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ACVO News November 2023

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Nov 7, 2023

Successes celebrated by Grampian Housing Association with double win at Chartered Institute of Housing Scotland (CIHS) annual awards ceremony

Lifetime Achievement award presented to Craig Stirrat, chief executive and Excellence in Health and Wellbeing award presented for new Heat and Eat Initiative.

Craig Stirrat, Chief Executive of Grampian Housing Association has won the Lifetime Achievement in Housing category at the CIHS annual awards ceremony.  It was awarded in recognition of the lasting impact he has made on the housing sector, going the extra mile during his 40 year career in housing to serve tenants and local communities.

In accepting the award, Craig Stirrat said: “I am passionate and committed to driving positive change in the sector and leading colleagues to put tenants at the heart of service delivery having held various housing management, strategic planning and asset management positions with Aberdeen City Council, Fife Housing Group and now Grampian. 

“To be honoured by my peers in the CIH is truly humbling and I appreciate the warmth and support from friends and colleagues, in particular my thanks to Board members and colleagues at Grampian Housing Association.”  

Craig was promoted to chief executive of Grampian in 2022 having joined in 2014 as director of business development when he re-established the development programme, increasing Grampian’s provision of new homes for social and mid-market rent from 3,300 to 3,800 and still growing.

While at Aberdeen City Council, Craig introduced its first anti-social behaviour helpline and mediation service; developed the scale of its homeless service and supported the establishment of Aberdeen Foyer, a local charity addressing youth homelessness and unemployment.  He also improved collaboration with NHS Grampian around improved delayed discharges.     

Craig has become an ambassador for housing in Scotland.  He served for over 10 years on the CIH Scotland Board and is a former chair of the branch.  He has also served on the UK HouseMark Board and the Scottish Advisory Board as well as on the Board of the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations.

“I am passionate and committed to driving positive change in the sector and leading colleagues to put tenants at the heart of service delivery,” – Craig Stirrat, Chief Executive of Grampian Housing Association 

Abhi Agarwal, chair of Grampian Housing Association said: “I am delighted that Craig Stirrat has won the Lifetime Achievement award in recognition of his services to the housing sector.

“I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate Craig’s 40 years in housing. This recognition is a great day for social housing. I am proud and humbled to be the chair of Grampian and having the opportunity to work with Craig.”

It was a double win for the Association at the awards ceremony as its Heat and Eat initiative was announced the winner of the Excellence in Health and Wellbeing category.  

The new initiative was launched earlier this year to address soaring energy bills and the cost of living crisis which is severely affecting many of the Association’s tenants.  With funding of £166,000 from the Scottish Government’s Social Housing Fuel Support Fund energy top-up payments of £245 were awarded to over 600 tenants.  

An additional £20,000 was secured from The National Lottery Community Fund.  This enabled slow cookers, air fryers, heated throws, winter duvets and warm clothing to be supplied to tenants.  Fresh food packs were also distributed in partnership with CFINE (Community Food Initiatives in North East Scotland), a local organisation tackling poverty.

Rachel Byiers, support services manager at Grampian said:

“We recognise the financial stress many of our tenants are experiencing and the tough choices they sometimes have to make between eating and heating.  Through our money advice, housing support and energy advice projects we will continue to support our tenants in any way we can.”

“By addressing the practical needs of tenants Grampian is helping to reduce the anxiety associated with debt and fuel poverty which in turn helps to improve the health and wellbeing of tenants.”  

The CIHS Awards recognise the creativity, passion and innovation of housing organisations and individuals across the sector. This year’s awards received over a hundred nominations across 19 categories.

Grampian’s zero emission heating project at MacKenzie Gardens, Turriff in rural Aberdeenshire was a finalist in the Net Zero in Housing category. Margaret Waddell, former Business Improvement Lead was also shortlisted for the Lifetime Achievement award.

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