Back in March 2013 I worked with Kirsty Wells, HouseMark (Scotland) and Marian Reid, CIH Scotland in preparing a proposal to the Scottish Government to devise a national training programme to deliver the ambitions of the new Scottish Social Housing Charter.
The Charters expectations are to improve accountability to stakeholders and drive up performance for the whole of the housing sector. The Charter has real teeth with strong support from the Scottish Government and the Scottish Housing Regulator.
On winning the bid I was tasked with designing the training content and thereafter delivering the initial pilot programme for residents, staff and boards / councillors. We called the programme “Stepping up to Scrutiny” and I have spent the best part of 12 months travelling around Scotland from Duns on the English borders to Elgin and Lossiemouth – the gateway to the “Royal Highlands” and lots of places in-between.
What I discovered was a diverse range of housing organisations (AHP / MHP, BHA, Irvine HA, Link HA, RCH and Renfrewshire Council), all making a substantial commitment to empowering stakeholders to rise up to the challenge of the Charter.
Between work and travel I also started to discover the incredible heritage, culture and traditions that make Scotland distinct from the rest of the Great Britain. It is these differences that add up to the greatness of this island nation. Scotland offers a refreshing contrast to the London bubble and the extremes of UKIP.
I will not miss the early 5.30a.m. starts – travelling from London or Birmingham to all the different places in Scotland. I will miss the generous people and the amazing places I have got to know. The snap shots below capture some of my memorable travel moments.
Cathy Newman, Channel 4 News on her way to Glasgow (One Year to the Referendum)
Kelvingrove Art Gallery, Glasgow