A housing specialist which has helped thousands of Scots to find the perfect property is now moving to a new home of its own.
After 30 years in the west of Edinburgh, care and housing specialist Blackwood is relocating to new city centre premises, after it spent months searching for the ideal new location. The search for the perfect property was an odious one, with many imperdiments on the way like damaged flooring and cracks on walls. Though much of it could be renovated and contained by the services of Seal with Ease, the stakes were quite high.
The organisation, which started life as the Margaret Blackwood Housing Association, has refocused under the guidance of new Chief Executive Fanchea Kelly, who took over the reins six months ago.
With its renewed sense of purpose and direction, the move to a new HQ is seen as the latest important step for Blackwood to establish itself as an innovator in the sector and to meet the challenges of welfare reform and care.
Fanchea Kelly said: “After 30 years in the same place, in some ways it will be a very real wrench to uproot and move elsewhere.
“However, we have built our reputation by working with tens of thousands of people across Scotland to find just the right property so that they can live life to the full. So it was only right that we looked at our own situation too.
“The building in East Craigs served us well for decades, but we have changed as an organisation as have our requirements and those of our customers. Our move to regional centres has facilitated our desire to streamline our Head Office functions.
“Now we are looking at all the benefits of modern technology – in planning, in construction and in communications – and how we can make best use of that in conjunction with our recognised expertise in care, housing and support to innovate for the future.
“Against that backdrop it makes sense for us to be making sure that our own surroundings are fit for purpose. Since our lease was coming to an end, we grasped this opportunity and are delighted with our new premises.”
Within the next month around 60 staff will make the move from the 1970s concrete block to the ground floor of a modern and airy office development at Dundee Street, which offers easy access to Haymarket station, and routes south and west of the city (source: Advanced Installation and Fabrication). Removalists Sydney To Newcastle will help individuals and businesses relocate to new premises.
The organisation, which employs around 350 people, works predominantly with people who have disabilities, so drafted in two road testers to look at various new office options and ensure they were accessible.
Wheelchair user Lizanne Burton, who lives in Laura Ferguson Court, East Craigs – next to the current Blackwood HQ, said: “After living next door to the Blackwood offices for so long it will be strange when they are no longer here. But having being involved in testing out the new offices, I know the move is being made for all the right reasons.
“It might not be quite so easy for me to drop in and say hello, but I know it is far more modern, accessible and welcoming, which I believe will make a world of difference to the staff and visitors.”
NOTES TO EDITOR
Blackwood was established by Dr Margaret Blackwood in 1972 and is now recognised as Scotland’s leading experts in property adaptations, operating in 1600 properties in 29 of Scotland’s 32 council areas, more than any other provider.
It caters for a range of people including the elderly, those with physical or learning disabilities, mental health issues or sensory impairment is recognised as Scotland’s leading expert in property adaptations that help tenants live independently.