I’m pleased to say that since I wrote my column in the Reporter in February, a lot has happened.

We set a balanced budget at the full council meeting in March and agreed on an additional £50million of spending on council housing services to support tenants’ priorities.

Over the next five years, the additional funding will mean more homes to suit the needs of people with larger families, additional medical needs, better quality homes and a reactive service for responding to issues.

The council is investing £10m extra to buy back homes. The additional funds will accelerate the housing renewal and replacement programmes including energy efficiency measures like new heating systems, kitchen and bathroom renewals, window/door renewal programmes, and initiatives to address dampness and mould.

At the housing committee meeting in May, a new multi-storey flat strategy covering nineteen flats in council ownership was approved. The improvements include £4.25million of spending which focuses on things like fire risk assessment works – including sprinkler systems in the bin areas, improvements to the foyer areas, better heating systems, wi-fi provision, noise insulation, CCTV and improved lighting.

This is a five-year investment programme which starts with £500,000 this year, increasing to £750,000 next year, then a million pounds for the next three years. 

I’ve been fortunate enough to attend several community events over the past few months including a community event at Gartocharn Millennium Hall, the Tullichewan Tenants Association AGM, Haldane Tenants Association AGM and Haldane Youth Club AGM.

Youth Services

I was particularly impressed to learn of all the work of Haldane Youth Services.

They have been going for 12 years and run four projects, Mini Hoppers, Hop Skip and Jump, Project 7; and Ur Turn.

Every year they take children on a Hopscotch Holiday to a five-day residential in the highlands. They do an annual trip taking young people on a summer camp. 

From Cooking Funshops where young people learn to make healthy meals to organising a family fun day at the end of summer. They even run a youth cafe. I’m always amazed by the commitment from their volunteers and the amount of work they do to help our communities.