Tenant priorities top list in Scottish Borders Housing Association budget

The Board of Scottish Borders Housing Association (SBHA) has announced details of its spending plans for the coming year.

Agreed during a meeting last month, the Borders’ largest housing association said views of tenants were high on the agenda.

Chief executive Julia Mulloy said: “We contacted all 5,636 tenants inviting them to our roadshows which were held in November last year in 13 locations across the Borders.

“Tenants talked about what is important to them and their local communities and told us what they feel SBHA should prioritise in our budget. Drawing on their suggestions, the budget provides for significant investment in both homes, services and the external environments of our estates.

“As a result, we are delighted to confirm that this year will be investing £1 million in improving the environment and shared spaces and £150,000 in roads and footpaths owned by SBHA.”

This coming year, as part of a six-year neighbourhood improvement programme, tenants living in Selkirk and Hawick will benefit from a £4.7m investment in new kitchens, bathrooms, heating systems, doors and windows where works are due. SBHA said it remains committed to its six-year planned maintenance programme which concentrates on two areas at a time and will cover every town in six years. This new way of operating delivers the work in the least unsettling and disruptive way and it is hoped it proves to be an extremely popular change to working practices.

SBHA will also commit to ensure all its homes will meet the Scottish Government’s energy efficiency target for social housing December 2020 by investing over £7.4m in improved heating and energy efficiency works.

With a focus on local employment, the Association announced the creation of four new trades apprenticeships in 2018-19 and one office traineeship. In addition, the new grounds maintenance contractor idverde will be employing local people and using local firms where possible, as well as providing work placements and a further Apprenticeship opportunity.

Finally the Board announced the continued expansion and growth of the Association, with plans to build 35 homes over the next few years. A new development at Rose Court in Galashiels is currently on site and will provide 10 new family homes.

Tenant member of the Board of management, Julie Black, added: “I attended the roadshow when it came to Hawick and we talked about the things we wanted improved and ideas for enhancing our estates making them safer and nice areas to live. As a Tenant Board Member I was pleased to see how our tenant feedback was taken on board and included in such a clear way in the plans for investment in 2018-19.”

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