Ceremony marks launch of Bob Allan Conference Centre
A ceremony has been held to mark the opening of a conference centre named after the man who led the transfer of Glasgow’s council housing stock.
The Bob Allan Conference Centre has been created within Saracen House by ng homes after it decided to honour him as the inspiration behind Europe’s largest housing transfer in 2002, which saw 80,000 Glasgow City Council homes transferred to the not-for-profit Glasgow Housing Association (GHA).
Tenants, residents and the city itself have been reaping great benefits ever since through locally controlled housing associations such as ng homes.
Bob Allan, who died nine years ago, was passionate in his support for people to have not only a decent home and a decent job but to be able to fulfil their aspirations in life.
ng homes is one of the best examples of how housing associations have benefitted from stock transfer and is now a leading provider of quality homes in the north of Glasgow. It has previously been involved in marking Bob’s contribution to the regeneration of Glasgow through a lifelong learning project and a family fun day.
With the naming of the conference centre there is now a permanent memorial to Bob’s legacy and fittingly in Possilpark where his wife Chrissie worked in social work services for many years.
The Lord Provost of Glasgow, Councillor Sadie Docherty, Bob’s wife Chrissie and Teresa McNally, a former chair of the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations unveiled a plaque and artwork located just outside the conference rooms.
The Lord Provost said: “Bob’s commitment to people and their housing needs is legendary and it’s a fitting tribute that is being recognised for his lifelong passion: to enable people to fulfil their ambitions.
“He understood basic necessities like a decent house, an education and an appreciation of the value of lifelong learning, as well as a decent job, as being fundamental.”
ng homes staff and board members were joined at the ceremony by Bob’s children and grandchildren as well as many former colleagues now working in a wide variety of housing organisations around Glasgow and beyond.
Teresa McNally was the leader of Clackmannan Council where Bob was chief executive before taking up the transfer challenge early in the new millennium. She told how Bob led the fight to save Clackmannan Council from being axed as part of local government reform in the 90s.
She said: “Bob was sound and creative. His strategic vision served us well. Under his stewardship the foundations were laid for the improvements to the County’s infrastructure including the creation of a Smart Village and convincing the powers that be to re-open the Alloa railway line. He also put forward the business case for a new road crossing over the Forth to be built west of Kincardine and so much more.
“He created a culture that gave staff, often for the first time, the confidence to value their thoughts and ideas. He gave them opportunities to think out of the box and encouraged people at all levels to develop their skills. Bob excelled as a mentor.”
Robert Tamburrini, chief executive of ng homes, said: “You cannot underestimate the importance of that first building brick, the successful ballot, in the regeneration of not only housing but communities.
“Bob’s vision was for more than just bricks and mortar. The transfer of housing from council ownership to housing associations freed up millions of pounds for long term investment in quality homes. The work created and sustained many new jobs and other initiatives were developed – for example, within our own organisation, ng2 was created and has provided many employment opportunities.”
Bob’s wife Chrissie and their family are delighted with the recognition. She added: “It is just great that Bob’s hard work has been recognised in this way and for me it is just lovely for it to be located in an area where I worked for so long.”