Sir John A. Mactaggart Bt – Honorary President

Sir John A Mactaggart_BtSir John has worked in the commercial and residential property development and management business – London, Glasgow and New York – for 40 years. He chairs the Mactaggart Family Office and is actively involved with a number of public and private charities.

A former trustee and founding member of Commonweal, Sir John has been actively involved with the charity for 14 years, providing invaluable support, advice, and strategic insight on property issues.

Our Trustees

Rt. Hon Fiona Mactaggart MP – Chair


Rt. Hon Fiona Mactaggart has been Member of Parliament for Slough since 1997 and from 2003 to 2006 was parliamentary undersecretary at the Home Office. She has been a trustee of many charities in the field of social welfare and the arts. She is presently a member of Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee.

Before she was elected she was public relations officer for the National Council for Voluntary organisations, director of the joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants, a primary teacher and a university lecturer. She was member of Wandsworth Council, and leader of its Labour Group. She helped to raise funds for the purpose built Foyer providing housing for young people in Slough.

Jane Slowey C.B.E

Jane_Slowey_CBEJane brings knowledge and expertise from both the voluntary sector and local government. As Chief Executive of the Foyer Federation, Jane is interested in developing new approaches that support young people for whom the transition to adulthood is particularly challenging.

She ran Birmingham Voluntary Service Council for six years and as an an elected member of Birmingham City Council where she focused on Housing, Learning and Economic Development and Chaired the Community Affairs Committee.

Laurence Newman

Laurence Newman

Laurence Newman spent 20 years at the London office of international accountants and consultants KPMG, where he was the partner leading KPMG’s work in leisure and tourism. Between 2003 and 2011 he ran Big Picture Consulting, a specialised consulting and project management practice.

Currently, Laurence is the Chairman at Epsom & St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust, a large acute hospital trust running two general hospitals and a children’s hospital. He is also currently the Chairman of Grove End Housing Ltd, responsible for about 400 apartments in St John’s Wood, London.

Laurence was a Trustee of Comic Relief between 1997 and 2010, and is currently a member of their Investment Committee. He was a Trustee of the Waterways Trust between 2004 and 2012, until it merged into the new Canal and River Trust, where he is now a member of the national Council.

Gary Medazoumian FCA

Gary qualified as a chartered accountant in 1987 and has over 30 years professional experience in all aspects of auditing, finance, tax and treasury for the not for profit and the wider public sectors.

Additionally, his various Board positions mean that Gary has significant knowledge and exposure to the typical challenges faced by commercial organisations.

A founder trustee and honorary treasurer, Gary is responsible for the charity’s compliance and systems and works on evaluating and structuring the terms and conditions that make Commonweal projects fulfill their role model objectives. He also works on the finance and systems of individual operating and social investment projects.

Steve Douglas

steve_douglasSteve is a Partner at Altair – a consultancy specialising in providing leading edge strategic advice and support to the housing, regeneration and voluntary sectors.

Prior to this he was Chief Executive of the Housing Corporation, with responsibility for the investment and regulation of England’s two thousand housing associations.

Steve has had a long career in affordable housing, including heading two housing associations.He has been a board member on a number of Housing Association boards and is Vice Chair of AmicusHorizon Housing Group.

He is also a Trustee of RichMix- the east end of London culture and arts organisation; and has been on the Advisory Board of the Community Channel – the digital third sector television channel. He was also a commissioner on government’s Commission on Cohesion and Integration in 2007. He has a degree in Politics, Philosophy and Economics from Oxford University.

Russ Edwards

Russ Edwards is a qualified architect with over 15 years’ experience in award winning architectural practice, latterly specialising in housing. Russ has been involved with projects including Battersea Power Station Regeneration (Phase 1), East Village (formerly the Athletes’ Village for the 2012 Olympics), and the RIBA Stirling Prize shortlisted Elephant & Castle Regeneration (Phase 1) project Trafalgar Place.

His current role at Pocket (an innovative affordable housing provider) as Design Director includes ultimate responsibility for the design quality of all Pocket homes. This also includes the selection, commissioning and briefing of the consultant team across all of Pocket’s projects, as well as hands-on input throughout the design development process. Russ is a regular speaker at academic and industry events on design issues in association with housing in general and compact housing specifically.

Professor Jonathan Portes

Professor Jonathan Portes is currently serving as Professor of Economics and Public Policy at King’s College London. Professor Portes’ expertise covers a wide range of economic policy issues, including migration, labour markets, skills, poverty and international development, and international economic and financial issues. He is a Senior Fellow of the UK in a Changing Europe, which promotes independent and objective research into the complex and changing relationship between the UK and the European Union. Previously, he directed the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) and served as Chief Economist at both the Cabinet Office and the Department of Work and Pensions.

Jack Mactaggart

jackJack recently finished his Politics and International Relations degree at the University of Manchester.

Throughout his degree he focused on social justice and increasingly the connection between housing and social justice. To this end, his dissertation was entitled “What is Wrong with Renting?” and explored the various impacts on the declining ability of UK residents to purchase their own home.

Jack is now studying a Real Estate Masters at the University of Reading.


Our Executives

Ashley Horsey – Chief Executive

Ashley_HorseyAshley has more than 20 years’ experience in social housing, much of it spent tackling homelessness. He is the former head of the Government’s Bed & Breakfast Unit, where he reduced the use of B&B hotels as temporary accommodation for homeless families. He was Chief Executive of the Empty Homes Agency from 1998-2001.

Before joining Commonweal, Ashley was Commercial Director at Local Space, a new housing association in East London which delivered more than 1,100 additional social homes in just 3 years.


Amy Doyle – Project Development Manager  

Amy joined Commonweal Housing in 2012 and has over 10 years experience in the housing and not for profit sectors. Prior to Commonweal, Amy worked for Islington Council and Metropolitan Housing Trust amongst others.

In her current role, Amy is responsible for maintaining project relationships and researching future areas of interest for the Charity. As the project development lead for the Chrysalis scheme, she has a keen interest in tackling prostitution and helping vulnerable women.

In addition, Amy is a voluntary member of Stand Against Sexual Exploitation and helped to set up the network alongside Helen Easton, Senior Lecturer in Criminology at LSBU. Amy is also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

Yetty Ejere – Finance Coordinator

Yetty joined Commonweal Housing in January 2017, and has over 15 years’ experience in finance, working within the public and private sectors. Prior to Commonweal, Yetty worked as a Finance Manager at the British Accreditation Council and the Nazareth House. She has also held various positions with the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham.

Yetty holds graduate and postgraduate degrees in Economics, Banking & Finance.

Amongst other things, Yetty’s passion lies in helping the disadvantaged, the vulnerable, the less fortunate and tackling social injustice. She is involved in a range of voluntary activities, including her local parish church, where she is an Honorary Treasurer and a member of the Finance Committee.

Ben Martin – Policy and Communications Coordinator

Ben joined Commonweal in January 2017, having worked for half a decade in climate and renewable energy legislation, with a particular focus on policy advocacy for climate-safe energy access in emerging economies. During that time, Ben helped to draft amendments to the Tunisian Constitution making that country only the third in the world with an explicit constitutional commitment to action on climate change, and co-edited a major UN parliamentary toolkit on renewable energy.

A graduate of the Universities of Oxford and Chicago, Ben brings his passion for issues of injustice, equity, and social sustainability to his work at Commonweal.

Jasmine Tiwari – Project Support Officer

fergiesfotoJasmine has over fifteen years cross-sector experience gained in project management and office management.

Previous to Commonweal, Jasmine was involved in residential and commercial housing projects in the UK and Germany, was the Programme Co-ordinator at the Royal Society of Chemistry for a national chemistry teacher training programme ‘Chemistry for Non Specialists, a PA at the Office of National Statistics and held Marketing roles in banking.

Jasmine’s interests lie in social inequalities, social housing, property and project management. She is also a linguist and speaks fluent German and French.


Matthew Wale – Business Development Manager

image1 (3)

Mathew joined Commonweal in June 2016 to focus specifically on developing the Peer Landlord project. Mathew has significant experience in economics in the private sector before moving in to the third sector.