Janet Strang is a longstanding Cunninghame Housing Association board member and former Chair. In June 2021, the association named a street in its new development in Saltcoats after her. In this interview, Janet describes how she became involved with the association, her proudest achievements, and what advice she’d give to others who’re thinking about becoming a board member.
When and how did you become involved with Cunninghame Housing Association?
I was on the Community Council around 1996 and met one of the founder members of Cunninghame Housing Association (CHA) who mentioned the new build houses in Stevenston. As I had an interest in these houses, the founder members suggested that I join the CHA board as it was looking for new members.
Looking at your time as a board member, what you are most proud of?
I think knowing that you are helping to make a difference to your community is one thing that I’m most proud of. I especially enjoy it when CHA is building new houses as I believe that a new house can make a huge difference to peoples’ lives. When I was nominated and voted in as Chair of CHA in 2015, it was the first time in 20 years that a woman had been elected. I was also the first board member to reach 20 years’ service.
What do you see as the key strengths of housing associations and co‑operatives?
Being a community-based organisation is one of the key strengths of housing associations. We are building communities as well as new homes for our tenants, and we always put our tenants first.
How did you feel when you found out there would be a street named after you?
I had no idea this was happening until I received a telephone call from CHA Group Chief Executive Frank Sweeney to inform me that permission had been granted by North Ayrshire Council to name a street after me at our new development in Saltcoats. I am particularly proud and humbled to have a street named after me.
Do you have any advice for others thinking of joining a housing association or co-operative board?
I would advise others that if they get the chance to join a housing association board, they should just do it! You are doing something for your community, and you will find out more about what’s happening in your community, too. On a board, you are a voice for local people. You will also have access to training to help you to fulfil the role of a board member, and you will also meet some wonderful people.
“We are building communities as well as new homes for our tenants, and we always put our tenants first.”
JANET STRANG, Secretary, Cunninghame Housing