Elizabeth Whitson has been elected as the new chairman of Angus Housing Association and her first act in her new capacity was to make a presentation to outgoing chairman Sheena Welsh, who has stepped down after five years in the role.
Between them, these two great champions of housing associations in Scotland have given over 70 years of service to the cause of providing decent homes for the families of Angus and in more recent years, Dundee. Elizabeth joined the Angus Housing Association committee in June 1977 while Sheena is a relative newcomer, having only attended her first committee of Management meeting in 1986.
Both have seen massive changes during their time as committee members.
As Elizabeth puts it: “Despite all of the numerous policy shifts and u-turns and the funding feasts followed by funding famines which have been sent to test our resolve, we have seen off the agencies like the Housing Corporation in Scotland, Scottish Homes and Communities Scotland while we have kept on delivering what is fundamentally important – good quality homes for families who need them at the most affordable rents we can deliver.”
Sheena’s conclusions from over 30 years as a voluntary committee member are very similar. She said: “Despite all the changes in the bureaucracy and the different political views on the housing association model, we have seen the Scottish housing landscape change beyond all recognition in our time as committee members. Whether it has been in house design, energy efficiency, special needs provision, governance, service delivery, tenancy rights or equality of opportunity, housing associations have been at the forefront of instigating vast improvements during the past 30 years.
“Unfortunately, other policies such as Right to Buy have left us with a housing market that is still fundamentally broken. This leaves us with new challenges but we are certain that future generations will step up to meet these and for the next few years, we’ll still be around to help with that struggle.”
Following her election as the new chairman, Elizabeth presented Sheena with a Ron Lawson print and a bouquet as a token of Angus Housing Association’s gratitude for her outstanding leadership over the last five years.