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Oak Tree AGM hears of successful year

Attendees heard of highlights, including the conclusion of Oak Tree’s £24 million new build development.

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Oak Tree Housing Association welcomed members and guests to its 2019 AGM in the Tontine Hotel, where they heard of a very productive and busy year for the organisation.

Colin Campbell, Oak Tree Housing Association’s Chairperson, said: “We were delighted to report such a successful year for Oak Tree, which concluded with our £24 million new build development programme getting underway with a site start on the first project taking place at Auchmead Road in Greenock.

“This project, and another three additional projects to be rolled out over the next few years, puts in place a significant development programme that will deliver 191 new high-quality, energy-efficient homes across four locations in Greenock.

“It’s all part of our continuing drive to identify key development opportunities that can help us improve the lives of our tenants and wellbeing of our communities, while delivering on the strategic housing objectives for Inverclyde. It will also mean an enhanced social housing portfolio for us, bringing our total stock to nearly 2,000 properties.

“On top of this, more than £1 million was spent on existing housing stock maintenance, including the replacement of kitchens, bathrooms and heating systems.”

The many highlights of the year included the purchase of a new office in West Stewart Street, to better accommodate staff and customer requirements, offer flexibility for future expansion, and have the potential to rent out space, creating a revenue stream. The team are getting set to make the move in early 2020.

To ensure its services remain tailored to tenants’ needs, a series of engagement events included Funworld days, estate walkabouts, a lunch with new tenants and a very popular Dogs Trust roadshow where people accessed free heath checks and microchipping services for their dogs.

During the year, an online access to service for tenants was developed. Called My Home, the portal allows people to report repairs, check their rent statement, pay rents, see letters and documents and make changes to their tenancy from the comfort of their own home.

It was also a busy year for Oak Tree’s Wider Action activities, which included the £37,000 Our Community, Our Future grant initiative. Eleven local projects, including health, wellbeing and youth initiatives, benefited from the fund, with successful applicants determined via a participatory budgeting approach, where decisions about grant money distribution was made by people local to the areas where the projects run.

Oak Tree staff participated in a number of charitable activities during the year, raising money for a wide range of charities, including Greenock Women’s Aid, the British Heart Foundation, Macmillan Cancer Support and Ardgowan Hospice.

The team also continue their involvement with the Healthy Working Lives accreditation and following reassessment retained the top Gold Award status. Oak Tree has also retained its Gold level in Investors in People which sets the standard for people management.