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  • Date: 09/11/2022

Julie Guildford Smith has been appointed as Chief Executive at Honeycomb Group. Currently Strategic Director of Housing at Birmingham City Council, Julie will step into the new role next month (Monday 5 December 2022); taking over the helm from Diane Thompson who has served the business for over 30 years.

With a wealth of experience and a genuine passion for the North Staffordshire region, Julie was the ideal recruit for the role as Andy Spencer, Chair of Honeycomb Group explains: “We are delighted with the appointment. It was vital to choose the right person for this role and whilst there was a huge amount of interest from potential candidates, Julie is the ideal fit. She’s committed to our mission that aims to break down barriers, build up people and better homes to create a region that is thriving. She is also a great advocate for influencing a positive workplace culture.”

Having studied social housing at De Montfort University, Julie has gone on to establish a successful career in the sector, with roles at both Harvest Housing Group and Stoke-on-Trent City Council prior to her current five-year stint at Birmingham. 

On her appointment, Julie said: “Leading Honeycomb Group is a dream job. I look forward to building on the organisation’s successes by continuing to champion happy homes across Staffordshire and its surrounding areas so that everyone in the region knows the comfort of home and they can feel secure, connected, confident and proud. Our customers are facing unprecedented challenges. We will continue to be there and provide the services they need throughout this difficult time and beyond.”

In 2019, the Group brought together Staffs Housing’s 3,100 homes with Glow, Concrete and Revival. Creating a collection of businesses that aim to tackle issues such as housing need, homelessness, and domestic abuse in Staffordshire, East Cheshire, and Derbyshire.

Last year we engaged 8,310 children, young people, adults, and families as well as 1,164 professionals in activities that focus on breaking barriers, building people, and bettering homes. Many of these customers accessed support because they were homeless or at risk of becoming homeless, or they were victims, survivors, or perpetrators of domestic abuse. We also supported 1,056 customers to move home after hospital discharge.

Diane Thompson announced her intention to step away from the business in July 2022 following 18 years as Chief Executive of the Group. She will leave the organisation at the end of November to spend more time with family and friends and to pursue personal and professional interests that have an impact on people.