Berwickshire houses transfer comes of age

Staff and tenants past and present get together to celebrate Berwickshire Housing Association turning 21.
Staff and tenants past and present get together to celebrate Berwickshire Housing Association turning 21.

Berwickshire led the way in 1995 by becoming Scotland’s first large scale transfer of houses from a council to a housing association.

Since then other local authorities have followed Berwickshire District Council, and to mark the 21st anniversary of the transfer and the establishment of Berwickshire Housing Association, a garden party was held at BHA’s head office in Duns for staff, tenants, board members and volunteers.

Philip Jones, the association’s first chief executive said: “So many people contributed to the success of BHA – the district councillors who came up with the plan, the legal and financial professionals, the regulators who got to grips with these arrangements, the volunteers who became board members responsible for the direction and governance of the association, staff who committed their careers to this unknown and untried organisation and the tenants who had faith that we would do what we said we would and stuck by us throughout.

Alick Hay, BHA’s first convener added: “The process of transfer was long, convoluted and often frustrating but it was ultimately achieved at the beginning of September 1995.

Helen Forsyth, the current chief executive said: “The future will continue to bring challenges. It will require us to demonstrate our commitment to the broader community by initiating change through our focus on innovation in order to solve problems for our tenants and the community, making BHA more sustainable and effective in years to come”

Convener, Andrew Watson concluded: “BHA has always tried to its very best for its tenants and its staff since the beginning.

“The organisation has maintained its focus on delivering excellent and affordable housing and housing services for the people and communities of Berwickshire.”