Meet our board

Berneslai Homes Board has nine members: a Chair, two tenant members, four independent members, and two council members.  This mix makes sure that all your interests are represented and that they make sound decisions for tenants and residents in Barnsley.

Sinéad Butters, MBE DUniv. Chair of the board

Sinéad was appointed in September 2020 as Chair and is also Group Chief Executive of Aspire Housing, which also comprises Staffordshire’s largest independent apprenticeship provider Achieve Training and social regeneration charity Realise.

Sinéad is also Non-Executive Director at Goram Homes, and was Chair of national housing network PlaceShapers for five years. Sinéad continues to be a voice for change, sharing her passion for community-based solutions to the housing crisis.

In recent years, Sinéad has received an MBE for services to housing, two honorary doctorates for work supporting communities, was named ‘Chief Executive of the Year’ in national housing awards, and has seen Aspire receive the Queens Award for Enterprise; a first for housing. @SineadBAspire                       

alt="Sineád Butters"







Sarah Tattersall, Council member 

Councillor Sarah Tattersall was appointed in July 2019 and sits on the Customer Services Committee.











Gary Ellis, Independent Member

Gary was appointed in March 2014 as an independent member and is Chair of the Audit Committee. Gary is a qualified accountant and a member of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants. He is the Chief Executive of The Coalfields Regeneration Trust an organisation that is dedicated to supporting and improving the quality of life for former mining towns and villages. Working in the regeneration arena and having lived most of his life in Barnsley Gary understands how crucial good affordable housing provision is to people’s day to day lives.

Berneslai Homes Board Gary Ellis

Mark Johnson, Independent Member

Mark was appointed in January 2020 as an independent member and is Chair of the Human Resources Committee.  He has over 30 years’ experience in Social Housing, including operating in high profile positions in several large ALMO’s, Councils and other large housing organisations. Mark is a keen advocate of the ALMO model, working with many throughout the UK.  He has been managing his own consultancy business within the housing sector for the past five years.

In the post Grenfell environment, Mark believes that safety and compliance will be the cornerstone of forthcoming regulatory change and has worked with organisations to adapt the way that asset management, investment and repairs and maintenance can be delivered in the future. Mark lived and worked in Barnsley for several years and having been brought up in a council house, considers well managed social housing to be of huge benefit for the whole community.

Mark Johnson










Richard Fryer, Independent Member 

Richard was appointed in September 2020 and is Chair of the Customer Services Committee.  He is an Executive Director at Karbon Homes – a regional housing association based in the North East – and is a Chartered Member of the Institute of Housing. Before joining the housing world, Richard worked in local government in different parts of the country, including 14 happy years living and working in Barnsley.  Richard believes strongly in the role of effective governance in making sure that housing providers deliver for their residents and communities.











Liana Khachatryan, Tenant Member  

Liana was appointed in January 2016 as a tenant member and sits on the Audit Committee.  She has been working for Human Rights organisations since 2007 as an adviser in the areas of destitution, welfare, human trafficking, domestic violence, immigration. Liana has closely worked with local authorities in South and West Yorkshire.

She is passionate about equality and is a volunteer with a local Equality Forum promoting equality and better understanding within the community. She is also a member of Hate Crime Community Challenge Board. Since 2010 she has supervised Social Work students on placement as a ‘Practice Teacher’ in association with Leeds Becket University. Her experience as a volunteer with Samaritans (Barnsley branch) has given Liana an extensive knowledge and understanding in the needs and challenges within the community. She has also briefly worked with BSARCS developing services in Barnsley.


Adriana Rrustemi, Tenant Member

Adriana was appointed in July 2017 as a tenant member and sits on the Customer Service Committee. She lives in the town centre and has lived in the heart of the borough most of her life and has knowledge of the demography, population and issues affecting residents.

Adriana has a Diploma in Law and Business Studies. She is passionate about social care and housing, and is interested in where they intersect, having gained lengthy experience through working for Barnsley Council on supporting children, young people and their family members through agencies, government and council departments. She is keen on contributing to enhance opportunities for future generations in Barnsley and their families.











Eric Smith, Trainee Tenant Member

Eric was appointed in April 2022 as trainee tenant member and trainee member of the Customer Service Committee.  He will officially start his full role at the AGM in September 2022.

Eric’s lived in Barnsley for 11 years and is knowledgeable on the issues affecting his local communities and residents. He is passionate and very keen to give help, support and assistance in all areas to positively enhance and impact individuals lives. You can often find Eric taking part in various charity events or helping out in the community.

He has a BTEC Diploma in ICT and is very keen on activities that enhance a healthy lifestyle.

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Mahara Haque, Co-optee Customer Services Commttee

Mahara works as a Co-optee for the Customer Services Committee.  She is as an External Funding Manager within the Voluntary sector. Mahara has a background of programme management at Rotherham Council and community development at Sheffield City Council. She is a public representative for the SPEEEC (Strategic Patient Engagement, Experience and Equality Committee) at NHS Clinical Commissioning Governance Sheffield and undertook a Associate Non-executive Director placement at South Yorkshire Housing Association. She is a private landlord and manages a portfolio of properties with her partner. She is a founding member for My Landlord Cares which is an ethical letting agency. Mahara is looking forward to bringing her varied experience to this role.










Jo Sugden, Independent Board Member

Jo was appointed in April 2021 as an independent member and sits on the Audit and Risk Committee. She has experience in both private and public sector throughout her career and now works for Ongo (a stock transfer Housing Association based in North Lincolnshire). Jo joined Ongo from the first day it was formed in 2007 (as North Lincolnshire Homes) and was part of the transfer team which led the transfer of homes from North Lincolnshire Council and established the new business.  She is now their Director of Corporate and Compliance with experience in Human Resources, Governance, Risk Management, Health & Safety, Procurement & VFM and Customer Engagement. When Jo is not at work, she can usually be found at the stables with her horses, two colonies of bees or generally enjoying the great outdoors.

alt="Jo Sugden"