Housing Animation Competition!

My Post-2

Do you want to be in with the chance of winning £50 of high street vouchers?

Is there something about housing you would like to learn about?

Then read on….

 

Finding a home can be a complicated process, even more so if you have a disability or long standing illness, so Housing Options Scotland will be producing 3 animations about housing to provide people with information on what is important to them, and we want to hear from you on what these animations should be about!

It’s very simple to get involved, if you are a disabled or older person living in Scotland all you need to do is email fraser@housingoptionsscotland.org.uk by the 6th September at 12pm and tell us what you think we should make an animation about and why.

It can be anything from renting to ownership, adaptations to mortgages, as long as its about housing and you can tell us why this subject is important to you! Maybe you rented a home and you found the process difficult, perhaps you bought a home and you think people would be interested in the process.

So send us an email of no more than 150 words and if we pick your idea, you’ll receive £50 of high street vouchers, we’ll credit you in the final animation and you’ll get to see it before anyone else does! (please include your name and which local authority you live in)

Good Luck! We look forward to hearing your ideas!

Abbeyfield Scotland has vacancies

AbbeyfieldAre you are over 55 and want to remain independent but can no longer stay at home? Abbeyfield Scotland provides supported accommodation in a small and family friendly environment for those who are not yet ready for a care or residential nursing home.

People living in Abbeyfield have said “I was reluctant to leave my own home at first and I certainly didn’t want to go into an “Old People’s Home” – Abbeyfield is nothing like that, you have your own space. We all enjoy coffee, activities and home cooked meals together”.

Abbeyfield is a really special place and it has been the perfect move for me.  Loneliness is such a debilitating thing but Abbeyfield offers a warm, friendly and secure environment that gives me peace of mind. I’m sure there must be others out there thinking about a move and looking for a bit of help. I’d urge them to find out more about what Abbeyfield has to offer.

Abbeyfield currently have vacancies in several of their properties across Scotland, click here to find out more: https://www.abbeyfield-scotland.com

A day in the life of our Head of Engagement & Development – Fraser Gilmore

FrasertrainingIn part 7 of our series, we asked our Head of Engagement & Development, Fraser Gilmore, what ‘a day in the life’ at Housing Options Scotland was like for him. Here’s what he had to say:

1. What does the Head of Engagement & Development do?

I have a very varied role in the organisation, currently I am concentrating very much on fundraising, project development and external engagement. One part of my work that people will notice the most, is our voice on twitter, facebook, our website and any press releases or articles, if you have read any of these recently, chances are they were written (or edited) by me.

2. What is your commute like in the morning?

Like most people in the organisation, it totally depends on what the day brings. If I have a desk day, then I will be working from home. If I have a meeting, an event to go to, a conference to attend or a talk to do, I can be anywhere in Scotland. In the last year alone, I have been as far north as Thurso and as far south as Stranraer.

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

The first thing I do when I get to my desk is switch on my computer, log into work through our WhatsApp page to tell the team what I’ll be doing that day, take a big sip of coffee and jump in to my day. If I am out and about, the big sip of coffee will be taken in my car or public transport to get me to wherever I am going.

My desk itself is always very tidy, I am a big believer in ‘a tidy house, a tidy mind’, I find mess very distracting.

4. What does agile working mean to you?

I have worked in a variety of work settings and agile working definitely works best for me. If I have a desk day at home, I can really get in to what ever I am doing that day without distraction and I really feel that it makes me more productive. But the best thing about it for me is work life balance, if I am working from home, it means  I get to spend the day with my wee dog Tess in an environment that I am most comfortable.

5. How do you communicate with colleagues?

We embrace technology at HOS, so we use WhatsApp for telling people where we are and what we are doing, we have a Cloud server which means that we can work on documents and files together from different locations, some of us use video conferencing to have meetings together and we have smart phones so we can keep in touch via text, email and phone calls from where ever we are.

But it’s always important to have face to face meetings, which we do one to one or at team meetings. Even though geographically our team are based all over, we work very closely together.

6. What do you listen to at your desk? or do you like silence?

I generally start my day having the news on in the background and then switch to music quite quickly. What I listen to totally depends on my mood, but I like something with a good beat.

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

There is no such thing, LOL! That’s what I love about my job. I can be at my desk one day, at a meeting or event the next. No day or week is the same.

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

Having a nice sandwich and playing with my wee dog Tess.

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

I am a people person and in my role I get to meet some amazing people. One thing I really love doing is  case study interviews with clients we have supported, by this point they have usually moved in to a new home or have had their current home adapted for their needs, so I get to see how the hard work of the team has helped an individual/ family. I then get to communicate this to others who may be going through the same journey through film or text.

10. Tell us one thing that people might not know about you?

I love to sing!

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

HOS is a brilliant organisation to work for and its really hard to pick one thing. We are a close knit team who are all very supportive of each other, agile working means a great work life balance and I am really interested and engaged in my job.

A day in the life of our Volunteer Coordinator – Ben Parker

 

Would you likHousing Options Scotland Pictured  Margaret Follon ,Edinburgh  Photograph by Martin Shields  Tel 07572 457000 www.martinshields.com © Martin Shieldse to find out more about what our team do at Housing Options Scotland? Well here’s your chance! In part 6 of this series, we asked our very own Ben Parker what ‘a day in the life’ was like for our Volunteer Coordinator. Lets see what he had to say:

1.What does the Volunteer Coordinator for HOS do?

My role is to work with our current crop of volunteers to expand and develop the volunteer programme at HOS, as well as to find opportunities to recruit new volunteers and increase the reach of what we do. It’s a new role within the organisation so there’s an element of freedom in terms of what projects I’m able to work on.

2. What is your commute like in the morning?

I work part time and have a second job, so my commute depends on my schedule and where I’m coming from or going to next. Sometimes I work from a co-working space in Edinburgh so days based there involve a short walk into the city centre.

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

Without fail, the first thing I do on a morning is open my tracking spreadsheet where I record all the different tasks and projects I’m working on. Usually, I scribble some things down onto paper to tick off and litter my desk with Post-It notes too. Despite this, I do like to keep my workspace organized and once I’ve signed off for the day, I always have a tidy-up ready for the next time I’m in. I often use my desk on an evening for different projects too, so I like to have a good system for finishing up on a night.

4. What does agile working mean to you?

Because I have a second job and other responsibilities too, agile working means being able to easily fit my hours around different commitments. Knowing that I can work from pretty much anywhere helps me to plan my time much more effectively.

5. How do you communicate with your colleagues?

As a team, we use WhatsApp and message each other updates through the day. I usually speak to my line manager, Fraser, once a day on the phone but if we are planning on having a more in-depth chat about something, we like to meet in person or use Zoom – a video conferencing program.

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

I always have music playing – silence is very distracting! Usually, what I listen to is very eclectic and dictated by my mood.

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

That’s a tricky question to answer! Most days start with a chat with Fraser, a review of my emails and making a quick plan for the day (or evaluation of where I’m at in terms of my week). Beyond that, things are very varied.

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

I usually eat something light and healthy, and make sure that I go for a quick walk round the block too. At this point I get jealous thinking of my colleagues who have dogs in their lives to walk!

9. What do you find most interesting about your job?
Because my role is new to the organisation, the most interesting thing for me is having the opportunity to mould/shape things in whatever direction I see fit. It’s exciting to know that I have lots of freedom in my role.

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

I’m scared of mice!

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

When I speak to people about my job, they often forget that we are a nationwide charity and that our volunteers are therefore based all around the country. That’s something which people often struggle to get their heads around.

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

At this stage of my career, the best thing about working for HOS is the development opportunities I’ve been offered. Everyone is so friendly and keen to support me – I’m learning so much from the wealth of experience of my colleagues!

 

If you would like to find out more about Volunteering for Housing Options Scotland, you can contact Ben at Ben@housingoptionsscotland.org.uk

Housing Options Scotland launches a new Volunteering programme for professionals

 

Are you a professional working in the third sector? Looking to volunteer? Housing Options Scotland needs you!

Housing Options Scotland are developing a new and innovative volunteer opportunity. The project – Housing Buddies– will match current Housing Options clients with volunteer professionals who will support them with their housing journey. Whether you are retired and looking for a meaningful volunteering project to be involved with, or just keen to offer your time and skills, we want to hear from you.

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

Volunteer buddies will support clients with their housing journey. Help comes in a whole host of ways – for example, supporting people to fill out housing application forms; helping to bid for social housing; accompanying people to homelessness interviews and property viewings, or anything else to help clients find the right home in the right place.

 
CEO, Moira Bayne said:
“This is a great opportunity for people with expertise in housing or experience working with disabled people, older people or members of the armed forces community to put their skills to practical use by helping our clients when they most need it.

Housing Buddies is a very flexible type of volunteering. You can be involved on a one-off basis or have a longer-term commitment. We can offer opportunities for personal development to fit around your other commitments and it’s a fantastic way to positively impact people’s lives.”

 

Newly appointed Volunteer Coordinator, Ben Parker said:
“I am excited to see the Housing Buddies project get off the ground. We know that there can be lots of barriers for people searching for appropriate housing so to be able to develop a volunteer programme which will support people to overcome those barriers is a real positive.

My role will be to co-ordinate the programme and I’m looking forward to working with lots of different people on the project – from recently retired professionals wanting to dip their toe back in the world of housing, to others who are just keen to volunteer their time and knowledge.”

Volunteers will be paid expenses and offered full training for the role. The level of commitment and involvement required to be a Housing Buddy is highly flexible and volunteer led. Interested? Contact Ben Parker at ben@housingoptionsscotland.org.ukor on 07394566633.

A day in the life of our Customer Communications Manager – Pedro Cameron

Housing Options / 2018 Photograph by Martin Shields  Tel 07572 457000 www.martinshields.com © Martin Shields

It’s time for another  ‘Day in the life’ interview with one of our team here at Housing Options Scotland.

In part 5 of this series, we have been speaking to our Customer Communications Manager, Pedro Cameron. lets see what he has to say:

1.What does a the communications manager for HOS do?

My job positions me as first port of call for all of our clients. I speak to new clients over the phone or by email and give them some initial advice, before encouraging and helping them to refer themselves to our service. I also process all referrals as they come in, to be allocated to our brokers, and also help our brokers to perform their duties.

2. What is your commute like in the morning?

I work afternoons after working for another third sector organisation in the mornings – so I have a nice long walk through Glasgow at lunchtime back to my desk at my home office!

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

I’ll check my to-do list from yesterday, add new tasks to it and then choose some music to work to! I like to keep my desk tidy – “tidy room, tidy mind” as they say!

4. What does agile working mean to you?

It’s great! I have a dog, Angus, who I don’t like to leave alone for long so it’s great to be able to have him with me. I’m also a musician and it means if that takes me elsewhere then I can work easily from wherever I am. As long as there is phone signal and wi-fi then I’m good to go!

5. How do you communicate with your colleagues?

We communicate via whatsapp, chatting on the phone and email. Despite us all working in different places, we communicate with each other very effectively and get to see each other at regular catch ups and team meetings.

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

I am always listening to music or podcasts or the radio – I can’t go a moment without listening to something, and I find it helps me concentrate.

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

My role is quite wide ranging – but usually I’ll be on the phone for much of the day to all sorts of different people and putting through new referrals. There’s no such thing as a “normal” day at HOS I don’t think!

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

As I only work in the afternoons, I’ve usually already taken the dog for a walk and had something to eat before I start.

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

I love speaking to all different kinds of people and also learning about what is out there for people in terms of housing and support. Every week I seem to find out about a new service or charity out there!

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

I’ve moved house 23 times in 30 years – so I know a little bit about moving property!

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

I love working for HOS for so many reasons, but the team are amazing to work with, and being able to help people in difficult situations makes it all worthwhile!

Boost for Volunteers at Housing Options Scotland

Housing Options Scotland Pictured Margaret Follon ,Edinburgh Photograph by Martin Shields Tel 07572 457000 www.martinshields.com © 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: https://www.housingoptionsscotland.org.uk/volunteering/

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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:

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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: https://www.gov.scot/publications/supporting-disabled-children-young-people-and-their-families/