Book launch celebrates 21 years of Weslo Housing

High HopesWeslo Housing Management is marking its 21st year of operation with the launch of a book charting the fascinating rise of one of Scotland’s most successful independent social landlords.

Launched on Monday November 30, ‘High Hopes - The Weslo Story’ was the result of almost two years’ painstaking research by renowned author and academic Dr Raymond Ross who takes an independent and objective analysis of the Weslo story.

Weslo emerged from the controversial large-scale voluntary transfer of Scottish Homes’ housing stock in the early 1990s, and its early years were dominated by the many political factors dictating Scottish social housing policy at the time. The book charts the rise of the Bathgate-based company as it strove to differentiate itself from the typical housing association model, campaigning for reform and good governance throughout the Scottish social housing sector.

Weslo now owns 2,300 properties throughout West Lothian and Bo’ness with an annual turnover of £8.5 million, employing 83 members of staff. The company also acts as estate manager to some 3,500 private tenants who have acquired their property through Right to Buy.

High Hopes tells the story of this unique journey from an objective perspective taking into account the views of the many involved - including Weslo directors, employees and tenants as well as ‘outside’ observers, housing experts and others in the social housing sector. The result is a compelling social and political narrative on both local and national social housing policy and priorities over the last two decades.

Author Raymond Ross said: “This has been a unique commission which soon became a fascinating journey in social history. There are many voices in the book who argue that Weslo has changed the face of social housing in Scotland for the greater good, and I have tried hard to show how the company has influenced and indeed pioneered critical policy areas such as community outreach and tenant participation and engagement.

“Right from the start, it was made clear that this was to be an independent and objective analysis of the Weslo story, and I hope it will be one which will add substance and interest to students of housing, social and local history alike.”

Mike Bruce and Raymond Ross
Mike Bruce and Raymond Ross

High Hopes, which takes its name from the Frank Sinatra crooning classic of the 1950s, is the brainchild of Weslo chief executive Mike Bruce who was instrumental in the company’s formation in 1994 as it negotiated the initial and sometimes difficult separation from Scottish Homes.

He added: “Much like the lyrics of the song High Hopes, this is a celebration of how the little guy can succeed against all odds, learning some important lessons along the way. Our story is one of perseverance, passion and sometimes bloody minded obduracy – but it is also a fitting testament to the dedication and commitment of our directors and staff members over the years who have all shared our goal to do things differently and improve the lives of the people and communities we serve.”

The book contains a ringing endorsement from political firebrand and ex-‘Father of the House’ Tam Dalyell, who served as MP for West Lothian and latterly Linlithgow and whose wife Kathleen was on Weslo’s board of directors between 1994 and 2005.

He said: “My judgement of Weslo is based on the view of the tenants. They’re the ultimate judges and you can’t argue with their judgement which has always been one of excellence. Tenant satisfaction is typically very high. You cannot argue with that. Excellence is excellence.”

‘High Hopes – The Weslo Story’ is now available from Weslo Housing Management – visit to order a copy.


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