Freebrige office, Juniper House in King's Lynn
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Who we are

The Board leads and controls Freebridge. This includes setting the budget and overall strategy, developing the business plan and monitoring performance. The Board is made up of tenant, independent, council and executive representation.

Andy Walder

Andy Walder (Chair)

Andy retired from the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) in 2016 where he was responsible for all the CITB’s training colleges across the UK, training over 30,000 learners every year and working closely with construction companies, clients and developers. He set up training venues for the London Olympics, Crossrail, JCB and was instrumental in setting up the first Construction University Technical College with the University of Wolverhampton. Andy’s earlier experience was in asset management and running multiple site licensed retail outlets for major companies such as Allied Domecq and Whitbread.Andy is currently a Director of the Ad Meliora Academy Primary School Trust in King’s Lynn, a Governor at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Trust and a Honorary Doctor of Technology at the University of Wolverhampton. He is married to Karen, who was born in King's Lynn, and they have 2 daughters who have grown up in the area.

Simon Smith

Simon Smith (Vice Chair)

Simon has built up his knowledge of West Norfolk over 25 years and joined the Freebridge board in 2016. A career lawyer, he was an Equity Partner and CEO at 2 regional law firms. He is a Consultant and trainer to the legal profession, and a Post Graduate assessor serving the international market. He also holds a number of other roles including Chair of a County Constabulary/OPCC Audit Committee, Chair of a Home Office Audit and Risk Assurance Committee, ‘Independent Person’ to the Broads Authority, and Adjudicator to a Chartered Institute. Simon has strong Norfolk connections and is a Trustee of the county wide Citizens Advice service which supports over 20,000 clients each year.

Joanna Barrett

Joanna Barrett

Joanna has twenty years experience of working in senior housing roles within local authorities. She has managed housing advice and homelessness, strategic housing, aids and adaptations, home improvement agency and new affordable housing development services. Jo also has experience in housing management and worked until 2019 as a consultant supporting housing associations and local authorities to develop their strategic direction. She is a corporate member of the Chartered Institute of Housing and is currently working as a Director of Policy and Properties for another housing association. Jo lives in North Norfolk with her partner and three children.

Anita Jones

Anita Jones (Chief Executive)

Anita joined Freebridge in August 2020 from Havebury Housing in Bury St Edmunds, where she was Director of Operations and Deputy CEO since 2012.

Marcus Hopkins

Marcus Hopkins

Marcus lives with his wife and daughter in King’s Lynn. Although he was born in Bedford, he had always been a regular visitor to King’s Lynn – where he met is wife and eventually moved here in 1992. Marcus began his own small business in 2005 and continues to manage it today. He has been a Borough Councillor for a number of years, taking on the additional roles of Vice Chairman on the Audit Committee and Vice Chairman of Licensing and Appeals Board. He is also a member of the Licensing Committee.

Brian long

Brian Long

Brian was born near King's Lynn and has lived in the area all his life, now living in Marshland St. James. He was elected to the Borough Council of King's Lynn and West Norfolk in 2003 and Norfolk County Council in 2009. He was previously portfolio holder at the Borough Council for Housing and Communities and was deputy leader from 2007 until 2015. He is currently leader of the Borough Council. He has also had involvement with local drainage boards and the Norfolk Coast Partnership.

Ian Pinches

Ian Pinches

Ian is a local business owner and lives in Fincham. He is a Fellow of the Chartered Association of Certified Accountants and a Fellow of the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce. Before establishing his own company, Ian gained over 10 years senior and director level experience in the housing association sector and has also served on the board of a London based charity established to give residents a voice in local planning matters. He has many years experience as a school governor, parish councillor, parochial church councillor and local fundraiser. Ian has recently also been appointed to serve on the Joint Audit Committee of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Cambridgeshire.

Jas Rigg

Jas Rigg

Jas is a Freebridge tenant who was born, raised and still lives in King's Lynn. Her early work life was in the secretarial field but she has worked for Norfolk County Council for the past 20 years mainly in front line services but in varying roles. She was previously an active member of a local youth club, working along with Community Support Officers supporting young children mainly from South Lynn to be actively involved in their local community and encouraging them to explore their creative nature.

Marie Connell

Marie Connell

Marie was born and raised in Kings Lynn. She grew up on Fairstead Estate and went to Springwood High School. Her first job after leaving school was with a local firm of solicitors. After a few years working abroad and then in Nottingham within the Public Sector Marie settled into a civilian career within the Police Service in London. She ended her time there in a senior management position leading the Shared Services Department. Marie decided it was time to return to the place she always called home in 2010 and she now works for Volunteering Matters on projects that support vulnerable people.

Pauline Pratt

Pauleen Pratt

Pauleen was born in Dersingham, went to school in Hunstanton and to College in Kings Lynn. While she has moved around for work her ‘home’ has always been West Norfolk. Now living in South Wootton with her partner. Pauleen is a Registered Nurse with over 30 years experience of the National Health Service. Pauleen was Director of Nursing at United Lincolnshire Hospitals and led the turnaround of quality improvement programme to gain removal from special measures. Pauleen has many skills from her time in the NHS that will be useful to Freebridge Board including quality improvement, user experience and change management. Pauleen believes that good housing contributes to health and wellbeing hence her reason for joining the Board. Now working as an Independent Nurse Consultant part time, Pauleen is excited to offer her skills to the Freebridge Board and contribute to its strategic ambitions.

Richard Spilsbury

Richard Spilsbury (Chair of the Audit and Risk Committee)

After qualifying as a Chartered Accountant in 1980, Richard gained valuable experience with companies in the construction, retail and manufacturing sectors before joining Birmingham City University (BCU) where he was Director of Finance until his retirement in 2016. At BCU he had overall responsibility for financial governance and compliance, property development appraisal, treasury management and financial monitoring. He has previously served as a board member of Wrekin Housing Trust and as a non-executive board member at Millennium Point Trust, a charitable organisation based in Birmingham. Richard and his wife live in Beetley and they have 3 grown up children.