Glen Oaks has had a winning run for its service provision and wider community contribution.

Having recently celebrated its 25th anniversary, Glen Oaks Housing Association has spent the past two years building on the success of its first quarter century; literally, with an ongoing new homes programme, and symbolically with a run of award nominations at Scottish and UK levels – including a win for its Service Improvement Group.

It came at the 2017 TIS National Excellence Awards, run in association with the Scottish Government, and celebrating housing organisations, tenants, residents, and community groups who are leading the way and making a difference throughout the Scottish social housing sector.

Fresh from that achievement in the ‘Most Inspiring Scrutiny Newcomer’ category, Glen Oaks stepped up to the UK stage this year, when it was shortlisted at the UK Housing Awards held in London in May; for ‘Outstanding Approach to Promoting Digital Inclusion’.

Glen Oaks has been blazing a trail with its ‘Starting Out’ initiative, focused on financial advice, energy efficiency, and digital inclusion. The project has been funded from two sources – Big Lottery Scotland and the Scottish Government’s ‘People and Communities’ Fund.

“The Starting Out project allows us to offer a helping hand to the communities we serve in a greater way than has been done before, on issues like IT support and money advice,” said Alasdair McKee, Glen Oaks’ chief executive.

“We’re delighted to have been a finalist in these prestigious awards and equally pleased to be able to deliver this level of help to our tenants. Of particular note is the work we are doing helping tenants to learn more digital skills and encourage them to get online – especially in an age when more and more services require digital involvement.”

Further funding has been secured from the People and Communities Fund for it to carry on for a fourth year.

Glen Oaks housing provision and services for its tenants is complemented by the work it does for the wider community. In 2013, the housing association teamed up with WorkingRite offering work placements with local employers in an effort to beat youth unemployment in the communities where it has its homes.

The initiative, also supported by the Scottish Government’s ‘People and Communities Fund, has seen 25 young people a year aged 16 to 18 participating in the WorkingRite project – leading to jobs, apprenticeships, and college places. The project is open to young people living in the Darnley, Arden and Pollok areas of Glasgow where many Glen Oaks tenants live.

Alasdair McKee said: “This initiative is helping to tackle youth unemployment which we know from the communities we serve as a housing association is a major issue causing real concern. Creating partnerships with employers in the local community undoubtedly helps young people make a successful transition into the workplace.”

Founder of WorkingRite, Sandy Campbell, said: “WorkingRite and housing associations are a perfect fit. They help us to become deeply rooted in the communities that need us most. This relationship has played a pivotal role in the success we have achieved for their tenants’ young people.”

One of the recent success stories is 17-year-old Steven Monaghan; roofing and building contractor Thomas McMaster & Son in Hillington was so impressed with him that he was offered an apprenticeship.