Vincent House is owned by Vincent Housing Association (VHA). Originally set up as an Industrial & Provident Society and now known as a Registered Society regulated by the FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) under the Cooperatives & Community Benefit Societies Act 2014, VHA’s activities are the responsibility of its Committee of Management.
VHA uses any surplus to meet its objectives: firstly, to provide good value accommodation at Vincent House, along with employment and training for its staff; and, secondly, invest in or support schemes that help individuals who are homeless or vulnerable to homelessness.
Vincent House was built in 1939 by Vincent House Limited under the leadership of Alice Roughton. Alice’s grand-mother, Evelyn Hopkinson, had previously established two earlier residences in Westminster – Hopkinson House and Brabazon House, both of which were eventually sold to the local authority.
Although the principles of Evelyn Hopkinson and, subsequently, Alice Roughton were primarily philanthropic they set up the houses to be run on business lines and enable shareholders to be paid a reasonable dividend.
Vincent House quickly attracted residents from its opening in March 1940 even though World War Two had started a few months earlier. As a result most of the early residents were men and women working in government or military posts and the House continued to attract civil servants working in London for many years following the war.
In 1964 Vincent House was under threat from predators keen to acquire the attractively located property and, in order to protect the House, Vincent Housing Association Limited (VHA) was formed. During the decades that followed VHA built upon the House’s early achievements and continued to attract an increasingly diverse range of people to stay at the House. This continued to be VHA’s sole activity until the late 1990’s, when its solid foundation and sustained success meant it was in a position to invest in further properties.
In 1998 VHA completed the purchase of a dilapidated supermarket in Hayes, Middlesex for the development of a project with Yeldall Homeless Projects, which has since been re-named Trinity Homeless Projects. Trinity leases the property at a ‘peppercorn rent’ and manages a scheme at the property, now called Carlisle House, which includes shared accommodation for up to 7 individuals and also provides training and employment to a wide range of vulnerable people in a retail outlet selling recycled furniture and household items.
In 1999 VHA agreed to acquire a property on behalf of Stepping Stones Trust (SST) to provide a home for ex-offenders. It took over two years to find a suitable property and in 2001 a house previously used as a bed & breakfast was acquired in South Croydon. A low-rent lease was agreed with SST to enable them to focus their resources on providing support and managing the scheme at what they decided to call Hope House. In 2012 SST merged with Langley House Trust (LHT), a larger organisation providing similar services to ex-offenders, which is continuing the scheme at Hope House.
In recent years VHA has also made several donations (ranging from £1000 to £25,000) to organisations involved in working in the field of homelessness including Shelter, The House of St Barnabas, Riverpoint, The Big Issue Foundation and many others and has also deposited funds in Charity Bank.
VHA’s chairman until 2015, Geoffrey Roughton, had a particular interest in social entrepreneurship as applied to the provision of housing, reflecting the fact that both his mother, Alice Roughton, and his great grandmother, Evelyn Hopkinson, were early exponents of the principles.
You can read more in VINCENT HOUSE, THE HISTORY (latest edition published 2010). For a PDF version please click on Vincent House History 2010 or to request a booklet to be posted to you please e-mail email@example.com
The Committee oversees the business of the Association and meets around five times a year. It is also supported by a series of sub-committees that focus on specific issues such as finance, property, catering and strategy. The Committee’s main duty is to ensure VHA achieves its mission through its activities and is also meeting its commitment to being financially, socially and environmentally responsible.
Rory Silkin became the Association’s fourth Chairman when he succeeded Geoffrey Roughton in 2014. He joined the Committee in 1972 following the death of his grandfather Lewis who was a key figure in setting up Vincent Housing Association in 1964 and was its Chairman until 1970. Both Lewis and Rory’s father, John Silkin, were prominent Labour MPs and his mother, Rosamond John, was a renowned stage and screen actress. Rory studied law and worked in private practice as a solicitor going on to be Assistant Director in the legal department of Royal Mail before retiring. He now works as a legal consultant and is active in various local charities as well as being a local councillor. He lives in Staplehurst, Kent with his wife Mary Shaw (also a Committee Member) and has two daughters, Anna and Natasha who are both shareholders.
Jenny was co-opted onto the Committee late 2014 and was officially elected as a Committee Member and also Treasurer at the AGM in April 2015. Jenny is a Chartered Accountant and has held senior finance roles at HSBC, Deutsche Bank, Cable & Wireless and most recently Willis Group, a Global Insurance Broker where she led a major Transformation project. Jenny lives in the New Forest with her partner Roger.
Sara joined the Committee in 1993 and succeeded her father Tommy as Secretary to the Association following his death in 1996, a role she still holds. She has a background in media relations and co-ordinated the marketing of Vincent House and has co-ordinated the marketing of Vincent House and development projects for the Association in the past. In addition to being Secretary, she is responsible for relations with the Association’s social partners and its heritage activities.
Julia was elected to the Committee in March 2012 following eighteen months as a co-opted member. She has been a friend of the Roughton family for many years and was nominated by Geoffrey and Rosamond Roughton. She is a Strategy consultant and in the past has worked for Shell and PwC. She also has experience of working with the charitable sector including Anti-Slavery International and is particularly interested in VHA’s mission to help those affected by homelessness.
Penny was elected to the Committee in March 2012 following eighteen months as a co-opted member. She is a grand-daughter of one of the original board members of Vincent House Limited, Douglas Clarke, as well as daughter of Alison Boreham and sister of Jane Rae, both of whom have served on the Committee for many years. Penny is a freelance radio producer and also set up the ‘Soundaffects’ charity using audio to link primary school children in the UK with their peers in Africa and Sri Lanka. She is a Trustee of the Prison Phoenix Trust which encourages prisoners in the development of their spiritual welfare, through the practices of meditation and yoga, working with silence and the breath.
Mike Farrar was co-opted to the Committee in January 2014 and formally elected at the AGM in April 2015. He stepped down from his role as Chief Executive of the NHS Confederation in late 2013 to become an independent management consultant working within the health sector. As well as being a director of Mike Farrar Consulting Limited, he is on the Boards of York Health Economics Consortium, Sport & Physical Activity @ Work, Huddersfield Community Sporting Trust. Mike lives in Huddersfield with his partner Rosamond Roughton and their two daughters.
Fi was elected to the Committee in March 2012 following eighteen months as a co-opted member. She first became known to the Committee through Yeldall Christian Projects, where she was on the board for over 8 years, and her consultancy work for Stepping Stones Trust. Fi also facilitated a special meeting for the Committee in 2003 to address VHA’s long term plans. Fi has immense experience of working with charities in a wide range of issues and was recently involved with setting up a food-bank in her local area of East Sussex. She originally trained as a social worker and gained experience in child protection and psychiatric support, before moving onto the charity sector.
Jane joined the Committee in 1993 following the death of her grandfather Douglas Clarke a year earlier. Her mother Alison Boreham and sister Penny BorehamSaban are also on the Committee. Jane is married to Dougal Rae, a film and TV producer and they have three grown up children, one at university and two nearing the end of their schooldays; however, she still finds time to be a partner in Fine Arts Travel which organises cultural tours to Italy.
Ashley was elected to the Committee in March 2012 following eighteen months as a co-opted member. He is the eldest son of Geoffrey Roughton from his first marriage. He is a Barrister and has also lectured in economics at City University and is a Professor of Law at Queen Mary’s. He has done Pro-bono work and is particularly interested in the impact of homelessness.
Mary, who is married to Rory Silkin, the Association’s Chairman, has worked as a solicitor since the 1980’s and, since joining the Committee in 1987, has often provided legal advice to VHA. She now specialises in Private Client Law and is Partner & Team Leader at Warners Solicitors, a Top Tier law firm based in Kent which offers a wide range of legal services to its clients across the South East.
VHA’s primary purpose is the provision of residential accommodation and employment at VINCENT HOUSE and its principal commitment is to its residents and employees. Once these responsibilities are met, VHA aims to use its surplus to invest in social schemes that help individuals who are homeless or vulnerable to homelessness.
VHA’s most significant social investments to date have been the acquisition of two properties to lease on social terms to charities working with vulnerable and disadvantaged individuals, Carlisle House (in 1998) and Hope House (in 2001).
CARLISLE HOUSE, VHA’s property in Willow Tree Lane, Yeading, Middlesex, was acquired in 1998. It is leased to Trinity Homeless Projects (Trinity) which aims to achieve transformation in the lives of people suffering the effects of homelessness & exclusion by providing supported housing, training and employment. Trinity’s scheme at Carlisle House provides accommodation for up to seven people as well as training and employment in the Willow Tree Furniture Store, a large outlet selling recycled goods for the home. Despite the current challenges, Trinity is both sustaining and expanding its activities and has several other projects in Hillingdon and Hounslow. For further information see www.wearetrinity.org.uk
HOPE HOUSE was originally operated by Stepping Stones Trust (SST), a charity providing resettlement support and accommodation to prisoners on their release. In early 2012 SST merged with Langley House Trust (LHT) a larger organisation providing similar services in other parts of the country, which was seeking to establish itself in London. LHT’s mission is ‘helping people to live crime-free lives’ and it continues to provide resettlement support and accommodation at Hope House, which has a welcoming and comfortable environment for its community of up to seven residents. It also has a separate office for the supervisory and support team, a kitchen/diner for residents’ use, a large sitting room and a delightful terraced garden. For further information about LHT’s work: www.langleyhousetrust.org
Each year the Committee holds its Annual General Meeting at Vincent House and as well as its Shareholders invites guests from its ‘Partners & Friends’ to both the meeting and the lunch that follows. The Committee also hosts occasional special events linked to its mission to help alleviate homelessness or to support its partners.
In recent years this has included an event called ‘Making it Home’ to which a number of organisations involved in homelessness contributed and ‘Artworks at Vincent House’ in association with The Learning Journey. In January 2013, the Committee also hosted a party to honour Malcolm Hayday who retired as Chief Executive Officer of Charity Bank in Autumn 2012.
The party was held at Brigade, an exciting venue near London Bridge which is home to the Beyond Food Foundation, a social enterprise founded by Simon Boyle offering catering apprenticeships to vulnerable people.
Every year we produce an Annual Review which features the Chairman’s yearly statement as delivered at the Annual General Meeting along with news about what has been happening at Vincent House in the previous twelve months. To read the latest edition or previous issues click on the relevant link below.