THE chairman of a social housing group which owns thousands of houses in the Staffordshire Moorlands has been honoured with an OBE.
Kathy Cowell, chairman of Your Housing Group, has been awarded the accolade in the New Year honours list for her services to the community through her various roles, including Deputy Lieutenant of Cheshire and trustee of Cheshire Community Foundation.
Your Housing Group's chief executive Brian Cronin has led the congratulations.
He said: "Kathy is an exceptional individual and her passion and commitment to the people and communities that she serves is outstanding.
"We are extremely proud of Kathy and honoured to have such an outstanding individual as our chairman."
A banker by profession, Mrs Cowell has always been passionate about people which led her to roles in housing and various board positions within regional NHS trusts and charities.
She began working in housing in 2007 when she joined Harvest Housing Group as chairman.
She went on to play a central role in the formation of Your Housing Group, via the merger of Harvest and Arena Housing Groups in 2012.
This merger created a new Group with a combined stock of around 32,000 properties across the North West, Yorkshire and Midlands, including the Staffordshire Moorlands.
This total is made up of 18,000 properties from Harvest and 14,000 from Arena, and creates an annual turnover of around £150 million per year.
In her position as chairman of Your Housing Group she works to represent the group's vision to transform lives and communities.
Kathy has also played a significant role in the region's NHS Trusts having previously served as chairman of Central and Eastern Cheshire Primary Care Trust, chairman of East Cheshire NHS Trust and vice-chairman of Warrington Hospital.
She also served as Cluster Chairman when the four Cheshire PCT's came together to facilitate the transition to the new NHS infrastructure, with the creation of Clinical Commissioning Groups. As a supporter of regional charities she currently holds various roles including vice-chairman of Cheshire Young Carers, non-executive director for Central Manchester NHS Foundation Hospital, Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and is also a member of the East Cheshire Hospice Strategic Advisory Group.
Mrs Cowell said: "To be awarded an OBE for services to the community is such a huge honour.
"I strongly believe that people are the heart of our communities, which is something we strive to champion at Your Housing Group.
"Achievements of this nature are not reached alone. I have a great team supporting me personally and professionally and I thank each and every one of them."
Mrs Cowell lives in Wilmslow, Cheshire, with her husband John. They have two sons Michael and Andrew, and two grandchildren.