Dumfries and Galloway Housing Partnership (DGHP) has been named as Large Housing Association of the Year.
DGHP picked up the accolade at the Scottish Home Awards in Glasgow recently.
Chairman of DGHP Billy Lockhart said: “DGHP has always said it was striving to be the best in Scotland, and now we really can say we’ve achieved this.”
During a recent visit to Dumfries, Keith Brown, the Minister for Housing and Transport, took time out to hear about the work of DGHP.
He said he was very impressed with the on-going initiatives at the housing association and even stressed he would be encouraging others to follow suit.
When Mr Brown officially opened DGHP’s new supported accommodation unit for young people at Holm Park View recently he said: “It is a great opportunity for young people to learn life skills and to be given the chance to flourish in a positive and a reassuring environment. I do think that’s something we have to work harder to provide across Scotland – this project will be a great example to others.”
The development provides supported accommodation for young people leaving care, in a project funded by the Scottish Government, the Big Lottery and Dumfries and Galloway Council.
The Big Lottery “Investing in Communities” Fund provided funding of £941,842 over five years with DGHP investing £800,000 and a further £1.4 million coming from housing association grant funding from the Scottish Government.
Mr Brown also met armed forces veterans who have become the first to benefit from a change in DGHP’s policy. Now, a percentage of new lets are allocated specifically to those leaving the armed forces, giving them a more direct route into housing.
Of that initiative Mr Brown added: “I just want to say what a fantastic initiative this is to make sure that veterans have that kind of service. It may well be unique in Scotland, but certainly wherever I go after this in housing developments it will be something that I am recommending for everyone else to do.
“I will recommend that they come and have a look at what’s being done here in Dumfries and Galloway and take note. It’s great to see DGHP working to make sure that the necessity of having available accommodation is there for ex-forces personnel so that you can move on and settle back into society and get a job. It’s essential, so well done on that.”
The Minister also visited some DGHP properties at Municipal Terrace to see some examples for himself of low carbon homes. The visit to the newly-refurbished properties at Municipal, reported to be the first social housing in Scotland, followed the recent launch of the Sustainable Housing Strategy.
Zoe Forster, chief executive of DGHP, added: “We are very proud to have received this award and it is true recognition of all the on-going, hard work taking place both on the front line with our tenants and behind the scenes with our staff, Board and District Management Committee tenant members. This has been a team effort between everyone and it was an honour to have Mr Brown (the Minister for Housing and Transport) down so soon afterwards and to open one of our latest projects.”