Housing Association Board

Matthew Walker – (FCCA, CIHCM) (Chair)


A Fellow of the Chartered Association of Certified Accountants, Matthew has worked in housing organisations at a senior level since 1991, including as Finance Director, before becoming Chief Executive in 1994. Matthew is passionate about improving the quality of people’s lives through helping to provide homes that people want to live in, in areas other people will want to move to. Alongside that work, Matthew seeks to provide people with the opportunities for them to improve their own lives through employment and training opportunities. In following a lifelong commitment to learning, Matthew achieved Corporate Member status of the Chartered Institute of Housing in 2012. Matthew also sits on the Board of Incommunities Group Ltd.

Alex Brown – Tenant member


Alex has a long history of involvement in both the tenant and community movement. He is a great believer in community development and has chaired two separate community associations. In addition to this he has, for several years, had a seat on the Bradford Housing Partnership; is Chair of the Bradford and District Tenants and Residents Federation and was a founding Member of the Yorkshire and Humber Tenants and Residents Regional Federation. Since February 2009, Alex has been a self-employed adviser to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.  He works closely with Bradford University Department of Peace Studies and their participation team on various projects.


Judith Courts – independent member


Judith’s early experiences as a trustee of a city farm; director of a women’s centre and journalist on a community newspaper provided her first experiences of communities in need. Since that time Judith has committed herself, both in employment and in a number of voluntary roles, to empowering people to make change for themselves. Her experience of the local, regional and national not-for-profit sector is extensive and for the last 13 years Judith has worked as a freelance charity and social economy consultant with specialism in supporting organisations to develop partnership and collaborative working. Judith has been a Board Member of Incommunities since 2006.

Ruby Bhatti – independent member

Ruby BhattiRuby is a highly successful Solicitor with over 20 years’ experience in the legal field; a member of the Association of Women Solicitors and the Law Society. She has over 18 years’ experience of various non-executive directorships, including Chair of a BME Housing Association until she had to step down having met the limit allowed for years in that position. Her other Non Executive roles include a social enterprise company, CBC (Carlisle Business Centre) and its charity arm ACL ltd Sadeh Lok Ltd. She is a Local Leader of Governance for City of Bradford Metropolitan Council and Chair of Governors of three local schools as well as sitting on Bradford Council’s Education Appeals Admission Panel. Ruby is also Co-Chair of the Quality and Safety Patients Panel for the Bradford Institute for Health Research and a lay member for governance for the Bradford City NHS – CCG (Clinical Commissioning Governing Body) and sits as an independent panel member of the Mental Health Department, Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust, a role which enables patients to have their cases considered independently.

Simon Wilson – independent member


Simon is a successful housing professional with over 15 years of experience and a track record of delivering high quality housing and customer services. He has worked in some of the most challenging areas of multiple deprivation and diverse neighbourhoods and has a strong commitment to customer service, community development and diversity.  Simon achieved the Dip HE Housing in 2000, with Leeds Metropolitan University and is a Corporate Member of the Chartered Institute of Housing.

Bartlomiej Swakowski – tenant board member

 Bart SwakowskiBart is a Tenant of Incommunities who is former Director of Incommunities Group Board and has experience of how governance functions at the highest level at Incommunities.  He also has a wealth of experience in the area of social care and has held roles as Health Care Assistant; Senior Care Worker/ Educational Support Worker; Community Support Worker; Educational support worker and Medical Interpreter. His roles in Health and Social Care and in schools have given him an in-depth understanding of disadvantage generally and more particularly how that affects local communities and the everyday challenges they have to face in society. This, together with the voluntary assistance he provides within the Polish community, has given Bart a great understanding of diversity in its many forms.

Simon Cooke – council nominee

Simon Cooke

Simon is a nominee of Bradford Council. Involved at the highest level of the Council as Deputy Leader of the Conservative Group, Simon is also on the Health & Wellbeing Board, Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee; and the Shipley Area Committee.

 Simon is a professional marketer with a MSc in Urban Regeneration and has a particular interest in local markets, food policy and town centres. Professionally, Simon has worked extensively in the voluntary sector focused on business development, fundraising and policy, he is enthusiastic about the opportunities that localism provides and supports groups, parishes and residents to take up, and make the most of, the opportunities available to them in this area.

                                              Carol Thirkill – Council Nominee

Carol is a nominee of Bradford Council. In addition to her appointment to Incommunities Ltd, and as well as running her own cleaning business, Carol also sits on the Governing body of three local schools; sits on the Joseph Nutter Foundation; the Management Group of the Pupil Referral Units; the Patrol Adjudication Joint Committee; the Sir Titus Salt Trust; Chairs Clayton Community Association; and the Corporate Parent Panel; is a Member of The Children Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee and the Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee, and, is the alternate member of Bradford West Area Committee and the West Yorkshire.