Chair: Cym D’Souza
Cym D’Souza is a qualified Chartered Accountant and is the Chief Executive of Arawak Walton Housing Association, an organisation specialising in meeting the needs of Black and minority ethnic (BME) communities. They currently have c 1,000 homes in management and are based in Manchester. They are one of the strategic partners in delivering housing and regeneration in Manchester, Trafford and Stockport. Cym is a member of their Strategic Housing Partnerships.
She is a member of the advisory group for the North West Housing Forum and the Greater Manchester Providers (Chief Executives) Forum. She is currently a member of the advisory group for the JRF Trust research into “Housing and Poverty”.
Until 2013 she was a Board member of Housing Diversity Network, an organisation specialising in facilitating equality and diversity good practice.
BMEN Vice Chair: John Delahunty
John became Chief Executive of Innisfree Housing Association in 2012. He was Chair of g320, the grouping of smaller London Housing associations, for 3 years until 2016 and is also a member of the National Housing Federation Smaller Housing Associations Group. Innisfree identifies itself as an Irish organisation and works in partnership with a number of London Irish advice, welfare and cultural organisations. An active member of BME National, Innisfree is also collaborating with other London BME housing organisations to achieve cost efficiencies and extend our service offer to tenants. Set up to meet the housing needs of the Irish migrant community, Innisfree see a continued role in advocating for migrant communities.
Secretary/Treasurer: Ali Akbor
Ali was appointed Chief Executive of Unity Housing Association in January 1999. Before joining Unity he was with the City of Salford as Head of Finance for the Community and Social Services Directorate. He has extensive organisational and financial experience, and has worked in the housing sector for many years and is a Board Member for two other Housing Associations. He is also a member of the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA).
Regional Representative: Llewellyn Graham
Llewellyn is the chief executive of Nehemiah UCHA, formed in 2007 following the merger of Nehemiah Housing Association – which he established as founding chief executive in 1989 – and United Churches Housing Association.
A former board member of Sanctuary and Trident housing associations, he was ordained as a minister and became senior pastor with the Jubilee Christian Centre in Wolverhampton in 1998. Nine years later, Llewellyn was ordained a bishop in the Church of God of Prophecy.
He has assisted in the establishment of RAFFA International Development Agency, which supports charitable intervention in Africa, the Caribbean and other developing countries, and became its first interim executive director in 2005. He now serves on the board of trustees as vice chairman.
In 2010 Llewellyn was awarded for outstanding personal achievement by the Council of Black Led Churches (CBLC). Llewellyn is married to Susan and they have four children: Karise, Monique, Nicole and Llewellyn (LJ).
Regional Representative: Richard Renwick
Richard was born in Grenada, West Indies, and has been living in the UK since the early 1970s. Since 1994 he has been chief executive of Tuntum Housing Association.
After leaving Leeds University in 1978 with a degree in Economics and Politics, Richard spent four years training as a chartered accountant with a national firm in London.
Richard has held a number of positions within the voluntary housing sector, including chair of the Federation of Black Housing Organisations (FBHO), chair of the Nottinghamshire Social Housing Forum and chair of Labo Housing Association. He was also a founder member of Ujima HA and PATH National. For the last 11 years Richard has been chair of the Nottingham Carnival’s organising committee an annual event which attracts over 50,000 spectators.
In 2005, Richard was awarded the MBE for his services to social housing and the Caribbean community in the east Midlands. At present, he is an elected member of the regional executive committee of the National Housing Federation.