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25th Anniversary Celebration - Lochaber Housing Association Achieves Investors In People Gold Accreditation
In its 25th Anniversary Year, Lochaber Housing Association has achieved the prestigious Investors in People Gold Accreditation, the most successful framework for business improvement through people in the UK. This represents achievement of world class best practice. It shows Lochaber Housing Association is a truly cutting-edge organisation that is operating at the very highest levels of people management practice using Investors in People to drive their business forward.
Lochaber Housing Association joins an exclusive group of UK employers eligible to use and display the sought after Investors in People Gold logo and plaque, and enjoy its benefits. The accreditation applies to all three of the Lochaber Housing Association group of companies – the Association itself, and its subsidiaries - Lochaber Care & Repair and LHA Property Services.
Commenting on the award, Blair Allan, Lochaber Housing Association’s Chief Executive said, “What a magnificent way in which to celebrate our 25th Anniversary year! There are over 1100 IIP accredited organisations in Scotland. Less than 6% of these have Gold status. Only 10 other housing associations in Scotland have been recognised at this level, and none of these, to the best of my knowledge until now, are in the Highlands and Islands. So, to be awarded this accreditation at this level is a tremendous achievement and a testament to how all the people in this group of companies work together through change, growth and improvement to deliver success”.
Peter Russian, Chief Executive of Investors in People Scotland, said “This is a fantastic achievement for Lochaber Housing Association and its associated companies. I would like to congratulate the organisation and its people on their commitment to continuous improvement. Investors in People offers a flexible, practical and easy to use business improvement tool designed to help organisations and their people achieve their objectives. I hope that more organisations in the area will be encouraged to sharpen their competitive edge by choosing to work with us.”
About Investors in People
Investors in People offer a practical, flexible and easy to use tool for improving business performance and competitiveness through good practice in people strategy.
An organisation that has achieved Investors in People has been successful in adopting and maintaining its three fundamental principles: Plan - developing strategies to improve the performance of the organisation, from business goals to leadership strategies; Do - implementing those strategies, taking action to improve the performance of the organisation; Review - evaluating and adjusting those strategies, measuring their impact on the performance of the organisation.
For more information on Investors in People please visit www.iipscotland.co.uk
Lochaber Housing Association announces community awards as part of Jubilee Celebrations
To mark 25 years of providing quality homes for local residents throughout Lochaber, Lochaber Housing Association (LHA) has planned a number of new initiatives to underline the association’s continued support of local communities..
The Association, established in 1988 to provide affordable housing and services in Lochaber, will kick off its “jubilee” celebrations with the launch of the Monsignor Wynne Good Neighbour Award, and the Lochaber Housing Association 25th Anniversary Community Fund.
Named after LHA’s first chairman, the Monsignor Wynne Good Neighbour Award aims to recognise an individual who has made a real difference to his/her local community.
Anyone associated with Lochaber Housing Association - either as a tenant, as a sharing owner or who lives in a factored property – can nominate a good neighbour.
The person being nominated does not have to have any connection to Lochaber Housing Association, and the winner will be presented with the Monsignor Wynne quaich and gift vouchers at LHA’s AGM in September. The award will be made annually.
Blair Allan, LHA’s Chief Executive, said: “This is your chance to say a big thank you to a kind and caring person who has made a difference to the local community with their acts of kindness.
"This may be someone who has helped you with your garden or shopping when you couldn`t get out, helped out at a time of crisis or been there when you just needed someone to talk to. Or maybe this would apply to someone who has helped out with your children or is just, generally, a good neighbour."
The Lochaber Housing Association 25th Anniversary Community Fund will provide grants of up to £200 to eligible community groups - including community councils, residents’ associations and clubs such as scouts or sports groups – as part of LHA’s commitment to reinvest profits into the local community.
A total of £5000 has been made available for this fund through the "Lochaber 365" private sector initiative run by Lochaber Housing Association Property Services – the association’s community interest company.
Lochaber 365 is a 24 hour all-trades works and maintenance service which is available to homes and businesses throughout Lochaber. The service, which is free to join, provides a high quality service and after care, with all works carried out by Lochaber Housing Association’s own all trades team.
The deadline for all applications to the LHA 25th Anniversary Community Fund is the end of May. Contact the association on 01397 702530 for more details.
Christmas Card Competition
For the seventh year the Association welcomed a very deserving winner in our popular Design a Christmas Card competition.
Children from Primary 5 Caol Primary School accompanied winning entrant Anna MacDonald to view the card being produced at local printing company Printsmith.
The children then visited the Associations office in Fort William, finding out more about what work the Association carries out.
Anna was presented with a framed copy of the card and a gift by staff members Lindsay Kennedy and David MacLaren.
The association also passed a small donation to each school for taking part.
Chief Executive Blair Allan thanked all the schools who took part and especially thanked Printsmith for welcoming the children into their workshop.
Lochaber Housing Association AGM 2012
Lochaber Housing Association (LHA) remains committed to helping Lochaber people find good, locally affordable solutions to their housing problems – although the current economic climate means that the Association has no plans to start any new developments in the foreseeable future.
The Association’s AGM heard on Friday (7th September 2012) that we had successfully completed developments at Achariach and Dun Deardail in Claggan and Lochyside, bringing a total of 42 new rental and 11 shared equity homes to Fort William - and a new rental home in the former old school, Acharacle.
However, the meeting heard that the situation looks less rosy in the immediate future as a result of the imposition of increasingly restrictive lending conditions by the Association’s lenders, while its grant per home built from the Scottish Government has been halved over the past two years.
Describing the new lending conditions “bedevilling” the Association’s efforts as “impracticable”, LHA chairperson Di Alexander said: “In February of this year the Association’s Board took the very difficult but unavoidable decision to build no more houses in Lochaber for the foreseeable future, i.e. until such funding restrictions can be lifted.”
He added: “We will continue to raise the funding dilemma with the key politicians in the hope that Government can get the banks lending sensibly again. We will continue to champion the cause of inadequately housed people in Lochaber and to work in close partnership with Highland Council and other housing associations and stakeholders to try and secure as many new and affordable housing opportunities for Lochaber as the present ‘system’ is capable of delivering in these testing times.”
On a more positive note, the AGM heard of the continued success of LHA’s subsidiary companies Lochaber Care & Repair and Lochaber Housing Association Property Services (LHAPS).
Lochaber Care & Repair has been steadily expanding to provide a comprehensive home improvement and handyperson service to Lochaber’s elderly and disabled residents, through partnerships with Highland Council and NHS Highland. Meanwhile, LHAPS – a community interest company – has created five trade apprenticeships and generated more than £250,000 of surpluses for reinvestment by the Association. Building on this success, the recently launched “Lochaber 365” initiative has seen the LHAPS quality maintenance and repair service extended to businesses and owner occupiers throughout Lochaber.
Danny Alexander MP, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, was the principal guest and speaker at the AGM. Mr Alexander spoke of his interest in the work and success of the Association over the years and of his disappointment in the approach of lenders to supporting its valuable work.
He said that he hoped the Coalition government’s new policy to offer government guarantees of up to £10 billion to support the building of new homes by housing associations could be taken up by the Scottish government and rolled out to housing associations north of the border.
Blair Allan, LHA’s Chief Executive said: “We were absolutely delighted that the Chief Secretary was able to support our AGM in this way and he had a lot to say about how important housing associations like ours are to the recovery of the economy. We were really interested in his guarantee scheme and we wait with interest to see whether this is something that could be rolled out in Scotland.”
Despite the current challenges, Lochaber Housing Association – which celebrates its 25th anniversary next year – continues to make quality homes available to new, first-time tenants at the rate of around 50 re-lets each year and the Annual Report, launched at the AGM, reveals a continued commitment to maintenance of our properties with just over £1 million spent during the 2011/2012 period.