Jess Steele OBE

Director (Jericho Road Solutions)

Jess has 25 years’ experience as a local community activist and entrepreneur in Deptford and Hastings. An active social entrepreneur, she has established community enterprises in publishing, heritage, tourism, childcare, financial management, neighbourhood development, workspace and, more recently, homes that are genuinely affordable in perpetuity

Jess’s company Jericho Road is a founder investor, alongside Meanwhile Space in WRNV Ltd.

Eddie Bridgeman

Director (Meanwhile Space)

In 2009 Eddie co-founded Meanwhile Space CIC with the ambition of creating a social enterprise that makes the most of otherwise underused space. The organisation now delivers projects with private and public landlords and actively seeks spaces for meanwhile use.

Eddie’s experience is predominantly of places that have socio-economic and perception challenges, typically urban communities and seaside towns. He is interested in how the property industry can make create an innovative response to realise change.

Eddie’s company Meanwhile Space is a founder investor, alongside Jeircho Road in WRNV Ltd.

David Bysh

Director (Heart of Hastings)

David is a Heart of Hastings Trustee who brings to the project a vast array of experience and knowledge including being a Chartered Building Surveyor for 40 years with 20 years experience of Project management of social housing projects, from inception to handover of units.

He also has additional experience of preparing major asset management plans and project management of estate regeneration projects along with 20 years experience as Employers Agent and CDM advisor on behalf of RSL Clients throughout South east England.

John Brunton

General Manager & Director

John is our General Manager and Director. He is responsible for the day to day running of WRNV and manages the redevelopment of our buildings as well as the management of the ones which are now complete and occupied.

John has 15 years business management experience and also manages our housing subsidiary, Living Rents. He is passionate about the possibilities of affordable housing that the Observer Building can offer local people in need after seeing the benefits that our existing housing stock offers its residential tenants.

James Leathers


James is the Executive Director of Heart of Hastings CLT (HOH) with a background in housing and community development in Hastings and London. HOH has a third shareholding in White Rock Neighbourhood Ventures and is the intended vehicle for the long-term community ownership of WRNV’s assets. WRNV and HOH have been a history of close working including the Organisation Workshop at the OB, White Rock outreach and Heritage Action Zone projects in the Trinity Triangle.

Emily Berwyn

OB Project Champion

Emily is currently providing a strategic decision-making role on the project board of the ambitious Observer Building project in Hastings.

Emily is the co-founder and Director of the pioneering social enterprise and advisory organisation Meanwhile Space.

She is an experienced project designer and manager for programmes that utilise vacant space to support community initiatives, social and creative entrepreneurialism, and facilitate periods of positive change. She featured in the RBS Women in Social Enterprise 100, as a BPF Future Leaders winner for Innovation.

Nathan Payne

Tenant Development Manager

Nathan is our Tenant Development Manager with a background in sustainable, community-focused development and a passion for collaborative, creative projects.
He is responsible for ensuring our existing & future spaces suit the exciting mix of tenants, organisations & individuals within our community and the wider neighbourhood.

Rhonda MacLean

Project Support Officer

Rhonda provides team support to ensure the transformation of the Observer Building is on time and within budget, along with providing support on events and communications.

Rhonda has over 15 years experience working for two multi-national engineering consultancies, which included supporting three large scale railway projects. She also enjoys volunteering and is currently the volunteer coordinator for a local literary festival.

She is excited to be part of the regeneration of the OB and the surrounding area.

Sean Lavers


Seán is responsible for the cleaning and maintenance of multiple properties along with providing customer service to their residents and tenants.

His caretaking & maintenance experience was gained whilst working for the University of Brighton for 14 years.

Jay Simpson

Administrator & PA to John

Jay provides administrative and events support to all of the projects within the Hastings Commons along with working to support John Brunton.

Jay brings to the team a variety of experience gained in the fields of construction, education, and waste management.

He is passionate about the projects and what they will mean for the town.