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Remembering John McLardie

This article originally appeared in Scottish Housing News on Monday 29 January 2024. 

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As Govanhill Housing Association enters its 50th anniversary year, it is with a deep sadness that Govanhill Housing Association say goodbye to one of its most long-standing committee members and tenant of the association, John McLardie who has sadly passed away.

John was a champion of the community-controlled housing movement as well as a much-loved member of the community in Govanhill.

John was born in 1954 in the East End of Glasgow, where he went to school until 1972, when he took a job as a bank clerk at Clydesdale Bank on Cathcart Road. In 1975 he moved to Dover to work as a Customs Officer, and later he worked in the VAT Office in Folkestone.

John returned to Glasgow in 1991 to look after his mum following the death of his father. It was at that point he took on a tenancy with what was then the Glasgow Corporation. When he became a tenant, he started to become active in his local community.

In an interview for Greater Govanhill Magazine in 2021 John spoke about how he got involved in his local housing organisation.

He said: “I got collared by two ladies including the chair at the time who said, ‘you live in the houses up the street, would you be interested in joining the local housing organisation?’ And I thought, why not? I had lived in the area since 1968 and I thought it would be good to put something back into the community.”

This was during the ‘second stage stock transfer’ from Glasgow City Council when tenants were balloted about whether to have their homes transferred to Govanhill Housing Association. John and others were involved in leafletting and knocking on doors in support of the transfer.

He added: “We thought that if we united, the more people that came on board, the more power Govanhill Housing Association would have to co-ordinate things in the area.”

Those in support of joining with Govanhill won the ballot, and John became a Govanhill Housing Association tenant. It was not long before John joined the Govanhill Housing Association Management Committee which he chaired from November 2013 to September 2018 and again from September 2022 to December 2023 following a leave of absence from May of that year.

The chair of Govanhill Housing Association Cheryl Miller said: “During his time on the management committee and as chair, John gained respect from both fellow committee members and staff alike. He was a familiar face around the office and always interested in both what was going on in the business as well as the welfare of staff.

“He was an excellent chair seeing both sides of an argument and helping to reach a consensus even on difficult decisions. He was an asset to the association and while we will sorely miss his presence, we are extremely grateful for the time he invested with us, and the valuable contribution that he made. Aside from this, he was simply a lovely, friendly, caring man and we will all miss him on a personal level.”

Remembering John McLardie

 

John’s commitment to housing in Glasgow extended beyond the management committee at Govanhill, he was involved in housing bodies operating at across Glasgow and the rest of Scotland.

John was a member of the board at EVH (Employers in Voluntary Housing) and a spokesperson from EVH had this to say about his time with them.

“John joined the EVH Executive (Board) in April 2019 and was soon held in the highest regard by his Executive colleagues and staff alike. With quiet diligence he took his role seriously and proved to be an exemplar Board member, always looking to help where his many talents would be most useful, including various sub-committee groups and events work. We greatly miss his intelligent challenge and knowledgeable insights during our meetings as much as his friendly and warm company when he was with us.”

In 2018 John was appointed to the board of trustees at Share Learning and Development for Housing Associations where he took on the role of treasurer.

Daryl McIintosh, chief executive at Share, said: “It was clear John was a man of dedication and commitment, never one to miss a meeting, whilst being a regular at conferences and events he ensured he was always abreast of what was happening in his local community as well as the housing sector in general.

“I only knew John for a brief period, however what was evident to me over was he was a man of principle and integrity. A sociable man, he had time for everyone. His contributions and input over the years have been invaluable, and his legacy at Share will live on.”

John passed away on the 31st of December 2023, after years of dedicated service to both Govanhill Housing Association and the wider housing movement.

Giving the last word to John, he was asked in 2021 what being on a Housing Association Management Committee meant to him. In his characteristically forthright way, he emphasised the importance of making a difference, something that he, without any shadow of a doubt, achieved.

“For me personally, being on the Management Committee is about having the ability to make decisions which hopefully change the area for the better. If I didn’t think we were making a difference I would leave, I would be off the committee. I wouldn’t stick about just to make up numbers.”

John McLardie 1 October 1954 – 31 December 2023
 

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