Boost for Volunteers at Housing Options Scotland

Housing Options Scotland Pictured Margaret Follon ,Edinburgh Photograph by Martin Shields Tel 07572 457000 © Martin Shields

Thanks to funding from The Bank Of Scotland Foundation, Housing Options Scotland is delighted to announce the appointment of a new role within the organisation. Ben Parker has joined the team as Volunteer Coordinator and will be working to develop the volunteer programme at Housing Options Scotland, to benefit disabled and older people in housing need.

Head of Engagement & Development, Fraser Gilmore noted: “Volunteers play an important part in the work of Housing Options Scotland, providing peer support one to one or in groups to disabled people, older people and those who support them, getting involved with research, helping with events and conferences, helping with case studies, blogging and a whole host of other ways.

Many of our volunteers have been through the journey of trying to find the right home in the right place and want to help those who are going through the same journey as they did. So, we want to provide as many volunteering opportunities as we can, as we know volunteers greatly help the work of the organisation and the beneficiaries we serve.”

Ben himself said: “I’m excited to get started in the role, and I already have lots of ideas about what directions we can take the volunteer programme in. It’s clear just how much Housing Options Scotland value the work of their volunteers, so I’m really pleased to be able to offer an additional level of support to that. I’m looking forward to harnessing all the energy and ideas of everyone involved in Housing Options Scotland, growing the volunteer opportunities we offer, all to the benefit of our clients.”

Housing Options Scotland has helped thousands of people since its creation in 1997. Amongst these was Margaret Follon, who contacted the organisation in 2010 seeking help with her housing situation as she was stuck in hospital after needing major surgery on her spine.  Margaret remembers: “After 9 months in hospital I was facing the prospect of being discharged to my third storey tenement flat with no prospect of returning to work. HOS helped me find the accessible bungalow I now live in which enabled me to return to work for 4 years and enjoy my retirement living a fully independent life.” Today as Chair of the organisation, she wants to help others by sharing her experience and showing them that accessible housing is available to anyone.

If you would like to find out more about our volunteer programme, click here:


A day in the life of our Military Matters Housing Options Broker – Karen Campbell

Karen CampbellIts that time again! Another fascinating ‘day in the life’ interview with one of the Housing Options Scotland team.

In part 4 of this series we’ve been speaking with our Military Matters Housing Options Broker Karen Campbell. Lets see what she had to say:

1.What does a Military Matters Housing Options Broker do? 

My role is quite new in the organisation.  I help veterans and members of the Armed Forces Community, who have a disability, to look at their housing options.  I work over the phone, email and face-to-face with clients to help them until they find a solution to whatever housing issue they have.

2. What is your commute like in the morning?

My commute is very short.  I walk from my back door to the bottom of my garden where I have a garden office that I work from.

3.What is the first thing you do when you get to your desk? Tell us about your workspace, is it tidy or messy?

The first thing I do is turn my heater on!  My garden office is very lovely but usually needs heating up first thing.  Then I log on to my emails and make sure my phone is turned on and charged up for the day.  I usually have a cup of tea at the ready.  My desk is very tidy.  I lose my concentration if I have too much clutter lying around.  I much prefer to make notes on my computer rather than using paper.

4.What does agile working mean to you?

For me, agile working means everything.  It means I’ve been able to get back into employment, with 2 small children at home that’s not always easy.  It means I can choose when I work so our childcare costs are much more manageable.  It also makes me feel valued as an employee because I know that my family life isn’t seen as a burden at work, I think there can be a lot of pressure to keep family life separate from your work which is hard because the two don’t exist in isolation.

5. How do you communicate with your colleagues?

We keep in daily contact on WhatsApp and we talk on the phone.  We also have regular team catch ups and one-to-ones.

6. What do you listen to at your desk? Or do you like silence and why?

I usually work without any background music etc.  Because I’m in my garden office there are lots of background noises of people passing by and bird song.  Or sometimes I listen to the weather, wind and rain being the most atmospheric!

7. What does a normal day look like for you?

That’s pretty hard to describe.  Although I’ve mentioned my home working I also spend time out and about.  So, last week for example, I went to a Housing Group meeting with military and housing organisations in Midlothian, I was at my desk speaking with clients over the phone and email and I attended a housing brief at a barracks in Edinburgh.

8. What is your favourite thing to do for lunch when you are working?

I like to take my dog, Poppy, for a walk.  I like to make myself some lunch and pop the radio on in my kitchen.  If the weather is nice I like to sit in the garden where I have the added advantage of not seeing all the mess my kids have left all over the house!

9. What do you find most interesting about your job?

There are so many interesting things.  I love being able to help people find a solution to their housing problem.  Many people come to us in very difficult circumstances.  At the moment, as my role is quite new, I’m spending a lot of time finding out about different organisations and what help they offer veterans.  I’m finding that very interesting as there’s so much help available and working together can only be a good thing for our clients.

10. Tell us one thing that most people wouldn’t know about you?

I love to sing and I play a little piano (very amateurly).  I used to sing in my local choir but for the moment I am happy singing at home with my 3 year old.   She is the top Musical Director in our house and could give Simon Cowell a run for his money.


11. What is the best thing about working for Housing Options Scotland?

Helping people with their housing, oh and working with a lovely team, oh and agile working.  Whoops, that’s 3!

Well done to Jil Dyson for her epic Kilt walk!

Unknown-1On Sunday the 28th April our very own Jil Dyson walked an epic 22.6 miles in the Glasgow Kilt Walk in support of Housing Options Scotland’s work.

All the way from Glasgow Green in the east end of the city to Moss O Balloch Park in West Dunbartonshire on the shore’s of Loch Lomond.

This was Jil’s second year doing the Kilt Walk and she managed to beat her time from last year by 2 hours!

Jil raised a more than £240 for Housing Options Scotland and we would like to thank everyone very much who supported Jil on this walk and for supporting our work.

Everyone at Housing Options Scotland would like to offer a massive congratulations to Jil for completing this epic challenge.

Here are some photos of the day:


New Supporting Disabled Children, Young People and their Families – Website

Today the Scottish Government Launched a new site called “Supporting Disabled Children, Young People and their families”.

Maree Todd, Minister for Children and Young People, launched this site on behalf of the Scottish Government today.

You can find out more by following this link:

A day in the life of the Head of Casework Services – Olivia Lindsay

Studio-31At Housing Options Scotland, we have been asking our colleagues what a ‘day in the life’ is like for them. In part 3 of this series, we will be talking to Olivia Lindsay.

Olivia is our Head of Casework Services and this is what she had to say:

1. What does the head of casework services do?

My job is mainly to support our team of brokers, making sure they have everything they need to help their clients find the right home in the right place. I also have a caseload of clients that I assist; these tend to be the more complex cases. As well as this, I work with our CEO on the more strategic elements of Housing Options Scotland.

2. What is your commute like in the morning?

I have a desk space in Glasgow that I use most days, unless I am out meeting clients or attending events. It is only a short drive from my home so the commute isn’t too bad. Because we have flexible working at HOS, I can leave a little later and miss the rush hour traffic!

3. What is the first thing you do when you get to your desk? Tell us about your workspace, is it tidy or messy?

The first think I do is make a cup of tea! Then I set up my laptop and check my emails. This usually gives me an indication of what my day is going to consist of!

4. What does agile working mean to you?

Agile working means flexibility, and this is very important to me. I like having the option to work at my desk space, or at home, or anywhere else with a wi-fi connection! This allows me to switch up my routine depending on how I’m feeling. It’s amazing what a change of location can do for your productivity!

5. How do you communicate with your colleagues?

We have a WhatsApp group that we use for general communication. Here we let everyone know when we start work, when we go for lunch, and when we finish. Other than that we use email and calls. I like to call my colleagues at least once a day just to see how they are getting on.

6. What do you listen to at your desk? Or do you like silence and why?

It really depends on my mood! Sometimes I listen to classical music if I need to concentrate, or if I am tired and needing a boost I will listen to something more upbeat. If I am having a very busy day however and I am on and off the phone, I tend not to listen to anything.

7. What does a normal day look like for you?

There is no normal day at HOS. The only thing that I do absolutely every day is check and reply to emails, and even then I never know what is going to be in my inbox! Last week for example I did a lot of travelling. I went up to the highlands for a client visit, then I was in Stirling to do a presentation for my Housing Studies Post-Graduate course.

8. What is your favourite thing to do for lunch when you are working?

There is a café in my building that does really good sandwiches and coffee. If the weather is nice I really like to go and sit by the canal with my lunch and watch the world go by.

9. What do you find most interesting about your job?

The people have to be the most interesting; we come across so many different types of personalities every week!

10. Tell us one thing that most people wouldn’t know about you?

In October last year I trekked to Everest Base Camp!

11. Tell us something about your job that most people wouldn’t know?

Most people don’t know that HOS is an agile organisation as this is not the norm. Lots of people are surprised when I tell them this, and assumed that I would work in an office alongside my colleagues!

12. What is the best thing about working for Housing Options Scotland?

The best thing about working for Housing Options Scotland is the opportunities that it has given me. I have had the chance to attend many events and conferences, to take up lots of training, and to complete a Post-Graduate degree in Housing Studies.

Kilt Walk for Housing Options Scotland

Unknown-3On the 28th of April, our very own Jil Dyson will be taking part in this year’s Kilt Walk. Jil will be doing the longest walk called “The Might Stride” which is an epic 22.6 miles from Glasgow Green all the way to Moss O Balloch Park.

Jil said “After completing the Glasgow Kiltwalk in 2018 I wanted to challenge myself again. This year my chosen charity is Housing Options Scotland. At Housing Options Scotland we give housing advice and information to older people, disabled people, military veterans and their families.”

We are delighted that Jil has chosen us as her charity to support and we wish her all the luck in the world with the walk.

If you would like to support Jil, follow this link:

Vacancies at Abbeyfield Scotland

Unknown-1Abbeyfield Scotland provide safe, secure quality accommodation where older people can maintain their independence but benefit from a little help and enjoy companionship and company – when they want it.

They currently have vacancies at their Lenzie and Giffnock locations.

Service Manager Carolynn Malone says:

“We have some ground floor ( ready to move in ) flats in Lenzie – beautiful location and stunning bright airy apartments and mature gardens.

Lenzie  is a great location for getting around with a direct transport links on the door step and a range of shopping and eating places to select from.

Giffnock has smaller flats that are also  ready to move in to and we can also offer Unknownsome short breaks for carers or  people who want to live together . We are also upgrading the kitchens for new tenants.”

You can find out more about these properties by clicking the links below:



You can contact Abbeyfield by going online at, by calling 0131 225 7801 or by emailing

Cyber Scotland Week

CSW-BlueThis year the Scottish Government and ScotlandIS, with key partners from across Scotland, will launch a new initiative, Cyber Scotland Week (22nd April – 28th April 2019). 

A host of events will showcase the exceptional innovation taking place in the sector, while raising awareness of good cyber resilience practice and promoting a career within the industry. Cyber Scotland Week will bring together influencers, experts and the next generation of talent to explore and learn about the potential rewards and challenges in this fast-changing threat landscape. 

Events taking part during Cyber Scotland Week include: 

 The UK Government’s flagship cyber event, CYBERUK 2019, will bring leading international cyber intelligence and security experts together and provide a platform for business leaders to learn how to protect and secure their organisations’ information, finances and reputation; 

 A cyber-themed event for 500 school children at the Glasgow Science Centre offering three floors of interactive exhibits, hands on workshops, including a Cryptography and DIY Gamer workshop, with opportunities to ‘meet the expert’ and learn about cyber career paths and opportunities; 

 The Big Data Show, an interactive and fun piece of theatre that helps young people to see for themselves how criminals can hack their devices and steal personal data, performed in Glasgow and elsewhere; 

 LEAD Scotland will be hosting a cyber resilience workshop for people with disabilities, carers and volunteers with the aim of encouraging those who attend to pass their learning on to others; 

 ‘Cyber Security for the SME’, an event hosted by the Perth College, University of the Highland and Islands, will provide an overview of the cyber risks associated with doing business in the modern landscape, and the approaches that can be employed to prepare and respond to incidents should they happen; 

 A conference for college staff, hosted by College Development Network, will offer ideas and resources to embed cyber resilience into their learning and teaching while helping them understand the range of cyber security career opportunities they can promote; 

 CBI Scotland will host a morning session for their members to discuss supply chain risk and 2019 risks and challenges; 

 And Scottish Union Learning will organise a range of cyber stalls and drop-in activities across Scotland, offering bite-size sessions on how to be more safe and secure in the cyber world. 

The Scottish Government and ScotlandIS are encouraging organisations, large and small, across the country to consider hosting their own event. 

To find out more, visit the 

A day in the life of a Housing Options Broker – Jil Dyson

At Housing Options Scotland we have been asking our colleagues what ‘a day in the life’ is like for them. In part 2 of this series we talked to one of our newest colleagues Jil Dyson.

Jil is one of our Housing Options Brokers, who provide housing information, advice and support to disabled and older people in all 32 local authorities of Scotland. This is what Jil had to say:

1.What is your commute like in the morning?

Its awful – I have to go all the way from my bedroom downstairs to my study up stairs! (Not really 🙂 LOL) . Working from home has made such a big difference in terms of avoiding the daily commute. As I don’t live near the city centre of Glasgow, when I used to have to commute every day it took so much time from my morning/evening. I do enjoy the days I get to commute and see different places all around Scotland, but for regular mornings, not having to deal with the rush hour commute is great.


2. What is the first thing you do when you get to your desk? Tell us about your workspace, is it tidy or messy?

The first thing I do when I get to my desk in the morning is ‘clock in’ and tell the HOS team my plans for the day. I like to plan my day, so once I open up my laptop I make a quick plan on my laptop or iPad about things to do for the day ahead. My workspace is relatively tidy, I am organised and like to keep my work nice and tidy at my desk, so that if I need something quickly I have it at hand.

3. What does agile working mean to you?

Agile working to me means not having to worry about taking a half day at work to sit and wait in for workmen (who may or may not arrive). It allows me to not have to worry about my dogs being in all day themselves and I can take them out on walks during my lunch break. I think working flexibly makes my working day easier on a daily basis.

4. How do you communicate with your colleagues?

When I tell people I work from home they always ask – “Do you not miss being able to bounce ideas off of someone in else in the office?”. I always answer that I can bounce ideas off of people, I just do it through email or call rather than always being face to face. I know everyone on the team is a call/email away if I need them. I do enjoy team meetings and being able to see everyone on the team when we get together.

5. What do you listen to at your desk? Or do you like silence and why?

It depends. Sometimes I listen to music, other days I have the news on in the background – but mostly I like working in the peace and quiet.

6. What does a normal day look like for you?

That’s hard to answer! Usually, a normal day for me involves speaking with clients through email or phone, getting some information about housing sent out to them, and helping clients if they need further information or support with anything. Other days I can be out and about at events or out doing a visit to a client’s home. Every day is different and I enjoy that no two days are the same.

7. What is your favourite thing to do for lunch when you are working?

I actually really like going into my living room and watching an episode of a TV program! If I’ve missed something on the box I wanted to watch the night before I will usually pop it on and watch it over lunch. I also enjoy taking my dogs out a walk during lunch when the weather is good.

8. What do you find most interesting about your job?

I think continuous learning is a great aspect of my job. Since I started in August I have attended so many interesting events, which have allowed me to expand my knowledge of housing. I also really like meeting new clients and working with all different groups of people from all across Scotland.

9. Tell us one thing that most people wouldn’t know about you?

I am extremely bad at keeping surprises. As soon as I buy someone a gift, 95% of the time I will tell them what it is before they get a chance to open it.

10. Tell us something about your job that most people wouldn’t know?

There isn’t one day the same.

11. What is the best thing about working for Housing Options Scotland?

There are many good things about working for Housing Options Scotland. Obviously helping clients solve their housing problems is a big one! But other aspects such as agile working are a definite benefit. I don’t miss the daily commute to and from work at all.


We’d like to thank Jil very much for telling us what a ‘day in the life’ of a Housing Options Broker is like for her. If you haven’t seen part 1 in this series, click here to have read: A day in the life – Susan Mendelovitch

Housing Options Scotland is going on the Road

hos-nationwide-social-1Thanks to the support of the Nationwide Building Society and The National Lottery Community Fund Scotland, Housing Options Scotland will be going on the road this year and we might be coming to a town near you!

Our staff will be traveling around the country giving housing information, advice and support to disabled and older people at venues across Scotland. So, if you need some advice about your housing or support someone who does, why not come down and see us!

Our advice is free, we never turn anyone away and we can support you to find the right home in the right place for as long as you need us.

You can find us at:

Nationwide Building Society                                          25thMarch – 11am to 3pm
10 East port, Dunfermline,
Fife, KY12 7JB

Nationwide Building Society                                          8thApril – 11am to 3pm
2 Church Crescent, Dumfries,
Dumfries & Galloway, DG1 1EW

Nationwide Building Society                                          23rd April – 11am to 3pm
71 George Street, Edinburgh,

Nationwide Building Society                                          29thApril – 11am to 3pm
92/96 Argyle Street, Glasgow,
G2 8BQ

Nationwide Building Society                                          3rdMay – 11am to 3pm
147/149 High Street, Falkirk,

Nationwide Building Society                                          9thMay – 11am to 3pm
10/10A St. Mirren Street, Paisley,
Renfrewshire, PA1 1XW

Nationwide Building Society                                          10thMay – 11am to 3pm
178 High street, Ayr,
South Ayrshire, KA7 1RQ

Nationwide Building Society                                          13thMay – 11am to 3pm
Unit 51, Princess Mall, East Kilbride,
South Lanarkshire, G74 1LB

Nationwide Building Society                                          23rdMay – 11am to 3pm
133-141 Union Street, Aberdeen,
AB11 6BH

Nationwide Building Society                                          24thMay – 11am to 3pm
59 Reform Street, Dundee,