Langstane celebrate 40 years – and elect a new Chair

James Knowles

AN ELGIN BASED HOUSING ASSOCIATION and registered charity is celebrating its 40th anniversary – and revealed new leadership.

The Langstane Housing Association was created from one man’s determination to find a solution to the desperation of vulnerable, homeless single people in the 1960’s and 1970’s.

First set up in a former dairy on Aberdeen’s George Street, the Association now has offices in Aberdeen and North Guildry Street in Elgin. When they first opened the main task for the two members of staff was to look for properties which could be renovated or land that could be built upon.

They also had to work closely with support agencies to ensure it wasn’t just bricks and mortar that was provided – but with no phone staff had to walk to a nearby callbox to make their calls.

From the very beginning, the Association was interested in providing homes and support services further afield than Aberdeen, buying and renovating property in Peterhead, Fraserburgh, Banff, Keith and in other more rural communities.

The Association also provided hostels. Before 1981, the only place homeless women could go was a very unsuitable night shelter. Then came along the first of its kind in Aberdeen, a supported hostel for women only.

Langstane’s longest serving member of staff recently celebrated 30-years in service – and it is hoped that many more reach that milestone as they enter the social housing sector seeking new adventures. As Langstane continues to grow and develop as an organisation it is hoped that future generations look back on the achievements of today and the four next decades, with an equal measure of pride.

Follow their 39th Annual General Meeting the Association elected James Knowles as its Chairperson.

James has considerable knowledge of business from many sectors, including raising funding for specialist projects. He currently holds a number of voluntary positions, supporting community projects and organisations and continues to be a business mentor for a number of businesses and individuals.

Supporting James is John Fraser, Vice Chairperson and Jenny Greener, Treasurer.

He paid tribute to outgoing Chair Sandra Macdonald, who retires after nine years with the Association – the last three in the top job. Mr Knowles said: “I am delighted to accept the role of Chairperson and look forward to carrying on the great work achieved by those who have gone before me and in particular Sandra Macdonald.

“Sandra brought with her a passionate desire to drive improvements within the affordable housing sector. As we face future challenges, our tenants will be at the heart of our decision making.

“Langstane Housing Association will continue to be innovative, and provide good quality affordable accommodation for those disadvantaged in the housing sector.”