Our Leadership Team

Chas Walker: CEO

Chas joined YMCA in October 2009 as Deputy Chief Executive. Following the merger with Guildford his job changed to Executive Director of Operations. He was appointed to the CEO role in July 2015 following the retirement of David Standing. Chas has a background in supported housing working for Southdown Housing Association in a frontline role and then Hyde Housing in a management capacity before joining YMCA.

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Anne Cairns: Director of Communities and Property Services

Anne joined YMCA DLG at the beginning of 2016.  She has a background in housing having worked previously for both Housing Associations and Local Authorities, including managing homelessness and allocations services at Eastbourne Borough Council, and housing management and maintenance services as Operations Director at Rother Homes.  In addition to the housing side, she had many interesting and challenging management opportunities including establishing new services, carrying out mergers and developing joint working partnerships.  In her current role she is responsible for housing related services, property development, improving community integration.

Rachel Brett

Rachel Brett: Director of Children and Young People

Rachel joined YMCA in June 1999. She is a qualified social worker with extensive experience in both social work and youth and community work settings. She worked for YMCA Leicester before joining us. Rachel started as manager of our Youth Advice Centre and has had a number of senior management roles, she was appointed to her current role of Director of Communities in April 2015. She leads our Counselling and Therapeutic Services and specialist projects, and is our Designated Safeguarding Officer.

Angie Higgins

Angie Higgins: Head of Housing Management and Property Services

Angie joined YMCA in September 2002 as a volunteer going on to progress to her current role of Head of Housing Management and Property Services. She has a background in retail management as well as housing and has qualifications in Social Science. Angie leads our housing management teams and is responsible for property management including rent collection, void management and maintenance.  Angie has successfully completed the CIH Level 4 Certificate for the Housing Profession.

Nicola Rowe_edited-1Nicola Rowe: Head of Communities - Sussex (South)

Nicola joined YMCA in January 2003. With a background in psychology she has worked previously with families and children as part of Social Services teams in London. Within YMCA DLG Nicola has held a number of roles including managing the Safe and Sorted project in East Brighton. Her current role involves leading our supported housing teams across the various projects within Sussex.  Nicola has successfully completed  the CIH Level 4 Certificate for the Housing Profession.

El Clarke

Eleanor Clarke: Head of Quality, Compliance and Participation

El Clarke’s background is in counselling, and was an honorary counsellor before returning to our YMCA in 2001 as the YAC Drop-in Co-ordinator, in Hove.  She worked there for over 10 years, overseeing numerous specialist contracts  that delivered support and advice services to vulnerable young people aged 13-25.  Over the last few years her interests and passion for service user involvement has led her in to her role as Head of Quality, Compliance and Participation.  She leads the Policy Forum and Compliance Group as well as working with young people and Trustees setting up our first Young People’s Board at YMCA DLG.

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Fiona Hall: Head of HR and Communications.

Fiona has worked at YMCA since 2008.  She qualified in HR in 1998 and worked in education and schools prior to joining the YMCA.  Prior to that she trained as a counsellor with Relate and she has a qualification in executive coaching.  She says, "I enjoy working at the YMCA because it brings me into contact with so many committed people who care about transforming the lives of children and  young people."

Ann Longhurst_edited-1Ann Longhurst: Head of Finance

After leaving university Ann joined the graduate training programme at Thomson Holidays in London.  She spent nine years with the company during which she trained as an accountant and had some great opportunities to travel.  Ann then joined Carewatch Care Services and spent eleven years as Financial Controller during a period of huge growth.   She returned to the travel industry working for the School Travel Group for a couple of years before joining the YMCA in January 2013.  She says, "I enjoy all the new challenges that working in a different sector brings and being a part of the invaluable service that the YMCA provides."

Jamie Guest: Head of Learning

Jamie joined YMCA DLG in September 2016. He is a qualified teacher of secondary and 6th form GCSE and A Level, specialising in History and Politics. For the past 10 years, Jamie has been working in the Welfare to Work Sector, delivering employability programmes to mandated and voluntary customers with a wide range of barriers to work. He started as an Employment Advisor and progressed to Performance Manager, Regional Manager and Regional Director covering Sussex Surrey & Kent, Thames Valley, Hants and IOW, and London. Jamie is developing and growing a ‘Learning’ offer for the young people within our communities.