Our dedicated volunteer trustees bring with them huge amounts of experience, skills and knowledge to feed into our activities. We always welcome new trustees so if you would like to play an active part in ensuring sheltered and retirement housing in all its forms meets the needs of older people, come and join our welcoming and lively board. All you need is an interest in the sheltered and retirement housing sector, feel you can make a useful contribution, and a willingness to commit to around one day a month. For an informal chat, contact current chair Ann Karas at, or our chief executive Rebecca Mollart at To apply please contact Rena Karadogan at

Ann Karas Chair

Ann has spent 25 years working in the social housing sector, the last 15 of which were managing the retirement living (sheltered housing) accommodation for a local authority.

She has seen at first hand the benefits of sheltered housing and is passionate about the role of erosh in promoting it and advocating for the sector. She wants to see the UK provide more high quality older people’s housing services to cater for the growing numbers of older people wanting to live independently and well.

Karen Palmer Treasurer

Karen is a qualified accountant who trained in a manufacturing environment.

She has also worked in agriculture and education. For the last 14 years Karen has worked in social housing. At Optivo Housing Karen is currently the Senior Finance Manager in the Finance Reporting Team. Karen lives in Kent with her husband and has 2 grown up sons.

Other Trustees

Trudy Hawkins

Trudy has worked in social housing for over 20 years, with leadership experience in Housing and Customer Service management.  Passionate about collaboration, and customer driven success, she has a proven track record in developing a tenant led quality culture, adopting a “right first time” approach and promoting continuous improvement.

As a Director of Neighbourhoods for Trivallis, Trudy leads a team across the business’s front line housing and support services.

Chris Jones Midlands Network Chair

Chris has worked in older persons housing & care services for over 20 years for local authorities, housing associations and Almshouse Charities in both operational and strategic management roles.

He has previously chaired Supporting People & Care Provider Groups, Safeguarding Board Committees and been a member of the National Housing Federation Housing & Health Group.  Chris is presently the CEO of an Almshouse & Care charity, a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Housing and chair of erosh Midland Network.  

Emma Quansah

Emma is head of customer experience and social value at Kier Places, one of the UK’s leading maintenance contractors.

She supports staff and clients on contracts across the UK.  Emma has 12 years’ experience in social housing both in housing associations and as a maintenance service provider.  Her roles have always been customer focused and she is passionate about empowering communities to create health, wealth and resilience.  She believes that driving improvement to the standards of housing of older people has a huge part to play in achieving community objectives.

Chris Thomas

Chris has been working for Trivallis for the past 5 years. His work has been within the Neighbourhoods team, working with staff and tenants and the main focus of his work has been around supporting Trivallis in maintaining the service standards they have achieved, as well as searching for new ones.

Chris is also the Safeguarding Training Lead for Trivallis, supporting the business with training both staff and tenants on all aspects of Safeguarding.

Chris chairs the RESPECT team at Trivallis which is their Equality and Diversity staff group. This has given Chris a better understanding of the variety of ways in which EDI needs to be part of everything we do and how we support our tenants, especially those in older peoples accommodation.

Prior to working for Trivallis, Chris ran a successful business with his husband for 6 years, whilst studying to pass his BA Honours in History through distance learning with the Open University.

Joy Smith

Joy has over 30 years’ experience of working in social housing. For the last 17 years she has worked specifically in retirement living with a large national housing association; specialising in strategy, policy, procedure, and compliance. Joy has previously chaired Supporting People and Older Persons Housing forums around the country, and worked with commissioners to design specifications and outcome frameworks.

Joy is excited to use her knowledge and skills not only to support members, but also to help raise the profile of sheltered housing and to influence national and local government policy.

Joy is passionate about improving the housing and services available for older people and wants to see the erosh Code of Practice widely accepted as the national quality standards for sheltered housing. Joy believes the current public perception of our sector is dated and inaccurate and that erosh and its’ members can offer a united front help to dispel these myths.

Chris Stephens

Chris is a member of the Chartered Institute of Housing and has worked in Social Housing in a variety of housing management roles for over 30 years.  This includes working for a housing association, rural and urban local authorities and a London Borough.

Chris currently works at Wealden District Council, where responsibilities include the management of the Council’s rented and leasehold retirement living stock.

Chris wants to raise the profile of sheltered housing, and promote its benefits.

Mandy Cutbill

Mandy has been working within social housing for 27 years and for the past 19 years Mandy was a Scheme Manager for Wealden District Council.
Mandy’s main interests within supported living include dementia, social isolation and social inclusion. Mandy is passionate about fostering a collaborative approach to supported housing ensuring that everyone is involved, from staff to tenants and their families.
Mandy is also a keen advocate for equality & diversity and utilising future technology in supported housing.
Mandy feels that there is so much more to come from supported housing and is excited to join erosh to support our members for the benefit for everyone involved.

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