Solace housing association logo

Solace Housing Association

Solace Housing Association (Solace HA) is a community benefit society registered at the Financial Conduct Authority with registered number: 8858.

It is an exempt charity and a subsidiary of Staying Put (a registered charity). Solace HA is seeking registration with the Social Housing Regulator as a registered provider of social housing and was formed to take over and manage Staying Put’s property portfolio.

three purple hands in the air
Hands in the air

Vision, Mission, Values


To provide safe accommodation for people escaping domestic abuse, to enable them to lead independent lives.


To provide solace to our communities in and around Yorkshire.


To transform lives by providing housing to those who have experienced domestic abuse, with short- and long-term options. Our
inclusive homes are for anyone who needs them.

We offer:

  • Good quality accommodation
  • Affordability
  • Safety and solace
  • Support for tenancy sustainment


  • Inclusivity
  • Integrity
  • Passion
  • Driven

Board of directors

Solace HA is governed by a board of six nonexecutive board members who set the strategy and direction of the association. The board is made up of three nominees from Staying Put and three independent board members (including the chair).

The day-to-day management of Solace HA will be undertaken by Staying Put via a comprehensive management agreement. Staff undertaking the work will be managed by Staying Put’s senior staff and Solace HA will review the operation and performance of the services at each board meeting.

Hugo Stephens

Hugo Stephens

Chair and Independent board member

Hugo is one of the most experienced social housing lawyers in the country, having advised housing associations, local authorities, banks and commercial organisations for over thirty years. He is an expert in governance (including charity law), finance and major projects. Hugo’s experience includes corporate, constitutional and governance matters for housing associations.

He also advises housing associations on their relationship and working arrangements with the Social Housing Regulator. Hugo’s finance work covers capital markets financings (public bond issues and private placements), bilateral and syndicated loan debt facilities, development funding, intragroup loans, structured finance and derivatives. He has led teams on a range of major projects including large scale voluntary transfers, Arms Length Management Organisations, PFI projects, group structures and mergers/demergers.

Hugo is recognised in Chambers and the Legal 500 as a leader in his field.

Dr. Amanze Ejiogu

Dr. Amanze Ejiogu

Independent board member

Amanze is a Professor of Accounting, Society and Accountability at the Sheffield Hallam University where his research interests include the regulation of social housing and challenging stigma in social housing. He is a qualified accountant and has prior experience working in a big four accounting firm as well as in the charity sector. Amanze has extensive experience in housing association governance having previously sat on the boards of housing associations in Scotland and England.

Sally Watts

Sally Watts

Independent board member

Sally is passionate about housing, the role safe and secure housing plays in enabling people to lead fulfilling and independent lives and the development of communities that thrive.

She has significant experience of operational and strategic roles within social housing leading and developing customer focused services. Key interests are supported and specialist housing, neighbourhood management, community development and safeguarding. Sally has a strong background in the development and leadership of specialist housing support services and is committed to the provision of support services which support independence.

Mohammed Shabir

Mohammed Shabir

Independent board member

Mohammed Shabir has 35 years of experience at operational and strategic levels within Social Housing, Regeneration, Urban Renewal, and substantial experience in dealing with private developers, and investment including negotiations of affordable homes with private developers.

Mohammed is trained as a Chemical Engineer and also studied management at a postgraduate level.

He worked at Bradford Metropolitan District Council where he managed the team that was responsible for delivering affordable housing supply via Registered Providers as well as the council’s direct delivery post stock transfer. He has extensive experience working in partnership with Registered Providers, Private Developers, and Homes England in securing capital allocations, procurement, and delivery of new build affordable homes including Homes England  Audit compliance.

Mohammed has demonstrated his commitment to the non-profit sector by holding board positions at the Habinteg Housing Association for over 10 years, at Nashayman Housing Association for several years, and also serving on various Master Plan Boards.  He has a real passion for meeting the housing need of people in wheelchairs.

Mohammed’s experience of working with diverse communities will help the association to ensure the quality of service provision in particular to disadvantaged or marginalised members of the community.  Mohammed has a good overview of communities’ aspirations and of the social housing sector challenges. His focus is on making a real difference in people’s lives and the places in which they live and work.

Paula Gardener

Paula Gardener

Staying Put Nominee

Paula is currently working as Operations Director at Barca-Leeds. Her career choices demonstrate a passion for affecting positive social change, for individuals and communities.

She is currently the strategic lead for a range of grant funded and commissioned services that provide support for adults, young people and families, who are facing adversity in their lives.

Her portfolio primarily focuses on leading services that support some of the most vulnerable people in Leeds to address and overcome the issues and barriers they face.

She has experience of managing services that provide support in relation to health and wellbeing, housing and homelessness, substance misuse and social prescribing.  Through her roles in both the public and third sector she has gained extensive knowledge of business development and commissioning processes, contract performance management, developing and implementing quality frameworks, including CQC, and managing budgets.

Before moving to the voluntary sector in 2014 Paula worked for Leeds City Council for 14 years in their Domestic Violence and Abuse Team, developing policy to improve practice in responding to people impacted by domestic abuse.  She led on the city’s strategic plan to address domestic abuse, developed the Leeds DV Quality Mark, and worked on the introduction and implementation of both MARACs and Domestic Homicide Reviews in Leeds.

Paula sits on several partnership boards and attends the Safer Leeds Executive as the voluntary sector representative and Third Sector Leeds as the representative for the Leeds Crime Reduction Network.  She also chairs the Multi-Agency Review Board for people with complex needs.

Malcolm Hardy

Malcolm Hardy

Staying Put nominee

Malcolm is a retired accountant who worked in industry for most of his career, in various roles. Malcolm worked at the Emerald Group Publishing Ltd – an international academic publisher, for 20 years. He was their finance director/company secretary before his retirement in 2015.

Malcolm brings many years of charity experience having been the treasurer and trustee on the board of the Brain Tumour Research and Support Charity, based in Leeds from 2005 to 2018.

Latest news, blogs and jobs

We’re nominated for a Smiley Award

We’re nominated for a Smiley Award

We are excited to announce that we have been nominated for a Smiley Award! We've been nominated for our film 'Grow your wings'. However, we need your votes to win!The film was inspired by the true story of an employee at Staying Put. She spoke out about the abuse she...

read more
A story of a nurse who experienced domestic abuse

A story of a nurse who experienced domestic abuse

Anyone can be impacted by domestic abuse at any time. Below is the story of a nurse, who approached one of our Hospital IDVAs and disclosed that she had been experiencing years of abuse from her partner. Our hospital IDVA was able to support her to leave the...

read more

Call for help now

0808 2800 999

Open Monday - Friday, 9.30am - 4:30pm (closed for half an hour lunch at 1pm)
Our One Front Door helpline is completely free and confidential, and the call will not show up on itemised bills.