West Whitlawburn Housing Co-operative (WWHC) provides, manages and maintains affordable homes in the east end of Glasgow since being set up in 1989.
However WWHC does more than just provide housing; it has built a community and has set about demonstrating the wider social impact of its activities by producing not only the financial accounts required by law, but voluntarily producing what it has called Social Accounts.
It has sought to have a wider social impact through a variety of measures and to produce some quantitive information on how successful these measures have been. WWHA says: “Social accounting provides an opportunity to measure real value in a currency that is not exclusively quantitative and recognises the impact on the local community, and fundamentally, on the lives of West Whitlawburn tenants, residents, and service users.” The measures include:
- Environmental sustainability
WWHC was the first housing provider in Scotland to provide re-cycling facilities for its residents in tower blocks. 50% of the residents now say that they use the facility.
- Out of School Creche Facilities
The facility employs five local people, providing quality, affordable childcare for 35 children and a service to 29 families, giving parents the opportunity to access training and work.
- Homeless Provision
WWHC accepts applications from homeless people and provides additional support to help them into training and to integrate into the wider community.
- Housing Alarms
A concierge system provides a sense of security, protection and back-up to vulnerable residents. Eleven residents have been helped in potentially life threatening situations as a result of this service.
- Medical Adaptations
WWHC adapts homes and provides equipment to allow individuals to live independently as long as possible. 80% of recipients of this help believe that it has allowed them to remain at home longer.
- Training and Employment
WWHC works with local agencies to maximise opportunities for training and employment of its residents.
WWHC regularly asks for feedback on its services; the feedback consistently shows a high level of satisfaction.
You can hear and see more about WWHC in this short video: Please watch it. I had a huge smile on my face at the end and was heartened to think about what we can do when we put our hearts and hard work into such a worthwhile project.
Anne Casey is a regular contributor to the3rdimagazine.