Loreburn chief executive in the frame for top housing prize

Lorraine Usher

LOREBURN Housing Association’s chief executive is the only Scottish-based finalist in contention for a national social housing award after leading a “remarkable turnaround” of the organisation.

Lorraine Usher has been nominated in the “Inspirational Leader of the Year (under 5,000 stock)” category of the Housing Heroes Awards 2017.

The housing association looks after around 2,500 homes across Dumfries and Galloway. Lorraine joined the organisation in 2015 as it was coming out of a two-year period of intervention by the Scottish Housing regulator. Within 18 months, she had led a major transformation, resulting in triple Investors in People Gold status. Loreburn’s Hallam House development also won the Excellence in Development for Rented Properties Award at the CIH Excellence Awards 2016.

Loreburn said that Lorraine’s “new culture and vision” has resulted in an improvement in most of the housing association’s key performance indicators, including 91% overall customer satisfaction levels, 93% customer satisfaction with being kept informed, and 95% of customers saying their rent represents value for money.

Loreburn – which is now rated low-risk by the Scottish Housing Regulator – has just released its annual plan for 2017/18, which includes a new homes programme with a value exceeding £18 million, an investment in technology for older persons’ accommodation, a modern apprenticeship programme and a partnership with Microsoft and the University of Strathclyde to offer free WiFi.

Lorraine said, “I’m very proud to have been named as a finalist at these prestigious awards. I was born in Dumfries so the area is really close to my heart, and since I began my role at Loreburn I’ve been passionate about ensuring Dumfries and Galloway is a great place to live for our customers.

“While this award shortlisting may have my name on it, the changes that have been brought in at Loreburn, such as an increased customer focus, innovative projects and the introduction of modernised ways of doing business, would not have been a success without the commitment and talent of the fantastic team of people here at Loreburn and the tremendous support provided by the management committee and our customers. If I am lucky enough to win this award, it will be a win for the whole organisation. Loreburn is a wonderful place to work.”

The winner will be announced at the Housing Heroes Awards ceremony in Manchester in June.