Our People

Management Team

Phil Dobson Director of Programmes

Phil Dobson
Director of Programmes

Phil heads up Oasis Community Housing’s Programmes department that consists of Crisis services, Employability and Domestic Abuse teams. He has been with OCH since 2005 and worked within the charitable sector for 20 years.

During that time he’s had responsibility for fundraising, tendering, establishing new projects, operational and strategic management, ethos development, safeguarding and Health and Safety. He is currently a member of Gateshead’s Safeguarding Adults Board and Homeless Link’s National Advisory Council.

Phil has a post graduate degree in Careers Guidance and a first degree in Business Studies and History.

He is married to Sam, and they have three sons. In his spare time he’s also a trustee of a local charity that develops community work within churches. His passions are football, prog rock and church, in equal measure.

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David Smith Chief Executive

David Smith
Chief Executive

David has been Chief Executive since September 2016 and is responsible for leading the organisation, setting the culture, vision and strategy, and representing Oasis Community Housing externally.

Working with charities in the UK and overseas, David has focused on projects working for social justice and the empowerment of the vulnerable. This has included managing the establishment of a nationwide reconciliation project for young people in Northern Ireland that tackled sectarianism; and fundraising roles with the international development charity, Tearfund. In his previous role as Head of International Programme with the Bible Society David oversaw a seven-figure grant-making programme that has brought transformational change in more than 40 countries worldwide.

David studied at the University of Glasgow for his undergraduate degree in Modern History and Politics, graduating in 1998. Over the following 10 years David also studied Peace and Conflict Resolution at American University in Washington DC, French language at University of Sunderland, and an MPhil in Reconciliation Studies from Trinity College, Dublin.

In his spare time David reads political philosophy and theology books, plays football with endless enthusiasm and suffers from following St Mirren, Sunderland AFC and the Scotland national team.

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Jen Gauden-Hand Director of Housing

Jen Gauden-Hand
Director of Housing

Jen leads the Department responsible for supported housing provision, the Social Lettings Agency, Maintenance Team, and InForm data system, and has spent her working life to date within our charity.

After gaining a law degree (LLB) from the University of East Anglia, Jen took a gap year during which she volunteered for Oasis Charitable Trust, and had the opportunity to put her passions for young people and homelessness into action through working on a street outreach team in Central London, a substance misuse recovery centre and leading youth and children’s work for local churches.

Jen has 16 years’ experience in the housing and charity sector, and has undertaken frontline roles as a Support Worker, Deputy Manager and Project Manager before moving into senior management as Head of Housing and now Director of Housing. Work stream specialisms include supported housing for young people, and women.

In her spare time Jen loves snorkelling, photography, time with friends and family, and enjoys any excuse to bake. She can be found at her church, All Saints Peckham, singing in the worship band and helping out on the Fairtrade stall. Or in the stands at Selhurst Park watching Crystal Palace attempt to play football!

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Crystal Hicks Head of Business Development

Crystal Hicks
Head of Business Development

Crystal leads the team responsible for income generation, marketing and communication, and developing the sustainability of our services.

Before joining Oasis Community Housing, Crystal worked for over a decade in the charity sector, leading teams to engage supporters, generate sustainable income and create meaningful partnerships between charity, public and business sector organisations. She has worked for the National Trust, Southbank Centre and National Museums of Science and Industry and has a wealth of experience of fundraising across many sectors.

She has a first class degree from Newcastle University and a Masters in Cultural practice – a response to Equalities legislation. She has a passion for equality and diversity and sits on the Women in Social Housing North East board.

In her spare time Crystal looks after her twin daughters, and is a keen amateur runner (because she loves cakes, not running). She is also a trained florist and creates arrangements for her church, St Joseph’s in Benwell.

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Sarah Lister Director of Finance and Resources

Sarah Lister
Director of Finance and Resources

Sarah leads the finance team and the HR and admin team within Oasis Community Housing, ensuring that all of the back office functions and support is in place to enable our staff to effectively carry out their important roles.

Sarah has been a qualified chartered accountant for more than 18 years.  She has worked in the housing sector for a decade, and has been a senior leader within the sector for 8 years, leading on Finance, HR, IT and Governance.  She has worked for PricewaterhouseCoopers, Gateshead Housing Company and Northern Housing Consortium and has a wide skill set beyond finance.

Sarah is also treasurer for Durham Wildlife Trust.

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Una McNicholl Head of Employability

Una McNicholl
Head of Employability

Una leads the Aspire team, which works to support service users as they build the skills needed to find and secure work and develop their financial capability skills.

Her background is in education, learning and skills. She has worked in the voluntary sector, taught in a secondary school, has had 15 years in senior management in the Community Education Service at Gateshead Council and 15 years in senior leadership in education, employment and skills with Newcastle City Council.
She has an Honours Degree and Master Degree and a wealth of experience leading national programmes in the North East region.

Una is passionate about social justice and improving life chances, is a trustee with Twisting Ducks, a local theatre company for young adults with leaning difficulties, a volunteer providing support to adults with dyslexia and regularly visits our senior citizens as an SVP volunteer. She has two sons and was a keen runner but is now restricted to her bike. However, she has not yet cycled to visit her extended family in Ireland!

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Dr Caroline Wroe

Dr Caroline Wroe

Dr Caroline Wroe is a consultant with the NHS, and the chair of Oasis Community Housing Board of Trustees.
Experienced in safeguarding, confidentiality and data protection, dealing with conflict, and patient involvement and education, Caroline delivers essential knowledge and experience to the Board.

After training in Birmingham, and achieving her doctorate at Newcastle, Caroline developed a special interest in living kidney donation and vasculitis. Caroline is responsible for the regional living kidney donation service, which through collaboration and stakeholder involvement, has won national recognition. Continuing her academic studies, Caroline became a Professor this year.

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Kate Ginks

Kate Ginks

Kate Ginks is the managing director of Strategic Estates Ltd and a chartered surveyor.

She is adept at project managing brownfield and greenfield development sites and acquiring housing sites for both property development companies and national and regional house building firms.

Able to analyse and interpret a whole range of information, in the context of advising on planning related matters, Kate is invaluable to our Board as we manage eight sites in the North East and London, with plans to expand.

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Nick Salisbury

Nick Salisbury

Nick Salisbury spent three decades as a senior banker with Barclays, and now uses his financial knowhow for social benefit.

As well as a deep knowledge of Bank and Capital markets, lending within the corporate market and UK property and infrastructure market segments, Nick is adept at risk assessment and skilled in sound commercial judgement.

As a Trustee for Oasis Charitable Trust, he provides a valuable overview between the two Boards.

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Mark Bryant

Mark Bryant

Mark Bryant was Bishop of Jarrow for 11 years until late 2018.

He studied at St John’s College, Durham University, and then trained for the ordained ministry at Cuddesdon College for three years.

He has extensive experience as a Trustee, sitting on the Board of Depaul UK, the Lindisfarne Regional Training Partnership and a Hospital Trust.

He also serves our Board with his management, mentoring and pastoral skills and his impressive North East networking profile, lending key support to our fundraising events.

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Chris Aldridge

Chris Aldridge

Chris Aldridge became a Trustee for Oasis Community Housing in early 2018 and brings to the Board his knowledge as a property surveyor.

He works for the Original Factory Shop as an estates surveyor and holds valuable skills in negotiation, IT and report writing, not to mention his industry interests of rent reviews, lease renewals, property budgets, tender processes, financial management and developing tenant relationships.

He has worked for well-known names like Lidl, House of Fraser and Shelter UK.

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