New chief executive for Harrogate homeless project.
New chief executive for Harrogate charity.

New chief executive for Harrogate Homeless Project

2 April 2024

The trustees of Harrogate Homeless Project (HHP) have appointed Richard Cooper as the organisation’s new Chief Executive. Richard will take over from Francis McAllister who announced his decision to retire a few months ago.

Richard is the former leader of Harrogate Borough Council and currently works for Andrew Jones MP. He is well-connected in the community and since retiring from front-line politics early last year has become a trustee for HHP.

His involvement with the project began in 1996 when Richard moved to Harrogate from Huddersfield. Looking for somewhere to do voluntary work, he was drawn to HHP by its vision of ending rough sleeping in the Harrogate district and providing support for people experiencing homelessness. This support continues as they move into accommodation and helps former rough sleepers hold down a job, manage their physical and mental health and family relationships.



As a councillor Richard continued his active support for HHP. He also regularly gives talks on homelessness, rough sleeping and street begging to community groups.


Commenting on his appointment, Richard said:

After so many years being closely connected to the Homeless Project as a volunteer and supporter it feels like a bit of a dream to become the organisation’s chief executive. Preventing homelessness and supporting people sleeping rough is a difficult task and I know we have a small and dedicated team of staff, volunteers and donors who have an amazing impact.

And I have big shoes to fill. Francis McAllister has led HHP through a significant period of change and growth. Our Springboard day centre is a hive of activity providing a wide range of support from an array of partners. The team is better-placed than ever before to support clients. Francis has made a real difference to homelessness in our area.


Chairman of HHP, David Thomas, added:

I know Richard understands the challenges facing HHP. The economic climate remains difficult, there is a shortage of affordable property for rent and support services are stretched. Our charity has a big job to do to meet these challenges and with his background in the community and decades-long support for Harrogate Homeless Project I know he will be an energetic leader for the HHP team.

We will miss Francis but respect his decision to retire after a lifetime working for local and national charities. He will forever be a friend to HHP and to the many people whom he helped during his tenure.


Richard will take up post on 1 July 2024.



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