Freebridge housing appoints new chairman

(Left to right) Andy Walder, Tony Hall, Ray Johnson
(Left to right) Andy Walder, Tony Hall, Ray Johnson

West Norfolk’s main social housing provider has appointed a new chairman of its board after Ray Johnson stepped down after nine years.

Andy Walder was unveiled as the new chairman of Freebridge Community Housing on Tuesday.

He joined the Freebridge board after retiring from the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB), where he worked for 14 years and was responsible for their training colleges across the UK.

His earlier experience was in asset management and running multiple site licensed retail outlets for major UK companies such as Allied Domecq and Whitbread.

He is currently a director of the Ad Meliora Academy in Lynn and works with others such as Wolverhampton University to promote the benefits of vocational training to support academic learning.

Mr Walder said: “I am delighted, excited and proud to be the new chair of Freebridge Community Housing, an organisation that is doing great things here in West Norfolk.

“My board colleagues, the Freebridge team and I are passionate about supporting a better West Norfolk through the development of more and diverse homes, leading on initiatives that will help and support people and communities to be the best they can possibly be and delivering a high-performance housing service to our customers. We have an exciting future and I am looking forward to working with the team and partners to ensure we deliver our plans.”

Mr Johnson said: “It has been a privilege to be a board member and honour to be the chair. I witnessed considerable change over the nine years and leave Freebridge in good shape, and in the capable hands of an experienced board with a competent management team and enthusiastic staff.

“I hope Andy enjoys his time as chair as much as I did. I would like to thank all present and past board members, the chief executive and all employees for their assistance during my time on the board.”

Tony Hall, Freebridge chief executive, said: “We are delighted to announce that Andy is our new chairman. With his experience, knowledge and expertise he will be of great benefit to Freebridge in his new role, and we look forward to working with him and the rest of the board to continue developing homes and creating opportunities for people within West Norfolk.”

“I would also like to express my sincere thanks to Ray Johnson for the time and commitment he has given to Freebridge over the years, he will be much missed, and we wish him the very best in whatever challenge he decides to take on next.”