Ardenglen and Cassiltoun play host to University of Stirling students

The students in Castlemilk

Students from the University of Stirling have visited Castlemilk as they see first-hand the vital work being done by community-based housing associations.

The students from the University’s Social Policy and Housing course visited Cassiltoun and Ardenglen on their study visit.

It provided a valuable insight into the day-to-day running and workings of busy housing providers with a particular emphasis on their regeneration work.

At Cassiltoun, they were briefed by chief executive Charlie Millar and regeneration manager Clair Malpas on its work. This included an overview of the wide range of community regeneration activities delivered by the Cassiltoun Group including health, education, social engagement and employment programmes.

Charlie and Clair also focused on Cassiltoun’s business diversity through its social enterprise programme and the impressive five-year development plans including building 42 flats and houses costing just over £5 million by December 2019.

One highlight was a tour of Castlemilk Stables – owned by Cassiltoun’s subsidiary Cassiltoun Trust. In 2017 the Stables celebrated its 10th anniversary and was undoubtedly a landmark regeneration triumph by the housing association and which has won a string of awards.

Another highlight for the group was meeting Anna Stuart MBE a founder of Cassiltoun Housing Association, who was described by the participants as ‘inspirational’.

Charlie Millar, chief executive of Cassiltoun, said: “We were delighted to host the visit from the University of Stirling. This has been a good opportunity for the Housing Studies students to see first-hand our social and economic regeneration and learn what is a priority for Castlemilk.”

At Ardenglen, students met Staff and Board members and were given an insight into its regeneration successes.

They were told of Ardenglen’s community initiative known as The Only Way is Up. It offers a range of free activities from gardening to cookery, IT help, get-together groups for men and women, first aid sessions and even a sewing group – all aimed at building people’s confidence and giving them new skills.

The students were also treated to a musical performance by ‘All That Glitters’ – the initiative’s creative writing and song group.

Much of the regeneration work undertaken by Ardenglen is carried out by the hugely-admired Community Committee made up of volunteers who arrange social events for the benefit of the local community.

Audrey Simpson, Ardenglen’s chief executive, said: “It is essential that the housing professionals of the future see first-hand how housing associations deliver their services on the ground.

“This study visit allowed two housing associations to demonstrate the deep-rooted achievements not just in building homes but delivering change that improves people’s lives in the true spirit of the housing association movement.”

The study visit was led by Dr Kim McKee, senior lecturer in Housing Studies at the University.

Kim said: “We would like to say thank you to Ardenglen and Cassiltoun Housing Associations for welcoming our first year Housing Studies students on their recent site visit.

“The students have been learning about the range of services social landlords provide beyond their traditional housing management role. The visit provided them with key insights into the ethos underpinning the community-controlled housing association movement and the sheer range of community development and regeneration activities many social landlords are now engaged in.

“It was a very positive learning experience for them, and they valued being given the opportunity to meet local people who used and help support the services provided.”

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