We’re thrilled to welcome our latest cohort of apprentices. As a business that’s committed to five per cent of our workforce being made up of apprentices from the borough, we truly believe in investing in young local people and creating opportunities that will help them learn, develop and grow.”