Peabody banner at a conference

Chris Strickland, who recently stood down as our Chair, reminisces about his time on the Board.

Christopher StricklandAfter serving 12 years on the Board (the maximum term), five of them as Chair, my time at Peabody has sadly come to an end. I feel privileged to have been part of such a great organisation with such a proud history. I’ve learned so much and enjoyed every minute, but all good things come to an end, and now it’s time to reflect.

Peabody has grown significantly since I joined in 2003. The number of homes it owns and manages has increased from 19,000 to 27,000. The development pipeline has increased from 495 new homes to 8,000. Peabody is now in a good position to regenerate Thamesmead, maintain and improve its stock, and deliver more community programmes. The organisation now has the right balance of good business sense and social purpose and recognises that the two things are not mutually exclusive.

However, despite all the changes, George Peabody’s mission remains the touchstone of the organisation: to provide people with a good home, a real sense of purpose, and a strong feeling of belonging.

Of course there have been difficult times, particularly with funding the Decent Homes programme and new developments, but Stephen Howlett’s arrival in 2008 turned things around. He built a team of people who tackled issues with tenacity, enthusiasm and sheer hard work. Peabody regained lost ground, rebuilt its reputation and created a firm foundation to build on. I’ve enjoyed a close working relationship with Stephen over the last five years and I would like to take this opportunity to thank him for all the support he has given me during my time on the Board. 

My personal highlights of the past 12 years include:

  • Achieving the Decent Homes standard for all Peabody homes
  • Overseeing the 21st century Peabody report and starting the redevelopment at Clapham as an example of this vision
  • Celebrating the 150th anniversary of Peabody at Westminster Abbey
  • An event at the American embassy on the opening day of the 2012 Olympics hosted by Michelle Obama and attended by 350 Peabody children
  • Welcoming Gallions, Trust Thamesmead and Tilfen Land to the Peabody Group
  • Overseeing a development programme of more than 8,000 homes.

Peabody’s new chair, Sir Bob Kerslake, is inheriting an organisation in fine fettle. I know he will receive the unstinting support of the executive team and fellow Board members, and I wish him every success for the future.

I would like to dedicate my time as Chair to the memory of George Peabody and the trust he founded. May it thrive for another 150 years.