One of the North’s largest housing associations has appointed a leading figure to take the helm of its Board.

Jane Earl has had a successful career in housing, local and national government, as well as the arts, youth and culture, and now joins Thirteen Group as chair.

Starting in March, Jane will help direct the future of Thirteen as it invests over £1bn across the North East of England, Yorkshire and Humber over the next five years to improve services, customers’ homes and neighbourhoods, as well as deliver new affordable homes.

Jane is no stranger to the North East, having grown up in Sunderland. She’s also chair of Sunderland Culture, which brings her passions for art, culture and the North East together.

Much of Jane’s non-executive work over the last 15 years has been in the world of housing.

She is currently a non-executive director at housing association VIVID and M&G Shared Ownership Limited and brings a wealth of knowledge in social housing to Thirteen.

Jane is also chair of Surrey Choices, specialising in services for people with a learning disability. She’s also chaired several arts and education organisations, all of which are concerned with social justice.

Jane succeeds George Garlick as he steps down, having reached his maximum term of office after six years.

Of her appointment, Jane said: “It is a huge privilege to be  invited to join the Thirteen team, and in particular to follow in the footsteps of George Garlick who has done so much, with the executive team and board colleagues, to deliver such successful outcomes for people in the area.

“I’m very much looking forward to getting to know colleagues, and to play my part in delivering on the mission for Thirteen. I’ve got much to learn, but it’s going to be an exciting journey!”

Thirteen’s chief executive, Ian Wardle, added: “I’m delighted to welcome Jane to head up the Board at Thirteen.

“Jane was selected from a strong shortlist following a rigorous recruitment process, and it was clear from the outset that she connects with our values and those of the housing sector and who firmly believes in the role we play in supporting communities and individuals to thrive.

“I am very much looking forward to working with Jane as we deliver on our ambitions to continue to be a great housing association, improve our services with customers as well as the fabric of places, invest in customers’ homes for the future and build affordable homes.

“I’d also like to thank George Garlick, who is stepping down as chair, for all his exceptional commitment, dedication and governance. George has guided Thirteen through a tremendous period of transformational change, and under his leadership, Thirteen has gone from strength to strength.

“He leaves Thirteen with significant investment, new-build and regeneration programmes underway, all of which will make a massive difference to the customers, neighbourhoods and communities we serve.”