News from Bolton at Home

Here you'll find our most recent news articles, from important tenant updates and new housing developments, to new community initiatives and activities.

Back to the list

Remembering Noel

Remembering Noel

We join many others in saying goodbye and thank you to Noel Spencer MBE, who has sadly passed away.

Noel was our long-time Chair of the Bolton at Home Board, from when we originally launched as an arms-length management organisation in 2002 up until his retirement from the role at the end of 2012. Even after stepping down, Noel continued to hold the honorary position of Life President, remaining engaged and supportive of our work to create homes and neighbourhoods to be proud of.

Noel was awarded an MBE in 2007 for his services to social housing, and his dedication to the work we do and the difference we can make to people’s lives, never left him.

Noel cherished his time as our chair. He cared deeply about us doing the right thing for customers and he was always thankful to customers, volunteers, governance members and staff whose contributions have shaped our organisation and Bolton in many ways. He often referred to his journey as our chair as “fascinating”, acknowledging the collective efforts that make our work possible.

There were significant developments under Noel’s leadership, including our transformation into Bolton at Home as an arms-length management organisation originally, with responsibility to deliver housing services for Bolton Council. This involved a £250 million investment to modernise homes, create safe and inviting environments, and establishing an ongoing capital improvement programme to maintain quality homes and neighbourhoods. A series of regeneration projects followed, which brought meaningful improvements to our communities, such as off-road driveways, traffic-calming measures, landscaped front gardens, new communal spaces and improved footpath networks.

In Noel’s own words, he recognised that: “Regenerating the estates of Bolton is not just about physical repairs but about involving residents in their communities and celebrating and encouraging pride in the local area.”

In 2005, Noel took pride in our achievement of becoming the first provider in the North West to receive the coveted three-star rating from the Audit Commission, for our delivery of housing and regeneration services in the town. And in 2006, he felt we had earned a place as a leader in the housing sector when the Government awarded us and Bolton Council Beacon status for our commitment to put customers at the centre of our efforts to improve local housing.

Throughout the years, Noel was a passionate advocate for our customer awards, now known as the Stars of the community awards. These events have always focused on highlighting everyday heroes and outstanding volunteers.

He also championed customer-led committees that have worked with us to identify ways we can improve our services, emphasising the importance of customers taking a lead role in ensuring we meet our commitments and promises. This was especially relevant during and following our transition from managing homes for Bolton Council to becoming a housing association in 2011, following our tenants’ vote for stock transfer.

We’ll miss Noel for numerous reasons – his dedication, caring nature, and also his talents as he entertained us with his Frank Sinatra tributes.

His contributions to Bolton at Home are immeasurable, and he leaves behind a proud legacy for us to build on.

Our condolences go out to his family and friends at this time.