Any senior staff member or committee/board member from a community based housing association dealing with significant problems can now ask for assistance from its membership body the Glasgow and West of Scotland Forum of Housing Associations. The Forum says that assistance, from its new volunteer support panel, could range from a one-off chat to a series of mentoring-style discussions, or a time-limited co-option to the association’s committee/board.

GWSF says that the panel, which will initially operate for a year as a pilot, has been set up to ensure that community based housing associations which are in some trouble know they can talk confidentially to someone from within the CBHA sector.

GWSF has sent its members guidelines about how the panel will work and who is currently on it. Most are senior staff from member associations, with GWSF keen to attract some more committee/board member volunteers in the coming months.

GWSF Chair John Hamilton said:

‘GWSF has always sought to arrange advice for anyone who has approached us for help, but the creation of the panel puts this assistance on a firmer footing.

‘Sometimes we’ve heard member representatives say that when their association was in some trouble, they didn’t seek help from GWSF and didn’t realise they could. The availability of help from the panel should now mean that no association should hesitate to contact the Forum if they’d like to discuss the issues with a panel member or seek a potential co-option.

‘We’ll be reminding members at regular intervals that the panel is there to help. In the meantime we welcome the Scottish Housing Regulator’s willingness to suggest to associations it’s engaging with that they might want to approach their membership body/bodies to see what support may be available.

‘The great majority of community based housing associations are well run and unlikely to find themselves in need of support, but we know times are tough at the moment and that at any one time an association may face particular governance, finance or other challenges. The panel’s overriding aim, wherever possible, will be to support associations to deal with their issues and continue to thrive as independent organisations.’

See further information about the panel here.