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Tenants to make communities great in pioneering partnership

Housing estates across central Scotland are being put under the microscope by Keep Scotland Beautiful in a new scheme to make communities great. 

Wheatley Group, which brings together six social landlords including GHA, has joined forces with the environmental charity as part of its mission to make neighbourhoods clean and green. 

All Wheatley communities will now be graded by a team of expert assessors and scored in line with a new Environmental Excellence scheme that has been developed in conjunction with the Wheatley Group. The scheme includes assessment against the Keep Scotland Beautiful National Award for Environmental Excellence as well as street and open space assessments, training and tenant’s perception surveys. 

The new Making Communities Great partnership launched today will also see a selection of tenants and housing staff fully trained by Keep Scotland Beautiful to assist with inspecting and assessing their neighbourhoods. 

Wheatley Group’s Neighbourhood Services Leader Alex Adrain said: “We have already been working closely with our tenants to improve our communities and environmental standards but our new partnership with Keep Scotland Beautiful is going to help us take this to the next level. 

“This is all about ensuring every one of our neighbourhoods is expertly and independently assessed to a recognised standard - with pointers then given for how we can make that area the best it can be.

“We don’t want some of our tenants to live in nice areas they are proud of and for other areas to be let down by things like litter, dog fouling or communal areas that need upgrading. We want to make all our communities great.”

The scheme has been launched after a pilot in eight multi-storey sites in Glasgow.

Selected tenants will be trained in environmental monitoring, and will go on to work with Keep Scotland Beautiful to grade every area owned and managed by Wheatley’s six social landlords as three, four or five stars – with five stars representing the highest standard.

Mr Adrain added: “We expect there will be simple things we can put in place quickly after the inspections. For example in our pilot, the Keep Scotland Beautiful Team highlighted that littering was still an issue in some areas so we were able to introduce more regular litter picks to tackle this. Where they identify improvements that need investment, we’ll be able to put these forward as priorities in our locality planning process.”

Keep Scotland Beautiful runs award schemes which are nationally-recognised indicators of best practice, including the Green Flag Award for parks and green spaces, the Beach Award and the Eco-Schools programme.

Derek Robertson, Chief Executive of Keep Scotland Beautiful, said: “We are delighted to be working with the Wheatley Group on this two-year partnership to help them support their tenants to make their neighbourhoods cleaner and greener.

“Over the past two years we’ve recognised more than 100 sites from a variety of business sectors with our National Award for Environmental Excellence. Using this success, we’ve worked with the Wheatley Group to develop a bespoke scheme, which will work for them and their tenants.

“We are particularly excited to be able to support tenants with training opportunities to help them inspect and assess the places that they care about, which will assist with the development of action plans for improvement.”

It is hoped the partnership approach to environmental audit and accreditation will become the benchmark for other social landlords.

Pictured: Tenants and staff from GHA and Wheatley join Keep Scotland Beautiful (KSB) staff  - as well as the Wheatley and KSB’s mascots - at Drygate in Glasgow for the launch of the partnership. From left, KSB’s Colin Hegarty, GHA tenant Margaret Thomson, Wheatley’s John Ross Snr, GHA tenant Peggy Daly, KSB’s Dougie Johnston, GHA tenant Maureen Saunders and Wheatley’s Liam Cusack.

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