25 years of GLH: “GLH is so much more than providing bricks and mortar.”

September 8, 2023

This month, Golden Lane Housing (GLH) is marking 25 years since it began providing housing for people with learning disabilities and autistic people. To celebrate this landmark anniversary, members of the GLH Executive Team will be sharing blogs highlighting GLH’s achievements.

Rod Dugher, Director of Housing and Tenant Experience, reflects on his memories of working for GLH for over 20 years and talks about how GLH is continuing to grow.

Having been fortunate to work for Golden Lane Housing (GLH) for over 20 years, I have seen the organisation grow year on year providing much needed safe, secure and wonderful housing for so many people with a learning disability and autistic people.  GLH is so much more than providing bricks and mortar.  For many when we have been able to offer a tenancy, it has often been their first steps of independence of having their own place, whether that be a flat, a shared house or a bungalow.  It genuinely has been for so many a transformational step in their lives.  Of course we don’t work in isolation and we have many great partners in local authorities and support providers across the country who have been integral to our journey.

My first role at GLH was as a Housing Manager, then later as a Regional Manager. I was involved in both the development of new homes for people and managing their ongoing tenancies and the services provided to them. I recall one of my first meetings when the whole staff team got together in Taunton – there were just about 12 of us around a table!

I guess it’s natural that some of the very first tenants and their families I worked with are the ones that remain most vivid in my memory.  One such family lived in the West Midlands – the parents were planning the future for their sons, who has lived at home with them all their lives. Both parents were in their 80’s and wanted their sons to have a home of their own nearby before their health deteriorated, so they could enjoy supporting them in their journey of independence.

When their sons moved into their GLH home they held a welcoming house-warming celebration and it was lovely to be invited to share this with them and their family.  While their parents have now passed away, I feel proud to have been part of making their plans come to fruition and still to this day keep in touch with the sons who remain happy in their home.

Only very recently I was invited a 20th anniversary celebration of three tenants living in their lovely home in Rotherham.  They are so proud of their home which is kept immaculate and all the things they have achieved over the 20 years. They have such active lives in their community, and they are all so full of energy and optimism, a real example to us all.

In my role looking at the challenges the sector faces and how GLH can respond positively to continue to fulfil our aims providing safe, secure housing where people can thrive, you can lose sight sometimes of the things we do each day to ensure our tenants are happy in their homes. Our tenants have told us they want us to make it easier for them to contact us, for us to listen and communicate with them better.  To rise to this challenge this year we have developed our Tenant Experience team to spear head the approach to ensure we always put our tenants at the heart of GLH.  We are focused on offering great service, being polite and taking time to listen and build understanding with all our tenants and wider customers.

There is much to do to continue to ensure the housing needs of people with a learning disability and autism are met going forward, but GLH will be there to make a difference influencing, campaigning, delivering new homes and providing great service. Here’s to a bright future!