A Fine Vintage – Afternoon Tea in Fife

A Fine Vintage - Afternoon Tea

Some of Fife’s finest were treated to a fun-filled afternoon last week as the Fife Housing Association Alliance hosted a free afternoon tea for their older tenants.

Afternoon Tea Attendees

Some tenants enjoying their afternoon (Photo credit: Lesley Cunningham – Ore Valley HA)

In an effort to help tackle the loneliness and isolation often experienced by our senior citizens, tenants of Fife Housing Group, Kingdom Housing, Ore Valley and Glen Housing, were invited along to the Vine Conference Centre in Dunfermline to enjoy a vintage afternoon tea whilst enjoying live performances from the Fife Ukulele Orchestra, Sing in the City Choir, music from Radio West Fife and a prize bingo session run by Carlton Bingo.

Afternoon Tea - Therapy Dogs

Mrs Johnstone with Ozzie (one of the Therapy Dogs from PAWS)

In addition to the entertainment, a range of partner agencies were on hand to offer advice and support regarding accessible services on offer throughout Fife. These included Paws at Work Scotland (PAWS) Therapy Dogs, Fife Shopping and Support Services, Cosy Kingdom, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, British Red Cross, Fife Cares, Safe Secure and Supported at Home, Self-Directed Support (SDS) Options, Fife Elderly Forum, Link Living, the Coal Industry Social Welfare Organisation (CISWO), Sacro, Police Scotland, Meal Makers and Safer Communities.

On top of this there was the opportunity for guests to pamper themselves with free manicures, pick up some new titles at the book swap and participate in a Scottish-themed quiz or win a prize in the raffle and, if all that wasn’t enough to guarantee a great afternoon, each tenant also received a free goodie bag full handy items and a lovely pair of new slippers.

Afternoon Tea - Slippers

Mrs Basaj receives her slippers from Ally Blyth of Saltire, who kindly donated a pair for every guest

Su Bramley, Director of Housing at Fife Housing Group, explains, ‘Every year many elderly people end up in hospital as a result of falls and trips in their home and often these falls occur due to loose, worn or ill-fitting slippers. These falls can destroy confidence, increase isolation and reduce independence so by providing new slippers we hope to help reduce the chance of these, often avoidable, falls occurring.’

This event was only made possible due to tremendous support and generous donations from suppliers and local businesses including Saltire, Chef4you, Lazy Sunday, The Green Cockatoo, Babcock, Better World Books, Bay Travel, Merlin Travel, Sea Cadets, Flower Pixies, Poppy Floral Design, Tesco, Andrew Wilson and Sons Ltd, Our Power, NHS Scotland, Kidd Promo and Rosyth Gala, many of whom went the extra mile to make this day one to remember for our more elderly tenants, some of whom don’t often have the opportunity to experience something like this.

Afternoon Tea - Collage

Some tenants enjoying their afternoon (Photo credit: Lesley Cunningham – Ore Valley HA)

New Accommodation for Young People

The Aberlour Trust, in partnership with Glen Housing Association and Kingdom Housing Association, proposes to further develop its facilities at Wilmington Drive, Glenrothes, to provide purpose-built, managed accommodation for young people with particular needs.

The Aberlour Trust, together with the two Fife-based Housing Associations, is pleased to announce its intention to apply in the near future for planning permission for a modest housing development at Wilmington Drive, Glenrothes. The proposal is for a wheelchair bungalow; a single storey respite unit; and a block of four flats with 24 hour support – all on a grassed area on the edge of the open space at Magnus Drive.

In the run-up to lodging a planning application with Fife Council, the Trust and the two Associations are carrying out a public consultation exercise locally, and will hold a public drop-in event in the offices of Glen Housing Association at 28 Heimdal Gardens, Glenrothes, on Wednesday 13th December, from 3.30pm to 7.15pm – to which all neighbours and other interested parties are invited.

Anne Dickie, Director of Glen Housing Association, said on behalf of the partners, ‘’There is an opportunity for the Aberlour Trust to expand the important facilities it provides in North Glenrothes for young people with a range of needs. The Trust has had a base at Wilmington Drive since 1994, and has proved to be a good neighbour. We believe the nearby site is suitable for the purpose, and if we receive planning permission we would intend to begin construction later in 2018. In the meantime, we are happy to have an opportunity to display our plans and discuss the proposals with local residents on Wednesday. We hope as many people as possible can come along.’’

Fife Housing Association Alliance

Housing association staff from across Fife attended a joint training event organised by Fife Housing Association Alliance to increase their knowledge of how digital solutions can be applied to services and projects to benefit tenants.

The Digital Solutions event focussed on digital Inclusion and how the internet and broadband can be used to improve home and personal security, along with advice on what security devices tenants can put in place to help protect their property and personal belongings. Online resources providing information on healthy eating and wellbeing were also highlighted.

The visitors to the event were given demonstrations on how tenants can access housing management systems, shown smart technology which can be operated via apps, digital access to health related information, home security solutions and fibre broadband.

Gary Haldane, Kingdom Housing Group head of ICT, said: “This drop-in event was aimed at staff from all Departments of Fife Housing Association Alliance and hopefully gave participants a better understanding of the use of and potential for new technology, particularly understanding how housing services can be enhanced through the innovative use of data and technology.”

Gary Haldane, Head of ICT (KHA)


Dave Roy, Kingdom Group’s health & safety officer, said: “This was a great opportunity to show the Fife Housing Association Alliance staff what digital security and personal protection devices can be bought cheaply online and help reduce the risk of being a victim of crime.”

Community Art Project

Kingdom Housing Association has formed a community partnership with Inverkeithing Arts Initiative (IAI) to create a community arts project on an affordable housing site in Fraser Avenue, Inverkeithing, which is currently being developed by the association.

IAI was appointed to undertake the initial community consultation, which will assist with informing the key principles for the delivery of a series of art pieces in the redevelopment area.

The primary aim of the consultation is to gain a broader understanding of different areas of interest, gathering information across the regeneration area and reaching out across Inverkeithing and the wider community.

IAI’s conversations with residents looked to identify possible future arts projects, and the kinds of creative activities which could be used to celebrate and commemorate the changes taking place on Fraser Avenue.

The first stage was a taster session which took place during a Fun Day at Inverkeithing Primary School.

Families were given the opportunity to try some creative activities led by local artists and crafters. Rustic Simplicity offered the chance to build bird boxes from recycled wood, Cathy Reilly from Cate’s Home Creations was on hand to help participants with the decorative decoupage of a picture frame or glass jar, and artist Rosie Gibson was encouraging visitors to make both 2D and 3D art from their own, personal, memories.

A spokesperson for Inverkeithing Arts said: “Creative taster sessions at community events, such as fun- days, are a great opportunity for people to try a variety of different arts activities, and to meet and talk with arts practitioners who work in different media. Getting hands on with creative activities stimulates conversation and encourages people to think about their own ideas for future events and projects for their area and community. Discussions have led to lots of interesting ideas for future activities and, also, explored how permanent art structures might enhance shared community places and new outdoor spaces.

“There are many benefits to be found in communities that share creative activities, including improved understanding, diffused community tensions and strengthened cross-community links.”

She added: “Our completed report compiles all of the fascinating responses we had to our consultation, and includes our conclusions and recommendations for moving forwards with ideas for arts involvement. The next stage will be to identify which types of activities and projects the communities would like to see going forward, and to secure funding for their implementation.”

Bill Banks, chief executive of Kingdom Housing Association, said: “This is an excellent partnership project promoting public art within communities. As part of the project’s ongoing community interactions the final projects will be selected by the community. We will now begin the process of identifying potential funders for the specific art projects.”

Fife Council and The Fife Housing Association Alliance

Bill Banks, Chief Executive, Kingdom Housing Association
and Cllr Judy Hamilton, Convener of Community and Housing Services Committee

A formal agreement between Fife Council and The Fife Housing Association Alliance has been renewed for the next 5 years, allowing the partnership to continue to deliver affordable housing in Fife.

The Fife Housing Association Alliance is a collaborative working arrangement between the four housing associations based in Fife: Kingdom Group, Glen Housing Association, Ore Valley Group and Fife Housing Group.

The council has, for over ten years, worked in formal partnership with the members of the Alliance to deliver the Strategic Housing Investment Plan (SHIP) for Fife.

Convener of the Community and Housing Services Committee, Cllr Judy Hamilton said: “Working with local housing partners has proved extremely effective in delivering new affordable housing for Fife. The Alliance members have considerable development experience and have also made significant contributions to large scale regeneration programmes at Abbeyview, Kincardine and Inverkeithing and have worked collaboratively with the Council as it developed its own new build programme.

“The Alliance members have been key delivery partners in the recently completed Phase 2 Affordable Housing Programme, contributing over 800 houses to the overall target of 2700, with the additional community benefits of apprenticeships and jobs.

“It’s exciting that a third phase of the council’s affordable housing programme has been agreed with a commitment to an additional 3500 affordable new homes by 2022. This is great news for those that are homeless, local people looking for affordable rental housing or low cost homeownership as well as and for the local economy and jobs.”

Bill Banks, Chief Executive with Kingdom Housing Association added: “The Fife Alliance members have worked closely together over many years and we are very pleased to be able to demonstrate the aims and objectives are being achieved.

“The Alliance recognises the good performance would have been difficult without the good working partnership arrangements between the Alliance and Fife Council, along with the support provided from the Scottish Government. The main objective is to provide high quality housing, to meet Fife’s growing housing needs, and we would hope to continue meeting this objective in the future”.

Securing Sustainable Tenancies

Sustainable Tenancies Event

Fife Housing Association Alliance organised the second event of their in-house Continuing Professional Development (CPD) programme, which enabled colleagues to increase their knowledge of services and projects which support sustainable tenancies and, in turn, benefit tenants.

The focus of the event last week was on Universal Credit, facilitated by Citizens Advice and Rights Fife (CARF) and Frontline Fife.

Colleagues learned about court and tribunal representation, personal budgeting and the many aspects of Universal Credit, by participating in a unique game of Jenga.

Beverley Graham, Housing Manager at Fife Housing Group, said, ‘We want colleagues to focus on encouraging householder empowerment. We found the training to be very useful and it will equip colleagues with essential new skills to help them understand Universal Credit and to enable them to provide relevant advice and information to tenants to help them through the complexities of this new form of benefit’.

Audrey Cunningham from CARF, who led the event, said, ‘The aim of the training is to give housing partners a basic understanding of Universal Credit and to help them work with tenants. Universal Credit should be treated as a new benefit, as there are different legislations and terminology from old style benefits’.

Kingdom Housing Association Launches Construction Academy

Kingdom Housing assoc and Campion Homes with Fife works at the Paton Street Site Dunfermline.

Kingdom Housing Association is to launch a Construction Academy to create work opportunities for young people and help address the growing skills shortage in the construction industry.

As part of its affordable house-building programme Kingdom has already partnered with its main contractors to support 22 apprenticeships and has helped to create a further nine work placement opportunities.

Now the Association is to work with its contractors to build on that success.

Lynne Dunn, coordinator of Kingdom’s Fife Works, which supports the delivery of employment and training opportunities created through community benefit clauses in affordable housing contracts, said: “Building on the previous successes of Kingdom and its contractors, we are pleased to announce that Fife Works will be running a Construction Academy to support the recruitment needs of existing and new affordable housing developments, in particular, the regeneration of Fraser Avenue in Inverkeithing.”

Lynne added: “A 4-6 week training course is planned for June 2017, where 12 unemployed Fife individuals will undertake a variety of accredited construction training courses including CSCS, Manual Handling, PASMA, Working at Heights and Asbestos Awareness followed by a work placement at one of Kingdom’s affordable housing sites with Campion Homes.”

Dougie Herd, construction director with Campion Homes, said: “We are very pleased to be participating in the planned Construction Academy that will take place later this year which aims to provide real employment opportunities for local people, as part of the East Inverkeithing regeneration project.”

He added: “We have worked with Kingdom, as one of their framework contractors for many years and the continuity of work, through a planned programme of projects, provides us with the opportunity to incorporate various community benefits into the capital contracts. Over the last few contracts we have successfully been able to help four people with training and placement opportunities on our sites and have created 23 new jobs, including five new apprenticeships.”

Bill Banks, Kingdom Group’s chief executive, added: “New development projects provide opportunities to create community benefits as well as providing good quality affordable housing. The Construction Academy is an example of how we have been able to provide added value in terms of education, skills development and training, as part of our commitment to build strong communities.”

Ewan O’Donnell, who gained a job with Campion Homes after approaching Fife Works for help to find a job, welcomed the launch of the Construction Academy.

He said: “It is a great idea. It certainly worked for me. I was supported to attend various training courses including emergency First Aid, manual handling, Health and Safety Awareness and I gained my Construction Skills Certification Scheme card. I then had a period of work experience, through Campion Homes, at a Kingdom Housing development site in Leven.  After further training I was employed by Campion on a full time basis.”

Ross McCabe, who was an unemployed Kingdom tenant but secured a job with Campion Homes after contacting Fife Works to find work, is another supporter of the new Construction Academy.

Fife Works identified a demand for plant machinery operators across Fife and Tayside and organised training for Ross to gain a Construction Plant Competency card. After seeing his CV, Campion agreed to employ him as a labourer on their Dunfermline sites. This role also included plant machinery operation, allowing him to gain essential hours of experience of driving the machines. He has now saved up and bought himself a car, allowing an easier commute to work.

Ross said: “I’m really thankful to the guys from Fife Works for supporting me to get through the plant operating training. Without the support to get through the training and help to actually get a job I wouldn’t be where I am today. Previously I had been working with agencies on short term contracts but now feel that I can use this training to build a career.”

Anyone interested in attending the Academy, or seeking more information, they should call Kingdoms Fife Works Team on 01592 862304.

Alliance Members Gain Budgeting Skills To Help Tenants

(L-R) Bill Banks (Kingdom), Michael Hui (Kingdom), Darren Campbell (Cosy Kingdom), Ann McManus and Brenda Bain (Frontline Fife), Graeme Bruce (Our Power), Audrey Cunningham (CARF)

Staff from the Fife Housing Association Alliance have taken part in a joint event aimed at helping tenants and customers who are struggling to meet their household bills on small incomes.

Employees from Fife, Glen, Kingdom and Ore Valley attending the joint continued professional development event, heard from a range of organisations about the practical advice and assistance available to tenants ranging from benefits advice, energy saving measures and assistance to switch to more affordable energy tariffs.

Delegates heard presentations from partner organisations Citizens Advice Rights Fife (CARF), Our Power, Cosy Kingdom and Wise 2 Welfare, who all highlighted the full range of support services they can provide to tenants and customers of the housing associations.

Ann McManus and Brenda Bain, from Frontline Fife, gave details on the Wise 2 Work project in Fife that supports tenants through tailored and personalised support services. They cited case studies, showing how individuals could increase their confidence and skills to ensure they are in control of their household budgets. Audrey Cunningham, financial inclusion officer with CARF, provided an overview of the range of services that CARF provide.

Darren Campbell, senior energy adviser with the Cosy Kingdom project, outlined some of the services they provide which include benefits checks, help to tenants so they can understand their energy bills, assistance to switch to more affordable tariffs and assistance associated with free energy saving measures.

Michael Hui, Kingdom Housing Association’s energy adviser, also gave some ‘energy savvy’ tips and tested delegates’ knowledge on effective use of energy.

Our Power, an energy supply company registered as a Community Benefits Society, was set up by Scottish housing associations to help reduce costs and improve energy services for tenants. Graeme Bruce, lead officer for market innovation with Our Power, provided information on Our Power’s aims and objectives and how housing associations can work together, to address the challenges being faced by tenants related to energy services and fuel costs.

On behalf of Fife Housing Association Alliance, Bill Banks, Kingdom chief executive, said, “We want our staff to focus on helping to build our tenants’ capacity and encourage householder empowerment, rather than try to develop a culture of dependency. We want to help tenants to improve their household budgeting and provide advice and assistance services that ensure people are living in warmer homes, paying affordable energy costs and have more stable finances on a long-term basis.”

Green Energy Comes To Cardenden

The Ore Valley Group, led by Ore Valley Housing Association, is proud to announce the launch of the Dundonald Wind Turbine, which started to produce green energy this afternoon.

It is a project which has been ongoing for four years, but after reaching financial close in November last year, it has been full steam ahead, with the construction phase being completed over the Christmas period. The final step was connecting the turbine to the grid, enabling it to start producing energy. (more…)

£5m investment boost for Kingdom

Kingdom Housing Association is to press ahead with plans to develop 98 homes for rent across Fife after securing a £5 million bond issued as a loan by social investment charity Allia as part of theScottish Government’s More Homes Scotland strategy.

The new homes will be built at Inverkeithing, Torryburn, Bonnybank and Crosshill.

Housing minister Kevin Stewart made the announcement during his visit to Kincardine, where Kingdom is developing new affordable homes in partnership with Fife Council and Campion Homes thanks to a development loan under last year’s Allia charitable bonds programme. (more…)