This will be my last blog as Sitra CEO. Therefore, I wanted to take the opportunity to set out a few thank yous, encourage your support for Sitra and Homeless Link working together in a group, and to think about what the year ahead might hold for the sector.
Will it be a happy new year? As we have entered the last few weeks of the year, the anxiety level amongst our membership has grown. At this moment in time the implications of a 1% rent reduction, proposed extension of Local Housing Allowance to social housing, looming local government settlement and changes to the future supply of social housing make for an unsettling start to 2016. Crystal ball gazers out there do not see much light relief on the horizon.
In the light of this, the decision by Sitra members to join in a group with Homeless Link seems both positive and pragmatic. There is most definitely work to be done, and many of the impending challenges for the year ahead will be spread equally across the supported housing and homelessness sector. The services that Sitra offer, the information, advice, training and capacity building support will be ever present, and members will gain from the opportunities created by closer strategic relationships with colleagues at Homeless Link. Most definitely a case of ‘stronger together’.
And now to the thanks!
I will be leaving Sitra at the end of this year, having worked for the organisation for more years than my youthful looks would belie (indulge me here, it is my last blog) and had nearly seven challenging, invigorating and inspiring years as CEO. The joys of longevity are that you get a great perspective on the changing world, and a strong sense of what and who has made the biggest changes to the sector. I have been privileged to work with an exceptional staff team, some of whom have stayed the distance, and some who have been and gone, but definitely left their mark. I would like to thank them all for their dedicated service to the sector, and for their hard work, commitment and friendship. Sitra has been like another family to me, and like family, the people are the heart.
The Sitra Board, and particularly the chair Liz Rutherfoord, have been key to the ongoing strategy and direction of the organisation. I have really enjoyed working with them, and as ever, their commitment as voluntary trustees is inspiring. I also want to thank our associates, who bring expertise, energy and enthusiasm and support our membership in achieving excellence.
The final thanks goes to you – as members, partners and collaborators who have made working in this role so positive and productive. Through sharing, connecting and communicating you have fuelled new directions, and built stronger bridges for Sitra to support the sector through. I think it is this support that has provided us with the opportunity to look to a strengths based future with Sitra and Homeless Link working together to meet the challenges of the New Year head on!
So, friends, it is goodbye…. For now!