Hi! Its Fraser Gilmore here, Housing Options Scotland’s Head of Engagement & Development. If you have not already heard, after more than 10 years of working with HOS, I am leaving to explore pastures new and today is my very last day.
After a decade with Housing Options Scotland, I thought I would take this opportunity to reflect on my tenure with the organisation, the amazing time I have had, the wonderful and inspiring people I have worked with and what I have learned.
Looking back, its brilliant to see how far the organisation has come. When I started with HOS (which was called Ownership Options at the time), it was just Moira, me and an administrator. In the year I started we supported around 70 people and this year the organisation has helped around 700 disabled people, older people and members of the Armed Forces community to find the right home in the right place. From a team of three, we are now a team of 8, supported by our expert associates, our dedicated team of volunteers and our wonderful and inspiring board of directors.
One of my very first clients who I learned so much from was Margaret Follon, who I went to see in hospital where she had been for several months. With the support of HOS she was able to access social housing suited to her needs. After her recovery, she joined the board and is now our chair. Margaret has been a great support to me and encouraged my development, which I will always be grateful for. Margaret is one of many people I came in contact with through my time with the organisation, who as well as receiving support from me, taught me so much about life and the world we live in.
I have also learned so much from the colleagues I have worked with over the years, some of whom are still working for the organisation and some who have moved on to other roles. Two colleagues who really touched my life were Norma Jones and Christine Robinson, both of whom sadly are no longer with us. Norma was so positive and energetic and Christine brought so much love and dedication to her work, I dearly miss them both and dedicate this blog post to their memories.
In my 10 years I have been a broker, Casework Manager, Volunteer Manager, Engagement & Development Manager and Head of Engagement and Development. All of these roles taught me so much about the importance of Housing Options Scotland, the support provided and the voice given to those who are not always heard. Housing Options Scotland is unique and I believe Scotland is a better place with the organisation and its dedicated team in it.
Last and by no means least, my biggest thanks goes to our CEO Moira Bayne. Not a lot of people know this, but many many moons ago, Moira gave me my first full time job after university when she worked in the homelessness partnership in Glasgow. So, on and off, I have worked with Moira for most of my career. I can quite easily say that I would not be the person I am today without her guidance and leadership. Moira and the organisation gave me every opportunity to develop, learn, create and gain experience. It is only through this support that I am now able to continue my leadership journey with another organisation and hopefully offer the support and encouragement that Moira has given me throughout my career.
I am going to miss my HOS family, but I know that the organisation and all the wonderful and dedicated people involved in its running and development are going to continue to do great things.
This is not goodbye, as I will always be a great supporter of Housing Options Scotland.
p.s. if you want to connect with me in the future, you can get me on Twitter at @fraser_gilmore