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'Mum knows best,' says John Synnuck, Swan CEO


It's not every day that someone celebrates 50 years of service in a sector. It's a milestone worth celebrating and presents an opportunity to reflect on 50 years of experience.

At Swan, we've been fortunate to benefit from John Synnuck's wisdom for almost 25 years. It has got us where we are today, so we want to share it. John has kindly written down some of the highlights of his career and we'll be sharing snippets each day this week to celebrate this special milestone. You can read the daily quotes which we'll post each day this week from John here: Celebrating 50 years

John thanks his Mother who was responsible for encouraging him to enter the sector 50 years ago. Here he talks about the start of his journey in social housing:

"It's extraordinary to think that I have spent 50 years working in the social housing sector. After starting out at the London Borough of Greenwich (on the direct instruction of my Mother), I can honestly say I knew within months that this was the sector for me and I have never looked back. Working at various local authorities taught me much about navigating the politics of power, as well as building relationships that would last an entire career. 

I developed a passion for the impact good housing can have on lives. This drive to make a difference led me to become Director of Housing in Southwark in the 1980's, followed by a stint at West Kent - then the second large scale voluntary transfer in England. 

So, I was more than ready when I got the opportunity to set up a new organisation in Basildon, to take a transfer of 2,500 homes from the Commission for New Towns. In 1994, BCHA (Basildon Community Housing Association) took these homes - including an estate we then had to demolish, ensuring I got an early taste for doing what has been our social purpose ever since. We've now grown to over 11,000 homes with a development pipeline of 6,500. Thanks Mum!"

In his 50th year in the sector John has also started a blog which you can follow here: John's blog


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