The Board

Board Members have ultimate responsibility for directing the activities of the Association, ensuring it is well run and delivering the objectives for which it has been set up.

In March 2016 West Herts Homes adopted the National Housing Federation’s Model Rules 2015, and in parallel, adopted the National Housing Federation’s Code Of Governance.  The full Board usually meets six times each year, with an Annual General Meeting and an annual Strategy Day being held in addition the regular cycle of Board meetings.

The Board currently has an Audit Committee which meets to discuss specific matters of business. 

At the beginning of 2017, the Board agreed that Board members should only serve for a maximum of two terms of three years (six years in total ) with the scope for members to serve an additional year if the Board agreed this was in the best interests of the Association.

The Board is collectively committed to the highest standards of governance, aiming for openness and accountability in all its business.  Board vacancies are advertised from time to time, and are always openly advertised. Board members are appraised on an annual basis, and on alternate years, this process is facilitated by an independent external adviser.

Deborah  Fenton(Chair)

Deborah joined the Board in 2020, and has over 25 years’ experience of working in Housing, leading on the delivery of frontline services.  Deborah has recently expanded her portfolio to include Council House Building and Asset Management in addition to Housing Management, Homeownership and Estate Services.   She is passionate about providing excellent customer service which is shaped by the customer. 


Deborah is a Fellow member of the institute of Leadership and a Chartered Member of CIH.

Georgina Chapman

Georgina is a professional in communications, engagement and consultation and has worked within the planning, property and development sector for the past 15 years. Georgina has been responsible for delivering communications strategies on a range of different development projects across the country and as a member of the PRCA and the Consultation Institute is always looking for new ways to engage with the local communities. Georgina has a strong interest in housing and believes that everyone should be able to have access to a safe and secure home.

Lakshmi Raghavachari(Vice Chair)

Lakshmi joined the Board in 2012. Lakshmi has consideral professional expertise in the HR field and currently works as a Senior HR Business Partner for a local authority. She is a Chartered member of the CIPD and a member of the Herts Branch.

Lakshmi is a member of West Herts Homes Audit Committee.

Gemma Goacher

Gemma is an experienced housing professional, specialising in intensive housing management, homelessness services and supported housing. Gemma is a Regional Head at St Mungo’s and a member of the Chartered Institute of Housing’s Eastern Group. Gemma started her housing career at Dacorum Borough Council and is excited to continue to contribute to the local community through West Herts Homes.

Eugene McLaughlin

Originally from Derry, Eugene is a retired management consultant. He began his career as a community worker working with unemployed teenagers. Latterly, Eugene specialised in procurement and commercial activity. Eugene has worked across a wide range of activities at senior executive level including in the community sector, education, housing, social care, economic development and finance.  Eugene has introduced organisational change and has achieved buy-in across complex customer facing services mainly in inner London. Eugene’s professional and life experiences have led him to understand the importance of quality, decent housing and the role of a housing association like  West Herts Homes can make to improving peoples’ life chances. Eugene has a degree in economics, a MBA,  and a MA in Irish history.

Gbola Adeleke 

Gbola is a professional Executive Director with wide ranging experience in the Civil Service, Computer Industry, Automotive Sector, Mergers and Acquisition, Property Management and Overseas Trade Mission in more than 10 different Countries. Gbola has been a Councillor at Dacorum Borough Council since 2003, serving as The Mayor of the Borough 2016. As a Councillor Gbola has sat on various Committees including Housing, Finance, Licensing, Health, Planning, and Appeals. Gbola is looking forward to being part of West Herts Homes as it enters an exciting period in its development.


Paul EastwoodChief Executive and Company Secretary

Paul joined West Herts Homes in November 2015 as Interim Chief Executive and has been the permanent Chief Executive since April 2017. Paul brings extensive experience of the housing sector to the role, having held the role of CEO or interim CEO with 4 housing associations and having carried out several successful assignments as a freelance consultant. During his career, Paul has also been a board member with 5 housing associations, a commercial maintenance company, and several voluntary sector bodies. He has been a speaker at professional conferences in the UK and Europe on many occasions over the past 20 years. Paul is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Housing, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, a Member of the Institute of Directors, an alumni member of Ashridge Business School and also holds a BA and MBA from the University of Liverpool. 

Mary PedlowHonorary President

Mary joined the Board in 2016, and after serving as Vice Chair was elected Chair of the Board in March 2017. Previously, Mary had served as Vice Chair of the Board with a large regional housing association for 8 years. Mary brings wide expertise of housing associations, local government, and the health care sector, having held senior positions significant budgetary responsibilities with 3 local authorities, having Chaired an NHS Trust, and having served on national representative bodies for local government and the NHS. Mary is keen for West Herts Homes to offer an excellent service to all its customers, and build effective partnerships at all levels across Hertfordshire.