Housing Minister visit highlights importance of joint investment

Minister for Housing Paul McLennan MSP paid a visit to Eildon Housing’s latest extra care development Poynder Apartments, the former Kelso High School, on Tuesday 12 September. He met with new tenants as they settle into this new service and was able to reinforce the importance of joint housing investment in the run up to Scottish Housing Day.

This impressive £7.3m renovation of the former Kelso High School, an art deco building of historical significance, was made possible by a grant of £2.8m from the Scottish Government. Scottish Borders Council provided £0.75m and Eildon Housing provided £3.75m to this project, demonstrating the importance of joint investment to deliver high quality housing and care solutions.

The Housing Minister enjoyed a full guided tour of the magnificent building, much loved by the Kelso community.  He was also introduced to new tenants including Violet Stephens and Maisie Hope who had very recently moved into their brand-new flats and were happy to show the Minister around and let him know how they are settling in.

Housing Minister Paul McLennan said,“The right to a warm, safe and affordable home is critical to wellbeing and is a right everyone deserves. Eildon Housing Association plays a valuable role in increasing the range of housing available to rent throughout Scotland.”

“The Scottish Government has supported this extra care housing development with £2.8 million, and Scottish Borders Council has also contributed generously towards this development. This has enabled Eildon Housing Association to repurpose this former High School and provide 36 high quality energy-efficient affordable homes here in Kelso.”

“High quality housing is a key pillar of Housing to 2040, whilst also eradicating fuel poverty and homelessness and ensuring everyone has access to green space and essential services, and I welcome these new affordable homes in the Borders.”

Nile Istephan added, “This was a derelict school building which has been given a new lease of life and will continue to provide a community spirit in the very heart of the town. Due to much careful and considered planning, the heritage of this wonderful 1930s art deco design has been preserved. Not only have we provided 36 much needed new homes for older people with support needs, but we have also created over 35 new employment opportunities for local people, bringing a boost to this area.”

“Wednesday13 September is Scottish Housing Day celebrating careers in housing, so it is timely to mention that these newly created jobs demonstrate how diverse careers in housing can be with posts as varied as Managers, Senior Support Workers, Support Workers, cleaners, cooks, administration and many more.”