A wealth of experience in NHS management is now benefiting charitable housing association BCHA with the appointment of Mike Wood as Chair of the Board.
Mike has been a manager at every level of the NHS nationally and regionally including 12 years as a chief executive.
Having moved to the town centre three years ago, he wanted a new challenge and was appointed to his voluntary Chair role.
Mike said: “I feel there needs to more a link between health and housing – it feels like an untapped opportunity. In London I worked with a Chair of a housing association and I could see there was a good fit between housing and the NHS.”
Along with the rest of the BCHA board, Mike’s role as chair is an unpaid one.
He said: “I felt as if I had something to offer – I’ve lived a long time, I have a lot of experience of general management and helping to develop a team. And I like to be stretched, and housing is a sector I wasn’t familiar with so it’s a personal challenge.
“We have a responsibility to balance books and provide good basic services to our customers – but we must also add value and diversify. Innovation and seeking new opportunities helps us add value –and also to fill in the gaps left by other services.”
BCHA is a charity which has been helping homeless and vulnerable people for 50 years.
It has helped more than 10,000 people each year off the streets, out of abuse, over skills barriers, and on to independence.
Fifty years on from the formation of BCHA the need for its services just keeps growing.
Mike said: “We might have hoped that by now there would be solutions and people would not need our services. But the profile of homelessness is so high – it’s a problem which doesn’t go away so there are still big challenges.
“I like the diversity of BCHA – there are so many aspects to the organisation, from housing and training to the allotment. I love gardening so I’ll be making a beeline for the allotment around May.”
Mike’s own gardening will have to take a back seat as, having retired from the NHS last year, he was offered another NHS job which sees him working in Bath, Swindon and Wiltshire.
But he is now firmly settled in Bournemouth, living within walking distance of BCHA’s headquarters at the Lansdowne.
Mike said: “It’s great being so close – I can be here at short notice if I’m needed.
“As a board we have three roles: assurance – making sure we do things in the right way; strategy – working out where we need to be in the future; and advocacy, which are about the personality of the organisation, promoting and celebrating what we do.”
“It’s all about getting the balance right.”