We are a successful property development, management and maintenance business. Our range of properties, business interests and network of private and public sector partners means we are a go to company for end to end real estate solutions across the North East.

We have a ‘one organisation’ approach in our business operations which  streamlines the Group into two divisions; Bernicia Homes and Bernicia Commercial.

Bernicia Homes – own and manage over 14,000 properties, and are constantly developing new homes across a range of property types and tenures. We provide housing and services for single people, couples, families and older residents and for people who need a bit more support to enjoy living in their home.

Our social housing assets are owned by Wansbeck and Cheviot Homes, Three Rivers Housing and Berwick Borough Housing, all registered providers of social housing. Whilst legally distinct subsidiaries we have now integrated operational structures to allow us to deliver consistent services across all of our social housing activities as Bernicia Homes.

Bernicia Commercial – There are two trading subsidiaries in the Group:-

Kingston Property Services which provides property and block management, estate services and facilities management to the private residential and commercial sectors.

Livingspaces UK Limited which provides services and advice relating to property development, sales and the residential private rented sector.

Both Bernicia Homes and Bernicia Commercial are high performing Group members and provide a solid foundation for future growth. Development of the Group has brought financial strength and even greater ability to invest in our staff, systems and services; meaning we go forward as a strong business well positioned to meet the opportunities and challenges ahead.

Bernicia Group Overview


From June 2016 the Bernicia Group of Companies incorporates:




Although we have subsidiary companies, we deliver all our social housing activities through our Bernicia brand, having aligned teams and services across our 4 principal offices in Berwick, Ashington, Newcastle and Durham with consistent ways to access services; delivering on our pledge to staff and tenants to build on our strength, resources and skills.

The Bernicia Group is governed by a single board, chaired by Bill Worth. Bill is supported by professional and skilled Board members who bring a wealth of expertise and experience to direct and oversee the success of Bernicia.

Our Board Members:

Bill Worth
Chairman of Bernicia
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Bill has been Chair of Bernicia since the merger with Four Housing in 2016. He was previously Chair of Four Housing, a position he had held since 2013.

Bill spent his professional life in NHS management and held senior posts in Birmingham, Liverpool, Gateshead and South Tyneside Health Authorities before becoming Chief Executive of North Durham NHS Trust in 1997. He retired in 2001 and has since undertaken a range of roles. He is currently Chair of the Advisory Committee on Clinical Excellence Awards.

Ann Tarn
Board Member
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Ann joined the Board in 2015 having previously been a co-optee. She is a member of the Audit Committee.

Ann has a background in nursing and worked on the Burns and Plastic Surgery Unit. Ann is an Employment Tribunal Panel member, specifically experienced on Disability Discrimination, Employment and Criminal Law.

Her work has always had a strong community connection and she sees her role at Bernicia as an opportunity to strengthen this.

Andrew Pegg
Board Member
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Andrew joined the Board in 2016 following the merger with Four Housing where he had been a Board member since 2014. He is Chair of the Remuneration, Resources & Appointments Committee and sits on the Commercial Board and the Health & Safety Panel.

Andrew owns his own Consultancy practice, covering Human Resources and Health & Safety services for small to medium sized businesses. Previous to this he spent 24 years working as HR & Safety Director and Company Secretary for a regional housing developer.

Andrew has also been a Board member of Owton and Rossmere Partnership.

Tom Stevenson
Board Member
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Tom joined the Board in 2012. He chairs the Audit Committee.

As a Chartered Accountant, Tom has significant experience as a Finance Director in the social housing sector and at Scottish Homes. Tom is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland, has an MBA from the University of Strathclyde and an MA Honours in Economics and Economic Statistics from the University of Glasgow.

Tom was a lay member of Governance and Audit at the Clinical Commissioning Group for North Durham (chairing the Risk and Audit Committee) and also a member of the organisation’s Finance and Performance committee.

Keith Riddell
Board Member
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Keith joined the board in 2010. He is the board representative on Bernicia’s Equality & Diversity Panel.

Keith’s background is in Mental Health Services. He is a Registered Nurse and held various front line and senior management positions within the NHS. Keith still works part time (post retirement) within a Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust focussing on compliance with standards and regulation.

Keith is Bernicia board champion for Equality and Diversity.

Xerxes Setna
Board Member
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Xerxes joined the board in 2015 having previously been a co-optee. He is a member of the Remuneration, Recourses & Appointments Committee.

Xerxes has a BA in Business Studies & Marketing and is and active CIPR member. He has significant experience in communications, PR and marketing, within the private, not for profit sector and the NHS sectors. His professional experience includes establishing communication functions and strategic planning.

Xerxes’ current role is as Assistant Director – Communications and Information at Tyne & Wear Sport.

John Holmes
Board Member
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John joined the board in 2017 having previously been a co-optee.

John has experience across various sectors which include all aspects of property and facilities management, business planning and development, residential and commercial property management, tourism and heritage promotion, and delivery.

John has extensive experience in both executive and non-executive roles including Chair of a Registered Provider’s development subsidiary. He is currently the Operations Manager for Kielder Observatory.

Lisa Charles-Jones
Board Member
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Lisa joined the board in 2017 having previously been a co-optee. She is a member of the Remuneration, Resources & Appointments Committee.

Lisa Charles-Jones has extensive HR and Board level experience in both an executive and non-executive capacity with a background in the residential property services market. She holds broad commercial knowledge and is an active contributor to general business strategy and operational initiatives. Lisa also holds wide experience in company restructuring with strong understanding of employment law.

David Jennings
Board Member
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David joined the board as a co-optee in 2017 as part of the Group’s Board succession planning. He is a member of the Audit Committee.

David is a Chartered Accountant currently employed as Financial Services Manager and Deputy S151 officer at Redcar and Cleveland Council. He has a successful track record in accountancy, audit and strategic financial management working previously as a consultant and for the Audit Commission. David has held a number of non-executive roles including at the NHS Foundation Trust and a University.

Our Executive Management Team:

Bill Heads
Group Chief Executive

John Johnston
Group Deputy Chief Executive Director Operations

Mike Axe
Executive Director of Finance and Corporate Services

Underpinning all that we do are our vision, mission and values.


Helping to create places where people want to live.


We support our vision by investing in neighbourhoods and communities and offering a wide range of homes and services that meet the requirements of our residents and customers.


icon-service Customer ServiceBuilding lasting customer relationships by focussing on customer needs and striving to exceed their expectations. icon-teamwork TeamworkCreating dynamic, talented teams that work locally, communicate openly internally and externally, are passionate about and enjoy what they do.
icon-integrity IntegrityBuilding trust through open, honest, ethical behaviour, acting with respect for others, behaving as responsible members of local communities. icon-quality QualityMaintain and enhance a reputation for quality, delivering services, and products that meet or exceed the quality standards demanded by customers and stakeholders.
icon-leadership LeadershipLeading by example, recognising the value of our employees, welcoming change, encouraging innovation, providing an environment of learning and development and creating value for our customers and stakeholders.

Equality and diversity for us is not just about meeting legal and regulatory requirements, its’ fundamental to the way we deliver our services and perform as an employer.

We provide and promote equality for all employees and the wider community, irrespective of colour, race, religion, ethnicity, family status, gender, age, disability or sexuality. We have developed a proactive approach to create an environment where people are treated as individuals, fairly and with dignity and respect, which is thoroughly embedded within our culture, and externally accredited.

Policy Statement
Bernicia Group aims to treat all people fairly and with respect. We are committed to the promotion of equal opportunity and the elimination of unfair and unlawful discrimination.

We recognise that many groups and individuals may experience disadvantage because of their race, religion, ethnic origin, gender, age, disability, sexual orientation or gender identity.

We believe that, as an employer and a social landlord, we have a role to play in tackling such disadvantage.

We aim to provide accessible services in ways that are fair and accountable. We also aim to meet the needs of applicants and residents in as fair a way as possible and in so doing welcome and value the diversity of the communities that we serve.

Our vision is to be an organisation whose commitment to equality and diversity is shown not only by the fine words used in policy documents, but is also evident in the great variety of the make up of our people – board members, staff, residents, stakeholders and partners, and in the inclusive nature of our culture and practices and the face it shows to the world.

Group policies have been devised in accordance with existing legislation and codes of practice. We recognise the importance of working to legislation, but to demonstrate true commitment to diversity and equality, this policy and our working practices should go beyond legislation.

Single Equality Scheme, please download the full PDF version here

If you have any queries, please contact the Learning & Development Manager Sue Harding-Smith on 0344 800 3800.

The introduction of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 aligns with Bernicia’s values and in particular our commitment to Integrity; building trust through open, honest, ethical behaviour, acting with respect for others and behaving as responsible members of local communities.

Slavery is defined as “where ownership is exercised over a person; servitude involves the obligation to provide services imposed by coercion; forced or compulsory labour involves work or service exacted from any person under the menace of a penalty and for which the person has not offered themselves voluntarily”.  Human trafficking concerns arranging or facilitating the travel of another with a view to exploiting them.

We have produced a statement which summarises our approach over the last  year to mitigate the risks of modern slavery in our business and to set out the actions we intend to take going forward. Our Equality and Diversity Panel will monitor progress on these objectives.

Slavery and Human Trafficking Statement – Sept 2017

When we established Bernicia in 2008 we promised to make a difference by investing in our services to tenants, our homes, our communities and our people.

We are delighted to look back with pride and satisfaction in what has been a remarkable period during which we have been building Bernicia and delivering our promises with some fantastic achievements along the way, please take the time to read more about these in our Annual Reports.

Looking to the future we are now finalising our 2015-20 business strategy, which focusses on helping people; investing in communities, providing homes and services that respond to the requirements of residents and customers, maximising our positive impact and re-affirming our social ethos.

We look forward to sharing this with you soon and working in partnership to maximise the potential we have for helping people.