One of Scotland’s oldest housing and care organisations has revealed it is to rebrand and to roll out an ambitious future strategy that will see it set out to become a pioneering leader in the sector.
Ark – which will now drop housing association from its name – has developed a business plan that will lay the foundations of a long-term strategy that will see the transformation of the organisation over the next five years and beyond.
The business plan will see Ark reshape as a modern, future-focused organisation that aims to positively impact on the lives of its tenants, supported people and staff.
Ark - which was formed 43 years ago and employs more than 900 people - provides care, support and housing for adults with complex and enduring needs and their families, as well as general needs housing, across Scotland.
In a rare step, but one intended to ensure it had fully listened to all views and opinions, Ark spoke to around 600 tenants, supported people and staff to ask them what was important to them in their life at Ark.
Chief Executive Bobby Duffy said the unprecedented level of engagement - which has been highly praised as a clear sign of the care Ark had for its community - has been vital in shaping the future pathway of Ark.
He said: “Out of this work the new vision, mission and values were developed to reflect the organisation in 2020, and to identify the challenges and opportunities we face now and in the future.
“We are driven by our social purpose and the future success of Ark will be measured by the social impact we have on our community. Our new vision and mission therefore reflect our ambitions as an organisation who seeks to have a positive impact on the lives of our community now - and our community of the future.
“We aspire to be an organisation that is a provider of the highest quality of housing and care to our customers.
“Over the lifetime of this plan we will continue to invest in our people, in our housing and in our care services to ensure we realise our new vision and mission.”
The main themes developed from the engagement feedback focus on quality and achievement of excellence. This has led to the creation of four key aims in the business plan to drive forward the future direction of Ark, to:
Bobby added that although the pandemic has created uncertainty the management team had remained fully focused on reassuring its community and partners that it is a robust organisation who is making clear plans for the future through the difficult times.
Bobby said: “This is a long term plan, we will have a specific focus for the years 2020-2025, but our ambitions for this organisation run beyond that. The level of transformation we wish to achieve will take time and we believe the strategic objectives we have set out in this first business plan, will prepare the ground for the transformation of Ark and deliver the change our community told us they want to see.
“We also think this plan will demonstrate a clear statement of intent to the wider sector. In the past, we perhaps may have been seen as an organisation that follows; now it is our intention to be a leader and pioneer.”
ARK Housing Association was established in Edinburgh on 9th February 1977 by a small group of parishioners from Morningside Baptist Church led by Rev Peter Bowes. These founders were responding to the need of one parishioner with learning difficulties, who wanted to live in a house with support, in the community.
However, as part of the strategic thinking, it was agreed that Ark Housing Association was not truly reflective of who Ark is in its current set-up, and did not speak to almost 90% of the organisation.
Bobby added: “We have decided to drop the housing association part of our name and simply be known as Ark. It means housing and care now have equal priority. We have also developed a new logo and refreshed our website (www.arkha.org.uk) to ensure we can portray Ark as a modern, future-focused organisation and an identity that can grow with us in the coming years.”
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