Board of Directors

Mike Clark (Chair)


Mike is Chairman of the board at FES (Future Energy Supply), a community energy company established in the NE of England providing gas and electricity to domestic customers.

Mike also works as Development Director at Dysart Developments and is responsible for identifying development opportunities, joint ventures and partnerships. Up until February 2016 Mike chaired the board at Thirteen Housing Group. Mike has also previously chaired the YHNE steering group.

Susan Johnson

Susan joined Durham university Council as a lay member on 1 August 2010 and is a member of the Nominations Comittee and the Audit Comittee, and Chairs St Aidan’s College Councill. She is a co-opted lat member of the Diversity and Equality Group. In January 2015 Susan was appointed as an Equality and Human Rights Commissioner. 

Susan has recently retired as Chief Executive at County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service. Her appointment in 2005 meant Susan was the first woman and non-uniformed chief executive to lead a Fire and Rescue Service in the United Kingdom, overseeing a budget of over £30 million and almost 700 employees.


Professor John Mawson 

johnProfessor John Mawson is Director of the Institute for Local Governance which is a North East research and knowledge transfer partnership between the region’s 5 Universities, 12 Unitary Councils and other key public bodies including ONE North East, the Strategic Health, Police and Fire Authorities.

He has a multidisciplinary professional and academic background having worked as a town planner for Strathclyde Regional Council and subsequently as Director of Economic Development at West Midlands County Council and Chief Executive of the West Midlands Enterprise Board, a local authority controlled venture capital institution.

David Jacksondavid

David has over 25 years of experience starting and growing businesses, a seasoned sales professional with an outstanding record in generating sales, opening up new markets and sectors, and building effective strategic partnerships beneficial to all parties.


Caroline Moore

Caroline Moore is People Director for Sage UK & Ireland.  Sage have almost 2,800 colleagues across UKI and 13,000 globally in 23 locations. Caroline has over 15 years Generalist HR experience across predominately Tech and Financial Services Sectors.

In her current role at Sage she is accountable for the development and delivery of the people strategy across the UK & Ireland.


James Armstrong

James Armstrong is an Associate in the Real Estate Team at Muckle. James has extensive experience advising variety of charitable bodies on all aspects of real estate law, including the disposal and acquisition of property and leasehold premises.

James is also a trustee/director of a substantial local arts festival charity which operates across the entire North East. It’s an experience that gives him a real insight into the challenges facing those working in the sector.

Paul Irwin

Paul is the Director of TryLife, an online interactive film series aimed at educating young people about life choices and the consequences of their actions.  If you remember the old choice based adventure books, you will love TryLife.  TryLife is created by young people for young people.  TryLife now has 6,000,000 fans on Facebook, they reach 188,000,000 people per week on that platform. Have 500,000,000 social media impressions per month and have taken the concept of youth work online directly to their target audience.

Paul has personally experienced homelessness in his youth.  His journey from centre user to youth worker to work within media and the BBC is his motivation when engaging with young people.

Cyd Smith (Treasurer)

Cyd is managing director of an accounting practice based in Low Fell which has just celebrated a 25 year anniversary. The practice deals with small businesses of all kinds including charities from start ups to larger organisations. But it’s not just about getting the numbers to add up, it is important to learn all about what makes clients tick which allows the practice to give relevant business advice.

Cyd is also chairperson of the Northern Regional Branch of the Institute of Financial Accountants and had the real honour in October last year of being awarded the Association of International Accountants ‘Accountant of the Year’.

Monica Burns (Advisor)


Monica has been the External Affairs Manager in the North East and Cumbria for the National Housing Federation for the last 10 years. This position involves promoting the work of Housing Associations both regionally and nationally and ensuring that emerging policy represents the issues in the North East.

Prior to this Monica worked as a Rural Housing Enabler working with local communities, Local Authorities and Government to ensure rural development to create sustainable communities. Monica was involved in establishing one of the first Community Development Trusts and led on their housing scheme.

Monica has also worked for a number of local authorities in senior management including Lewisham, Lambeth, Kirklees and Edinburgh. During this time Monica managed area offices delivering a wide range and housing management and development to various estates.




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