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Demonstrating social impact within the Scottish housing sector

Blog by Michael McLaughlin, Social Insight Lead, Scotland.

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Starting 2020, I had more reason that most to kick off the year on the wrong footing. The new year brought a new start, beginning my role as HACT’s Social Insight Lead, based at SFHA. 

Being really excited to get going, I thought starting in the first full week in January made perfect sense, however, I hadn’t really accounted for the difficulty of starting back any job after two weeks off at Christmas. Having not been out of the house before lunchtime since Santa had arrived, getting a four and a five-year-old out their bed and ready for school for the first time since the middle of December, finding that the well ironed clothes I’d left out didn’t fit me as well as they did prior to Christmas, ironing another set of clothes, doing the school run slightly behind time, and travelling to a new office, was a bit more stressful than I had certainly planned for!

Though, in all seriousness, the team at SFHA have been great in welcoming me on board, and I am delighted to be working to bring the great work on social value that HACT has carried out for some time to SFHA’s members and to help bring a collaborative approach to the Scottish housing sector.

Having worked in various housing association roles for the past 16 years, I am massively aware of the great work carried out within their communities as well as the importance in being able to quantify the impact of this and the real challenges there are in doing so.

Thankfully, HACT’s Social Value Calculator and community and social insight tools are beginning to make this far more accessible, appreciated, and quantifiable within the UK social housing landscape. This will make individual organisations increasingly able to report to boards, funders, and residents with far greater ease and assurance. As a sector, this will help to create a collective capacity to identify and present some real and fundamental trends and needs.

With SFHA’s Online Innovation Hub launched last week, as well as the HACT Value Taskforce which SFHA is a key member of, we are perfectly placed to look to bring and develop the tools and expertise within our sector.

Over the coming weeks, I will be working directly with SFHA members to develop the basis for a tool kit and guidance document on how to imbed social value tools within their individual organisations, and I will try to engage as widely as possible in order to increase skills and knowledge around social value.

For more information, please call me at SFHA on 0141 567 6247, email mmclaughlin@sfha.co.uk, and find me on social media on Twitter @mclaughlin_m_ or Instagram @mclaughlin_m_hact

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