Welcome to the volunteer team, Karen!

We are delighted to have Karen join the volunteer team. Karen will be working on an Area Guide for East Lothian with us – welcome! Read more about Karen below.

Tell us a bit about yourself

Hello, I’m Karen, I’m from Edinburgh, and I’ve lived in the beautiful coastal town of Dunbar, East Lothian since 2018. I work for Port Of Leith Housing Association, and I’m studying part time at Stirling University for my Postgraduate diploma in Housing Studies. I also have 2 kids so life is pretty full on!

We are lucky to live 5 minutes from Belhaven Bay so we go to the beach most days as my daughter is an avid surfer and my partner is into paddleboarding – yep, in all weathers! I’m a keen photographer, and I also took up origami and painting during lockdown and absolutely love both! Any other spare time is taken up renovating my old 70’s caravan called Frida and trying to push past week 6 of C25K.

Why did you want to volunteer with Housing Options Scotland?

I’m so lucky to work in  a role where I get to give people the keys to their ‘forever homes’ every day, but I want to do more. I have worked in frontline housing and homeless services for 20 years in both statutory and third sector roles. Whilst many achievements and improvements have been made over that time, there is still a critical lack of affordable housing options in Scotland. I’m passionate about playing a part in improving people’s housing prospects, because the impact of not having a secure home can have far reaching affects on our job prospects, education opportunities and even our health. I’ve seen the amazing work HOS do over the years, and when an opportunity to support them came along I jumped at the chance.

What are you most looking forward to as part of the volunteering?

I can’t wait to support the invaluable work of Housing Options Scotland by working on the Area Guide for East Lothian.  Moving house can be daunting and I hope in a small way to help take away some of that worry and write a useful guide welcoming people to a lovely county that has so much to offer them.