We Are Aspire Text
three circles

we build / we train / we support : we are aspire

2017 Winner : The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise : Promoting Opportunity
Read the full story

Down Arrow

About Us

We are three businesses: Aspire Housing, PM Training and the Realise charity. Together, we blend commercial expertise with social purpose and revitalise communities by providing homes, training, employment and support.

Created in July 2000, Aspire Housing, the parent company, is a leading housing provider, place shaper and property developer in North Staffordshire and South and East Cheshire, with over 8,500 homes and a significant number in the development pipeline. We are a financially strong business with a social purpose. Our profits are reinvested in new homes, in revitalising communities and in a comprehensive range of innovative support services designed to transform lives.

In 2008, PM Training joined the business as a leading training provider and best practice social enterprise. Since 1982, PM Training has supported more than 25,000 individuals and more than 1,200 partner organisations and remains the largest provider of apprenticeships for young people in Staffordshire.

In 2010, Realise, the Aspire charity was created. With gift aid from PM Training, donations from local people and business, Realise provides essential support to help people in Staffordshire to progress in their education and gain employment.

For more information about each of our businesses, follow the website links below.

Down Arrow

Aspire Housing is a leading housing provider, place shaper and property developer. We are a financially strong business. Profits are reinvested in new homes, in revitalising communities and in a comprehensive range of innovative support services, designed to transform lives.

PM Training is a leading training provider and social enterprise. We are experts in preparing young people for work, supporting adults into employment, creating practical apprenticeships, helping organisations to upskill their workforces and enabling local areas to thrive.

Our Homeworks and Artworks activity provide learners with unrivalled hands-on work experience and deliver services for other organisations.

PM Training is the largest provider of apprenticeships for young people in Staffordshire.

The Realise charity is the Aspire Charity. With gift aid from PM Training and donations from local people and business, our charity provides valuable support to help young people to progress in their personal development, education and gain employment.

We help people to overcome barriers to skills, employment and health, and provide targeted support for disadvantaged local communities.

Our Executive team and board members

The executive team is led by Sinéad Butters MBE, Group Chief Executive, who is supported by four executive directors.

Each business has a board who are responsible for delivering the vision of ‘Building Better Futures’. Working together as a team, each board makes decisions on a wide range of issues that contribute to the delivery of this vision.

Sinéad Butters MBE, Group Chief Executive

Sinéad has been Chief Executive of Staffordshire-based Aspire Housing since 2006. Under her leadership the business has grown and broadened its services via the acquisition of Staffordshire’s largest apprenticeship provider, PM Training.

With a strong combination of new build housing, regeneration, training and employment services, Aspire Housing aims to maximise its impact in local communities and improve people’s life chances.
Sinéad grew up in Staffordshire, studied at Keele University and is one of its founding “fellows” in recognition of her achievements and Aspire’s support for North Staffordshire communities.

In October 2015 Sinéad become Chair of PlaceShapers, the national network of over 100 community-based housing associations, with a collective goal to achieve real and lasting improvements in the communities they serve.
In the 2016 New Year Honours list, Sinéad was awarded an MBE for her services to housing. It recognises her work in the sector, raising the profile of housing issues and passionately improving lives and communities in Staffordshire.

Will Nixon,  Managing Director of PM Training and Deputy Group Chief Executive

Will joined Aspire in 2007 and he has more than 25 years’ experience in the housing, regeneration and social enterprise sectors. He had previously held senior positions in local government and with regeneration agencies. Will leads the Asset Management and development services. He is also Managing Director of PM Training. Last, but by no means least, he is chief executive of the Aspire charity, the Realise Charity.

Wayne Hughes, Managing Director of Aspire Housing

Wayne’s career in social housing spans 39 years. He secured his first director post at the age of 32 and has since held senior posts in a number of companies within the Housing sector. Prior to joining Aspire he spent 9 years as an executive director with a large national housing consultancy.

He has represented the housing sector on a number of Government and trade body working groups and has authored numerous briefings and articles on housing related matters.

Tracey Johnson, Executive Director of Corporate Services

Tracey joined Aspire in September 2014 and is an experienced professional at board, executive and senior leadership level in housing, private sector financial institutions, local authority and central government.

Tracey has a blended set of experience and skills in organisational strategy, growth and transformation together with people and organisational development. Tracey leads on the strategic development and delivery of human resources, organisational development, IT, health and safety and marketing and communications. She continues to drive the organisational development on digital and ways of working.

John Lindsay, Executive Director of Finance

John has been Executive Director of Finance at Aspire since the stock transfer in 2000 and is responsible for Finance and Legal and Governance.

John studied French at Birmingham University and is an accountant by profession.  His primary objectives in his role are to ensure that the business is financially strong and that it has the resources to achieve its growth objectives.

John is responsible for ensuring that value for money is achieved and that all parts of the business are compliant with regulatory requirements.

Philippa Holland, Aspire Housing Chair

Philippa retired from the Senior Civil Service in 2009, having spent much of her career based in the West Midlands, where she had particular responsibilities for housing, regeneration, local government and wider public sector performance. She was awarded the OBE in 2006.From 2009-2014, Philippa was a Board Member and Deputy Chair of ART, a social enterprise based in Birmingham providing loans to small business. Philippa joined Aspire in 2011 to chair Aspire Housing, which in 2016 became the parent company within the group.

Kevin Richardson, Aspire Housing Vice-Chair

Kevin is a qualified HR professional and has leadership experience in the areas of education, health, social care and social work, most recently as the Faculty Dean of Business, Education and Professional Studies at the University of Gloucestershire. He has also chaired a school governing body in Staffordshire, created a local community partnership that took over and transformed the performance of a school and helped to create an academy school in Cheltenham.

Sinéad Butters MBE, Group Chief Executive

Sinéad has been Chief Executive of Staffordshire-based Aspire Housing since 2006. Under her leadership the Aspire Housing Group has grown and broadened its services via the acquisition of Staffordshire’s largest apprenticeship provider, PM Training. In October 2015 Sinéad become Chair of PlaceShapers, the national network of over 100 community-based housing associations, with a collective goal to achieve real and lasting improvements in the communities they serve. In the 2016 New Year Honours list, Sinéad was awarded an MBE for her services to housing.

Philip Thomas-Hands

Philip is an associate director of the surgical division at the University Hospital of North Staffordshire, where he is responsible for all specialties including five clinical directorates. In this role he also developed a new elderly care model with local health economy stakeholders, reducing the length of stay from 21 days to 12 days in a year.

Hamid Ghafoor, Audit and Risk Committee Chair

Hamid is a chartered accountant and has over 15 years’ experience of working both in the social housing sector and as an adviser to the sector where he is responsible for providing social housing services to over 70 clients. Hamid used to be a board member of New Charter Housing Group from 2001 to 2013 where he was the Vice Chair as well as being on their audit committee.

Sandra Hambleton

Sandra has been a Newcastle Borough Councillor representing the Bradwell Ward since 2003 and is also a County Councillor. She has chaired the Staffing Committee and Standards Committee and was formerly the Mayor of Newcastle-under-Lyme. Sandra also has commitments to a number of organisations including being a trustee at North Staffs Adventure Playground, Ambassador for Deaf Vibe, member of the Fire Authority and is heavily involved with the Bradwell Village Residents Association.

Helen Collins

Helen has served for six years as a non-executive trustee of the Chartered Institute of Housing and has undertaken a number of high profile roles and Chair to various working groups as well as the management board, National Council and latterly the new Governing Body. She has also served and chaired various industry working groups over the years. Helen is currently a director for Savills UK ltd and has also held senior roles at the Bromford Group and Midland Heart.

Nicola Winn, PM Training Chair

Nicola is the managing director of Creative Bridge based in Lutterworth. She has previously worked in senior roles at Leicester Housing and the CIH. She is a board member at The Marketing Group and previously sat on the boards of CIH and Foyer Federation. She is a member of the chartered institute of housing and the academy for Chief Executives.

Marina Barrett, Customer Board Member

Marina spent most of her working career in public sector, providing financial management of the externally funded neighbourhood renewal and economic development projects, delivered in partnership with private and voluntary sector organisations and Stoke on Trent City Council. Maria holds a postgraduate qualification of Master of Science in Financial Management (with merit) at Manchester Metropolitan University. Marina is an Associate of Chartered Management Institute.

Ian Dale 

Ian is a retired chartered accountant who has spent his entire career in the financial services industry, working in senior finance roles in both the Britannia Building Society and more recently the Cooperative Bank. He has extensive experience of leading finance departments through the changes experienced in the financial services industries, has been involved in a number of key acquisition and merger transactions and has served as a director on a number of subsidiary company boards for both organisations. Ian is also a Non Exec Director of the Earl Shilton Building Society and Groundwork West Midlands.

Nicola Winn, PM Training Chair

Nicola is the Managing Director of Creative Bridge based in Lutterworth. She has previously worked in senior roles at Leicester Housing and the CIH. She is a board member at The Marketing Group and previously sat on the boards of CIH and Foyer Federation. She is a member of the Chartered Institute of Housing and the Academy for Chief Executives.

Will Nixon, Managing Director PM Training

Will joined the Aspire Group in 2007 and he has more than 25 years’ experience in the housing, regeneration and social enterprise sectors. He had previously held senior positions in local government and with regeneration agencies. Will leads the Aspire Housing Group’s Asset Management and development and regeneration services. He is also Managing Director of PM Training, the Aspire Housing Group’s training and employment arm. Last, but by no means least, he is chief executive of Aspire’s regeneration charity, the Realise Foundation.

Kevin Richardson, Aspire Housing Vice-Chair

Kevin is a qualified HR professional and has leadership experience in the areas of education, health, social care and social work, most recently as the Faculty Dean of Business, Education and Professional Studies at the University of Gloucestershire. Kevin’s work in developing and improving of service provision, enhancing customer services and his dynamic transformational approach to leadership was recognised with the award of Professorial title in 2011. He has also chaired a school governing body in Staffordshire, created a local community partnership that took over and transformed the performance of a school and helped to create an academy school in Cheltenham

Paul Newell

Paul is a qualified accountant and a Partner at Clearwater International, a cross-border advisory firm specialising in corporate finance.  Paul has worked alongside directors and other stakeholders of growing companies for over 25 years advising on corporate strategy, value maximisation and fund-raising.  While Paul has worked with clients across sectors covering the whole of the UK economy, he also has specific experience advising companies within the training and apprenticeship market.

Maqsood Ahmad

Maqsood has 15 years of experience of developing and delivering policies and programmes on behalf of ministers, board members and chief executives. Currently Maqsood is the Cohort Director for Nye Bevan Programme and Strategic Senior Manager for Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Devolution Partnership (HSCP) Strategic Clinical Networks (SCNs). Maqsood is responsible for the Mental Health, Dementia, Diabetes and CVD SCNs including three cross cutting responsibilities: public engagement, advancing equalities and tackling health inequalities.

Barry Pitts (co-optee) 

Barry recently retired from a local housing association as the Director of Business Development and Director of Arch services. Barry has over 28 years of experience in housing and regeneration in North Staffs and supporting vulnerable people across the area. For his previous organisation he has been actively involved in developing and delivering strategies, along with the delivery of major housing developments and regeneration projects. Barry has also been involved in bringing other organisations into the group, and merging their operations with the parent. He has chaired a number of influential groups throughout his career including a school governing body. He is currently mentoring a small business and supporting its growth strategy.

Alice Belcher

Alice lives in Scotland although her ties remain with Staffordshire. She is currently a Professor of Law at the University of Dundee, having previously lectured locally first in Accounting then in Law. She was a non-executive director of NHS education for Scotland for 8 years to 2014. She was a member of the Cairn Housing Association board for two years. She is also a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales.

Sarah Tudor (co-optee) 

Born in Stoke-on-Trent and a graduate of Staffordshire University, Sarah has over 18 years’ experience in corporate learning and development and in higher education. In addition to her wealth of experience in employer engagement and work-based learning, Sarah is an expert in higher and degree apprenticeships. She works with the Department for Education, lobbying on degree apprenticeship policy. She is a guest editor and reviewer for UVAC’s Journal of HE, Skills and Work-based learning. Committed to lifelong educational development, Sarah is also Chair of Trustees of a 14-18 high school in the Staffordshire Moorlands and Staff representative on the University’s Board of Governors.

Christina Holdcroft, Realise charity Chair

Tina is a director at Holdcroft Heating and Gas Fitting as well as a managing partner at Dame Belle. She previously held a senior role at Welcome Break. Holdcroft Heating won the Training Excellence Award at the Sentinel Business Awards in March 2014.

Sinéad Butters, Chief Executive, Aspire Housing

Sinéad has been Chief Executive of Staffordshire-based Aspire Housing since 2006. Under her leadership the Aspire Housing Group has grown and broadened its services via the acquisition of Staffordshire’s largest apprenticeship provider, PM Training. In October 2015 Sinéad become Chair of PlaceShapers, the national network of over 100 community-based housing associations, with a collective goal to achieve real and lasting improvements in the communities they serve. In the 2016 New Year Honours list, Sinéad was awarded an MBE for her services to housing.

Will Nixon, Deputy Chief Executive, Aspire Housing

Will joined the Aspire Group in 2007 and he has more than 25 years’ experience in the housing, regeneration and social enterprise sectors. He had previously held senior positions in local government and with regeneration agencies. Will is the Managing Director of PM Training, the Aspire Housing Group’s training and employment arm. Will is also chief executive of Aspire’s regeneration charity, the Realise Foundation and serves externally on the Boards of the Chartered Institute of Housing, Social Enterprise West Midlands and Housemark.

Colonel Tim Sandiford OBE

Colonel Tim Sandiford served with the Staffordshire Regiment – 1 STAFFORDS – from 1985 and rose to become its commanding officer from 2005 – 2007. He has served in England, Canada, Germany, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Iraq and Northern Ireland and when not serving with 1 STAFFORDS has generally been in training appointments where he has been responsible for the personal and professional development of others. He was awarded the OBE on his regiment’s return from their tour in Iraq in 2007.

Philippa Holland, Aspire Housing Chair

Philippa retired from the Senior Civil Service in 2009, having spent much of her career based in the West Midlands, where she had particular responsibilities for housing, regeneration, local government and wider public sector performance. She was awarded the OBE in 2006.From 2009-2014, Philippa was a Board Member and Deputy Chair of ART, a social enterprise based in Birmingham providing loans to small business. Philippa joined Aspire in 2011 to chair Aspire Housing, which in 2016 became the parent company within the group.

Hamid Ghafoor, Audit and Risk Committee Chair

Hamid is a chartered accountant and has over 15 years’ experience of working both in the social housing sector and as an adviser to the sector where he is responsible for providing social housing services to over 70 clients. Hamid used to be a board member of New Charter Housing Group from 2001 to 2013 where he was the Vice Chair as well as being on their audit committee.

Kevin Richardson, Aspire Housing Vice-Chair

Kevin is a qualified HR professional and has leadership experience in the areas of education, health, social care and social work, most recently as the Faculty Dean of Business, Education and Professional Studies at the University of Gloucestershire. Kevin’s work in developing and improving of service provision, enhancing customer services and his dynamic transformational approach to leadership was recognised with the award of Professorial title in 2011. He has also chaired a school governing body in Staffordshire, created a local community partnership that took over and transformed the performance of a school and helped to create an academy school in Cheltenham.

Marina Barrett, Customer Board Member

Marina spent most of her working career in public sector, providing financial management of the externally funded neighbourhood renewal and economic development projects, delivered in partnership with private and voluntary sector organisations and Stoke on Trent City Council. She has achieved a postgraduate qualification of Master of Science in Financial Management (with merit) at Manchester Metropolitan University a few years ago. Marina is an Associate of Chartered Management Institute.

Alasdair Macarthur

Alasdair Macarthur

Alasdair worked for 30 years in IT in large, blue-chip utility companies.  His skills and experiences cover portfolios and programmes, customer support, and a wide variety of business change management assignments including major cultural change programmes, organisational design and review as well as process re-engineering initiatives. These involved working across offices in England, Germany and India. Since retiring Alasdair served for 4 years as a Trustee at Parents and Children Together (PACT) one of the leading adoption agencies in England where he chaired the Audit Committee and acted as interim Chair of that charity. Most recently he has worked on a number of ad-hoc consultancy assignments, providing business development support to some of the 26 Adoption Agencies across England & Wales, as well as ad-hoc coaching and support to the CEOs in these adoption agencies.

Martin Townsend

Martin Townsend

Martin has worked in banking and financial services for over 35 years, most recently in compliance and risk management. His previous experience includes product development, marketing, and project management. In addition to risk management work, Martin is a Tutor in the External Faculty of International Compliance Training Limited. Martin’s non-executive experience includes current roles as an Independent Member on the Audit Committee of the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art and as Chair of Derbyshire Dales Council for Voluntary Service. Previously Martin spent five years as an Independent Member on the Audit and Risk Committee of Guinness Northern Counties Housing Association. Martin completed an 18-month secondment to the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister as a Policy Adviser working on the Housing Market Renewal Programme. A Fellow of the Chartered Insurance Institute, Martin has also completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Marketing.

Philippa Holland, Aspire Housing Chair

Philippa retired from the Senior Civil Service in 2009, having spent much of her career based in the West Midlands, where she had particular responsibilities for housing, regeneration, local government and wider public sector performance. She was awarded the OBE in 2006.From 2009-2014, Philippa was a Board Member and Deputy Chair of ART, a social enterprise based in Birmingham providing loans to small business. Philippa joined Aspire in 2011 to chair Aspire Housing, which in 2016 became the parent company within the group.

Nicola Winn, PM Training Chair

Nicola is the managing director of Creative Bridge based in Lutterworth. She has previously worked in senior roles at Leicester Housing and the CIH. She is a board member at The Marketing Group and previously sat on the boards of CIH and Foyer Federation. She is a member of the chartered institute of housing and the academy for Chief Executives.

Philip Thomas-Hands

Philip is an associate director of the surgical division at the University Hospital of North Staffordshire, where he is responsible for all specialties including five clinical directorates. In this role he also developed a new elderly care model with local health economy stakeholders, reducing the length of stay from 21 days to 12 days in a year.

Contact us

We Are Aspire
Kingsley, The Brampton, Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire, ST5 0QW

Telephone 01782 635200