THIS week's councillor column comes from Graham Hardie, Liberal Democrat representative for Helensburgh central and member of the Argyll Community Housing Association (ACHA) area committee for Helensburgh and Lomond.


With housing and homelessness being such a pressing social issue today I was keen to become involved in helping in some way to alleviate this problem locally, so I became a member of Argyll Community Housing Association (ACHA)’s area committee for Helensburgh and Lomond.

ACHA acquired Argyll and Bute Council’s housing stock in November 2006 and operates in Oban, Lochgilphead, Dunoon, Rothesay, Campbeltown, Bowmore and Helensburgh. ACHA is directed by a voluntary board of management, comprising five independent representatives, and three Argyll and Bute Council representatives. The board is supported by area committees who are located in each of ACHA’s areas of operation. Operationally ACHA is led by the chief executive, Alastair MacGregor and four directors, who lead its 156 staff.

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In 2013 the association launched a subsidiary company, Argyll Homes for All (AHFA), to carry out day to day repairs, cyclical maintenance and servicing within ACHA’s 5,100 homes across Argyll and Bute. There are 89 staff employed by AHFA.

ACHA’s mission statement is “to improve, develop and manage quality affordable homes for across Argyll and Bute by working in partnership.”

In order to achieve their mission, they have six key organisational objectives: putting our tenants and communities first by achieving the Scottish Government housing standards and addressing housing needs in Argyll and Bute, through development and upgrading; providing quality customer care and equality across all their services; developing the financial strength and capacity to meet current and future objectives; delivering progressive and sustainable business performance and service delivery; improving strategic relationships and partnerships; and continuous improvement of Scottish Social Housing Charter indicators.

READ MORE: New ACHA homes in Helensburgh win safety award

In the Helensburgh and Lomond area ACHA opened their latest new build housing development at Castle Wood, Helensburgh on August 23. Ten homes to the ‘Passivhaus’ design are being built in Garelochhead, and £2,390 has been awarded so far this financial year to registered charities in the Helensburgh and Lomond from ACHA’s community action fund.

I have seen all the constructive and positive work that ACHA do within the housing sector and I would applaud them and their staff for their excellent performance.