Our board

At present, Common Ground is run by a Founding Board selected for it’s experience in the fields of homelessness, housing and finance. The founding board of Directors will resign at the first AGM of the society, due to be held by the end of September 2021, to enable a new board to be elected with the confidence and legitimacy of being democratically elected by all our members. Existing Directors can stand for re-election, as can any member who can be nominated.

Helen Carlin
Founder and secretary

Helen has 30 years of experience in housing policy, homelessness and charity management. She is experienced in start ups, having established Rowan Alba in 2005. Frustrated by the lack of suitable accommodation, Helen pulled together like minded people who care about homelessness, and are happy to help. She believes in solidarity, not charity, and sees the homelessness problem as easily solved with a shift in values.

“Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex… It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.” E.M. Shumacher

Tom Muir
Co-Founder and Chairperson

After over a decade working within Housing Benefit, Tom came to understand that the amount awarded could not meet the rent charges and that those whose circumstances entitled them to this help were being made to suffer for the staggering cost of the scheme (£23 billion in 2018/19 and rising) resulting from property becoming a speculative asset.

"Common Ground Against Homelessness is a community backed initiative that can treat those in need fairly and not just as a prospective “cash crop” whilst reducing costs. There is a better way."

Francis Barkey
Board member

Francis has 30 years experience in Construction Management and Property Development Director with the Miller Group. He established a Project Management Specialist company in 2015 and has since worked extensively with Edinburgh Napier University and Heriot Watt University as Head of Estates.

His experience will complement the skill set of the Board providing guidance and support to the delivery teams to ensure the developments deliver value for money and meet the aspirations of the Board and Investors.

"Creating safe accommodation for homelessness people is an admirable endeavour as we generally take our homes for granted".

Jenny Gutry
Board member

Jenny Gutry has over 25 years of experience as a Health Visitor, working in some of Edinburgh's most deprived communities. Through her work, Jenny has seen the direct impact housing policies have on families and the disruption they can cause when they are inadequate. By joining the Common Ground board Jenny aims to put her experience to good use by helping us shape future projects in Edinburgh and beyond.