Our governing body, the Board, is made up of volunteers who interest is in improving access to and choice in affordable housing. The Board has responsibility for the conduct and control of Cairn and they monitor the delivery of services to our customers. It takes decisions about the strategic direction of Cairn.
Meet our Board
Simon Guest was elected as Chair in September 2016.
I have been a member of Cairn’s Board since 2011. I was a partner in an Edinburgh firm of solicitors for over 30 years, acting for many diverse, property related clients. I subsequently worked with Edinburgh based Applecross Properties for two years as Business Development and Legal Director.
I am now involved with various commercial and charitable organisations including Dance Base Limited, Scotland’s national dance centre.
I bring legal experience and an understanding of the housing sector in Scotland. I look forward to helping Cairn meet the challenges facing the sector in the years to come.
I am now retired but have some 32 years service in the retail sector, which included various positions in audit, training, property, human resources, and, most importantly, customer service. I am also a Cairn tenant and the chair of our tenants’ group. With the commercial knowledge and skills I have acquired, I aim to put our customers at the forefront of everything we do as an organisation.
The Board, together with the staff, are working hard to make A Better Cairn in the years ahead. Together, we will make a difference to the communities that we live in.
I am a self-employed consultant based in the Highlands and working across Scotland. I provide support to community groups and to public and voluntary organisations with a range of housing, community and social policy related services. I am also an experienced social housing practitioner with over 30 years working in the sector, mostly at senior and executive levels and in the north of Scotland. This has also provided me with a good working knowledge of the social care, health, social enterprise and voluntary sectors in Scotland.
I have been directly involved in housing stock transfers with both disposing and receiving landlords, and have worked closely with tenants to ensure their interests were represented and taken into account.
I have enjoyed a successful and dynamic career to date working with a broad remit and a variety of challenging roles. I am delighted to have been able to join the team at Cairn as a Board member. Good quality affordable housing and excellent services are fundamentally important to ensure thriving and sustainable communities. I very much look forward to working with my Board colleagues and the staff team to put its core values into practice and maintain its role as a leading, dynamic and successful housing association in Scotland.
I am a Project Manager in a construction consultancy organisation working with cl
ients on projects in a diverse range of industry sectors throughout the UK.
Alongside my experience managing construction projects in residential, healthcare, leisure and commercial sectors, I am also a member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and have also completed an MSc in Construction Management at Heriot-Watt University.
I have good knowledge, understanding and hands on experience of residential development, including an understanding of design guides, public procurement guidance, construction contracts. Having been introduced to the affordable housing sector through previous employment with a residential developer, I have an interest in Scottish Government housing policy and the Regulatory environment in which housing associations operate, and the increasingly important role which Housing Associations will fulfil.
Working alongside public sector organisations in developing their projects and have therefore developed a good understanding of the governance, gateway process, reporting requirements and the importance of proactive engagement with a broad range of stakeholders including customers, staff, lenders, local authorities, Scottish Government and suppliers.
Applying my skills and experience working with both public and private sector organisations in the property and construction industry will enable me to make a positive and valuable contribution to Cairn Housing Association and I look forward to working with my colleagues at Cairn to continue to deliver great homes and great services.
Prior to working in my current role, I worked as Finance and IT Manager for a Housing Association and Financial Analyst for a leading Manufacturing and Engineering Organisation. I am a member of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants and also a Corporate Member of the Chartered Institute of Housing.
I have joined the board of Cairn as I am keen to be involved in an organisation which delivers good quality social houses and strengthens local communities.
I am delighted to be joining the Cairn board at a time when the “A Better Cairn” programme is underway and am looking forward to working with Cairn tenants and staff in the future to ensure the organisation has a successful future and continues to deliver services which meet the requirements of current and future tenants.
I have worked in housing for over 30 years, latterly being responsible for the team delivering the Scottish Government’s affordable housing investment strategy across the Highlands & Islands and Moray. I previously worked for Scottish Homes and the Scottish Special Housing Association where I was involved in a variety of housing management functions, policy development and its implementation.
Having lived and worked in the Highlands for 25 years, I am acutely aware of the importance of ensuring access to good quality affordable housing, not least in rural communities. I believe the voluntary housing association movement is central to sustaining and strengthening communities and look forward to Cairn further developing its capacity and commitment to making a difference through building, maintaining and managing good quality affordable housing.
The challenging economic climate requires housing associations to respond confidently and creatively in order to address the legitimate expectations of their tenants, their skilled staff, and those who aspire to an affordable home.
After a short spell in the private sector I spent 18 years in Local Authority working in a range of areas with economic development being my focus latterly. I progressed to European Funding for five years, managing large scale infrastructure projects and financial engineering before changing direction again to the voluntary sector. I have worked for a number of third sector organisations in Business Development roles before taking up my current post. As Chief Executive of the Coach House Trust I am responsible for the strategic direction of a charity that works to support a client group with mental health issues, learning disabilities, addictions, homelessness and offending backgrounds. The Coach House engages with these individuals through art, crafts and horticultural activities with a view to improving their employability. To complement this work we are developing a number of social enterprises. A large part of our external activities recently has been with local housing associations and that has provided me with a broader view than simply the ‘bricks and mortar’ responsibilities that housing associations have. My main interest lies with the part that Cairn plays in the lives and the communities in which it operates.
After a long career in housing of almost 35 years in Glasgow and the Western Isles I retired in July 2016. My housing experience includes 12 years as Director of Housing at Comhairle Nan Eilean Siar (Western Isles Council) responsible for housing strategy both for the public and private sectors, housing management, investment, new build, homelessness and Housing Benefit administration.
From 2005 until 2016 I was Chief Executive of the Hebridean Housing Partnership, a whole stock transfer from the local authority providing good quality housing for affordable rent and shared equity home ownership.
It has been my privilege to have worked in what is a vitally important service; the provision of good quality affordable housing for people in housing need. I am therefore delighted to have joined the Board of Cairn and commit myself to use my housing experience to contribute to the important work of my Board member colleagues and Association staff in delivering Cairn’s vision of great homes, great service and great people.
I am the Head of Development for the Scottish Centre for Telehealth and Telecare. I have actively promoted the use and expansion of technology enabled care and support services over a number of years in both my current role and previously as the Scottish Government’s National Telecare Programme Manager.
I am currently a board member of Scotland’s Digital Health & Care Institute and a member of the Scottish Government’s National Telehealth and Telecare Advisory Board, the Technology Enabled Care (TEC) Programme Board and the Digital Health & Care Innovation Partnership. I am the Programme Director for the Living It Up, Smartcare and United4Health ‘at scale’ implementation programmes which involve digital self management, falls prevention & improvement, and home & mobile health monitoring services.
Previous to this, I was a service manager for the West Lothian Community Health & Care Partnership, developing and leading an integrated approach to supported/care housing and homelessness services. I was also the Project Manager for West Lothian Council’s award winning telecare service.
I’m enthusiastic about joining Cairn during a period of ambitious transformational change for the organisation and I hope to effectively support other board members, staff and tenants.
Although now retired, I have spent the last 38 years working in social housing. While working in Regulation dominated this period, experience was also obtained in management accounting, internal audit and as Housing Services Director. I also served on Outlook’s Committee prior to its transfer to Cairn. This background makes me feel well equipped to serve on Cairn’s Committee and I welcome the opportunity to give something back.
Over the years Cairn has developed into a national housing provider. Core values such as the provision of a good, caring and efficient service to tenants and residents continue to be a top priority. Ability to achieve this in future will be much more difficult due to a range of financial constraints within which the sector is expected to operate. However, I am confident that effective teamwork between the Board and staff will ensure that Cairn has a successful future.
I am a retired primary school teacher. However, I spent many years abroad working with the BBC and Deutsche Welle (Voice of Germany) in the Caribbean, returning to Europe to work at the UN in Vienna. On my return to the UK I spent several years in the north of England and became a tenant volunteer on the Board of Rochdale Boroughwide Housing (RBH). On the Board I became extremely interested in social housing, assisting both RBH and the contractor when we underwent major improvement works to 15,000 homes. During my 10 years in Rochdale I became Chair of RBH. Having been on the Board of RBH as well as being a tenant gave me the insight to see things from both the managements and the tenants perspective.
After a 35-year career in public transport where I worked in national and international companies at senior management and board level I am looking forward to bringing some of those skills and my experience to the team at Cairn Housing Association. Whilst having trained in operations management and marketing, the general management positions I held broadened my knowledge and experience to include finance, contract management, asset management and human resources.
I have always focused on service delivery and adding value to the customer’s experience. Through clear leadership and through the development of good systems, good staff training and the correct values, an organisation will have an edge in giving customer satisfaction. I am looking forward to helping Cairn achieve its vision of creating Great Homes, Great Services and Great People.
Having spent many years in local government’s Property Services at executive level, and, latterly, for some ten years as a Director in the private sector with a national property management company, I now consider myself to be semi-retired.
As well as my activities with Cairn I also work with the Scottish Chambers of Commerce, and with the Princes Trust, as a business mentor.
My vision is for Cairn to be a leader in the housing sector in terms of its business model and services to our tenants.
As well as the experience and skills gained from operating at executive levels in both the private and public sectors, the other attributes that I bring to the Board are a sound knowledge of the management of development and change, a pragmatic view on organisational management, and a passion for excellent customer service.
Meet our Senior Management Team
Jason has been Cairn’s Chief Executive since December 2011. His role is to support the Board in the strategic direction of the Association and ensure high quality services to our customers. Jason is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Housing and was elected to the Scotland Board 2013-15. He has served on the Board of the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations since 2015. Since 1988 he has worked in the housing sector throughout his career. He has a range of experience in senior leadership roles in local authorities and housing associations, including as Executive Director of Regeneration & Development at WM Housing Group and as Corporate Director of Housing & Property Services at Tamworth Borough Council. Jason is committed to Cairn’s core purpose of providing high quality homes and services to our customers and working with partners and communities across Scotland.
After qualifying as a Chartered Accountant, Derek’s previous commercial accounting background embraces roles within Engineering, Telecommunications and more recently Property Development and Banking. Derek has recently completed an MBA at Edinburgh University which adds a managerial awareness to his existing commercial experience. Derek’s appointment in 2010 to the Executive Team at Cairn Housing Association, affords the Association the opportunity to utilise his considerable skills and experience during a period when financial probity will be at a premium.
Derek appreciates the Association’s financial strength and plans to ensure the organisation remains as one of the leading associations providing affordable social housing in Scotland.
John has worked in social housing since 1998, having completed a post-graduate diploma in Housing Policy & Management. He is a full member of the Chartered Institute of Housing and joined Cairn in January 2013 from a large social landlord in North East England where he was Head of Neighbourhood Services. Prior to this John worked for a housing association in Scotland where he gained a good understanding of the sector in Scotland. John is committed to ensuring that Cairns customers receive excellent customer service and is keen to ensure that we involve customers in achieving this aim.
Walter started work in housing in 1980, working with the Housing Corporation in Scotland and then Scottish Homes, providing development funding to housing associations. In 1989 Walter moved to Dundee, joining Gowrie Housing Association, before returning to Edinburgh as a Development Officer with Cairn in 1991, to start Cairn’s new build programme. Over the last two decades Walter has been involved in the growth of Cairn, via stock transfers from other housing associations and the development of around 1,000 new houses. Walter is a member of the Chartered Management and is Head of Customer Services (Property Services) where he coordinates all aspects of investment in Cairn’s stock, with an emphasis on planned maintenance and responsive repairs.
Fin was appointed to the role of Head of Business Improvement in January 2013 and has over 10 years’ experience working in the Scottish housing sector, with previous experience in finance, telecommunications and local authority.
Fin is passionate about the pursuit of excellence, with a particular focus on embedding principles, frameworks and processes that promote continuous and sustainable improvement.
Julie has worked in various roles within Cairn since 1992 and was appointed to the role of Head of Human Resources and Organisational Development in April 2017.
With over 14 years experience working in HR, Julie is passionate about working with people and developing organisational strength though workforce development.