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Cairn Housing Association Ltd

Thurso Area Office, 12-14 Dunnett Road, THURSO, KW14 8HY Tel: 01847 894483

Inverness Area Office, Ballantyne House, INVERNESS, IV1 1LU Tel: 01463 220666

Head Office, 22 York Place, EDINBURGH, EH1 3EP Tel: 0131 556 4415

How did it all Start?
During the 1960's the Royal British Legion in England recognised the need to provide sheltered housing for elderly ex-servicemen and women.  To achieve this they established the Royal British Legion Housing Association which soon grew rapidly and experienced considerable success.  Around 1973, TRBL approached the Royal British Legion in Scotland with the suggestion that they should form a similar Housing Association for Scottish veterans.  however the RBLS, a much smaller organisation, felt that the task was beyond its scope and so in 1975 TRLB was invited to operate a housing association in Scotland and small area office was opened in Edinburgh.

TRBLHA continued to focus its attention on providing sheltered housing for ex-Service veterans in the form of Courts which consisted of custom built flats and cottages with communal lounges and laundries.  They also included at least one resident warden and an internal alarm call system which linked flats to the Warden's house.  the first Court was Douglas Haig Court in Hawick which consisted of 36 flats and was opened in 1977.

The Early Years
Following the first court in Hawick several others followed as local Court Committees were formed to create the organisational structures and foster a strong sense of identity for tenants.  the 80's saw spectacular growth and the need was seen for more professional management at all levels.  More open selection of tenants was also coming in.

By 1987 it was clear that the new government Agency "Scottish Homes" would have a crucial effect on continuing operation of TRBLHA in Scotland.  Faced with the knowledge that Scottish Homes development funding would only be provided to  independent Scottish based Associations TRBLHA made the bold and generous decision to transfer the Scottish operation  to independent control.  The royal British Legion Soctland Housing Association became fully independent on 1st April 1990.

Development
1999-2000 has seen the success of New Housing Partnership activities and unprecedented levels of activity for the Association.  New starts on 274 houses funded by NHP grant and some Scottish Homes Housing Association Grant.

Expenditure was in the region of 4.5 million and this is likely to rise next year to 7million.

Independence
The Association changed its name in June 1992 to Cairn Housing Association Limited. and controlled 916 sheltered housing units with 300,000 of reserves and provisions.

Expansion
In 1992 Cairn was asked toi assist a small specialist housing association resulting in Cairn assuming responsibility.  At the same time Cairn became the landlord for 850 Scottish Homes properties in Inverness.  In late 1995 the association learned it had been successful in stock transfer in Thurso and the office their was expanded.
The association has been very successful in obtaining New housing Partnership money and has expanded its operations and implemented a ten year plan.  Bids in North and south ~Lanarkshire have been successful.  A further contract with Scottish Homes has added another 500 homes for rent the first of which became available for letting in 1999.  the whole contract will be completed in 2001

The Future.
Bedsit accommodation in 1984 was upgraded to have separate bedrooms.  Research was commissioned and will be completed in the Autumn of 2000 examining the needs, the design and economics of remodelling bed sit accommodation.

Further research into Building Better Communities has also been commissioned and this report will be published in November 2000.
 

The year 2000 saw the Silver Jubilee of the Association.

Some information from the 25th Annual Report

The association has grown and diversified since it first started in 1975.  the first housing webt up in Hawick and there are now properties from wick in the North to Newcastelton in the south and from Eyemouth in the East to Campbeltown in the West a grand total of 2180 homes.

The 25th anniversary is being marked by events around Scotland.  One event was held on Tuesday, 10th October 2000 at the Park Hotel where residents, Cairr Staff and directors met for an informal chat and coffee with councillors and MSP Jamie Stone. the chairman William Walker outlined the achievements and the spread around Scotland. 

He particularly emphasised the hard work carried out to take advantage of the New Housing Partnership money made available by the Scottish Office.

Cairn continues to maintain a healthy financial position and the annual report thanks the staff fro their efforts.

Bill Fernie is an unpaid director of Highland Housing and Community Care Trust and attended to represent the Trust.