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Phil Conn

Phil Conn

Director of Programmes

Phil is our Director of Programmes, overseeing our Crisis Services, Empower and Aspire programmes. He has been with Oasis Community Housing for eight years and was one of the founding team members of our Basis@Gateshead walk-in resource centre. After heading our Crisis Services for several years, he has now progressed into his new role and will lead our work in domestic abuse support, helping those furthest from the job market and financial capability – as well as continuing to lead the way with our front line crisis work.

Before joining Oasis Community Housing, Phil worked in youth development for a VCS organisation delivering targeted youth support, intensive programmes and leisure activities. Prior to that Phil enjoyed a career in the catering industry.

Phil is part of the leadership team of his local church and a trustee of Soul Food Spaces, a food charity that that creates places for people to meet and eat together to build connection and community, improving body, mind and spirit.

Phil likes Pina coladas and getting caught in the rain, is an avid coffee snob and a keen cyclist.

David Smith

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.

Jen Gauden-Hand

Jen Gauden-Hand
Director of Housing

*Please note, Jen is currently on maternity leave.

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!

Crystal Hicks

Crystal Hicks
Director of Development

Crystal joined Oasis Community Housing in 2017 as Head of our Business Development Unit, and has now progressed to a new director role.

Before joining us, 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.

Sarah Lister

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.